Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I freely admit that I had a good time watching Canadian director Christian Viel’s prequel to this film ‘Recon 2020’. Yeah it was flawed, almost unforgivably so, but it was packed with so much crazy ass stuff from start to finish that I couldn’t help but smile while I was watching it and wonder about the nerve that comprised this dude to stuff so much ridiculous junk into one low budget science fiction movie. The cool thing was that I saw ‘Recon 2020’ late in its life cycle and this sequel ‘Recon 2022’ was already completed and distributed. How awesome is that? So I immediately stick ‘Recon 2022’ in my cue and anxiously await to watch some more crazy, ridiculous but fun nonsense. In theory. So after watching this sequel I’m sad to say that while we do have a better looking movie, we also have a movie that isn’t nearly as hectic or as crazy and as a result not nearly as much fun. Thus where the flaws of the first film were somewhat suppressed by the pure insanity of it all, the flaws of this film were not so easy to bypass due to the slower pace and reduced insanity which have brought the same flaws more to the forefront.

Our film opens with the hero from our last outing, tough as nails Sgt. Sharp (Andy Bradshaw), reliving via nightmare some of the terrible moments on the planet of Caprini during our last visit with the hard-ass space marine. Sgt. Bradshaw awakens from his nightmare, has some terse words with the hot plastic surgeon working on fixing some of the damage done to him during that last skirmish and its off to the commanders office to receive his next suicide mission.

The fist thing this commander does is grant Sarge a promotion to the rank of Lieutenant, which the ex-sergeant is none to impressed with, and then he’s given his orders to take a team to the ice planet of Mezzo where the evil, genocidal Mehars have a base set up and it needs to be taken out. Note that nobody still has any idea what a Mehar looks like.

So the newly christened Lt. Sharp gathers his crew which consists of holdovers from the last mission in the super serious android Kara (Valerie Wiseman) and quite possibly the worst but cutest pilot in the history of sci-fi movies, Fooks (Gillian Leigh). New on board are grunts Alvarez (Carmen Escheverria) and Barnes (Peter Vrana), sex crazed medical officer Scott (Deke Richards), milquetoast science officer Peterson (Karl Van Moos) and hostile munitions officer Sandstorm (Heidi Hawkins) and off they go on this impossible mission with it being a guarantee that a few of them probably aren’t going to make it back, and it’s also almost a certainty that Fooks will get shot down and captured.

Mayhem and chaos quickly ensues as our soldiers have to deal with huge blind carnivorous earth worms, a crapload of Cyborgs, little bug eyed anal probing green men, weird Asian chicks with electrified tittes, that strange looking one eyed monster from the Duke Nukem video game and if they’re really lucky they might even get a chance to see a real live Mehar. That is if they survive that long.

One of the major problems we observed with the first Recon flick was that the acting was beyond subpar. But while the acting was pretty awful in that first movie, we let that pass because there was so much other stuff going in that movie you were kind of able to allow that to slip on by. In this movie, unfortunately, the actors were required to do more but inexplicably it seemed like they were even worse than the crew in the first movie. I hate to keep comparing the two but dang, they are sequels so whaddayagonna do, but in the first movie we have a rudimentary introduction of the characters followed quickly by action sequences like exploding cockroaches, where as in ‘Recon 2022’ the first half hour of so is filled with exposition and character development and other story building elements which normally would be a good thing, but there wasn’t a single actor in our crew who could legitimately sell us on these characters we were supposed to be getting to know. And when you have bad actors reciting suspect dialog for about a half hour, things can get dull rather fast. Even Andy Bradshaw who we thought was the saving grace in the first movie seemed stiff and unemotional in his delivery.

Once we finally get to Mezzo things do improve. The usage of the cold and snow for a backdrop setting was effective, the special effects were an improvement from the original though they still show plenty of rough edges as one would expect from a limited budgeted film such as this. The action picks up considerably once we are on the ice planet with more spaceship battles, weird monster battles, fights with Cyborgs who shoot a million bullets but can’t hit what right in from of them and more odd creatures that deal plenty of death. There are still a few heartfelt sincere moments strewn in here and there but again the actors in this movie just aren’t capable of successfully pulling those off.

One could argue that ‘Recon 2022’ is a more focused and streamlined film than the one it follows and they would probably be right, but it’s not nearly as much fun as ‘Recon 2020’. Sure there’s less nonsense in this movie but the nonsense has been replaced by story elements which unfortunately are too poorly delivered to be all that good. ‘Recon 2020’ raised my expectations and ‘Recon 2022’ failed to live up to those expectations, not that this means I’m going to be avoiding ‘Recon 2023’ when Viel and his crew finally get that project finished, but my expectations won’t be as high for that one as they were for this one.

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