Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This little slice of sub mediocre Direct to Videoness almost slipped past me unnoticed, and I can’t very well have that happen since I live for low budget Sci-Fi flicks that have the potential to headline my little television show Totally Twisted Flix. And let me tell you that the Dolph Lundgren vehicle ‘Retrograde’ is a title that is almost tailor made for lovers of suspect acting, questionable special effects, poorly staged fight scenes and an overly complicated Science Fiction plot. Simply Outstanding.

Not unlike the film ‘Twelve Monkeys’ the future is dying due to some horrific virus released back during the time we live in now. The only people surviving during this future time are a group of supremely genetically reengineered beings or something who are resistant to this virus. But the powers that be have a plan to save the future and that’s by fixing the past and to make this happen they have assembled a crack team of the genetically reengineered folks, let by one John Foster (Lundgren) who will go back in time in their special time machine, track down the source of this wicked virus that turns people into super crazy irrational zombies before they expire, which stems from some kind of meteorite or something, with the plan being to nuke that meteorite all to hell. Easy enough one would think.

Not so fast my friends because while on their way back to the past there is a little rebellion on this ship led by the commando Dalton (Joe Montana), who is doing this for reasons I can’t remember to save my life, which causes the ship to crash land somewhere in the Arctic Circle. It’s still all good because they were going there anyway because this is where some ocean liner was headed, the ship that actually found the meteorite and ended up infecting the planet earth to death. Again I fergit what exactly this ship was doing in the North Pole, but it  has something to do with this megalomaniacal research dude who is searching for something that’s going make him

even richer than he already is. Also along for the ride is a full crew which includes the research dudes right hand lady Renee (Silvia De Santis) and her would be beau, the ships everything man Markus (Gary Daniels). Yes, Gary Daniels and Dolph Lungren in the SAME FREAKING MOVIE! How cool is that?

So the dudes from the sea vessel find Foster, take him back to the ship and nurse him back to health which leads the evil Dalton and his genetically superior crew right to their doorstep and thus ‘Retrograde’ turns into ‘Die Hard’ on a boat. Oh and the meteor has already infected a couple of dudes so there are irrational zombies running around as well as genetically enhanced supermen all trying to kill Dolph and pretty girl sidekick. Will Dolph be able to nuke the meteorite, save the world and make it Back to the Future? Sure he will. And that’s what we in the industry call a spoiler my friends.

Directed by Christopher Kulikowski ‘Retrograde’ isn’t a very good movie to be sure, but it’s not pain inducingly bad either. Our filmmakers certainly don’t short change us on the mish-mash of other movies that ‘Retrograde’ borrows from such as the afore mentioned ‘12 monkeys’ and ‘Die Hard’, plus there are elements of ‘The Thing’ tossed in since our little zombie virus might make a crew member trip out on us at any given moment, and there other subtle and not so subtle ‘homages’ paid to other films as ‘Retrograde’ carries on. Dolph is Dolph and most of us know that his main talent is being big, blonde and fit and he’s bigger, blonder and more fit than anyone else in the movie so he did what he does. The rest of the cast serves as disposable cannon fodder and they work admirably with what they are given but no one in particular grabs you and has one jumping up to say ‘Hey! That dude’s gonna be STAR!’

A couple of things that keep ‘Retrograde’ below the Mendoza line of mediocrity is the fact that for an action flick it moves way too slow. All of the elements are there with the prerequisite fist fights, shoot outs, zombie chases and the big time final showdown, but Kulikowski doesn’t infuse a helluva lot of thrill into the action sequences which did leave something to be desired. Worst still is even though this is a movie with both Dolph and Gary Daniels, these B-movie heavyweights never square off for some inspired fake ass kicking. Tragic. When Daniels showed up in the Seagal movie ‘Submerged’ they made sure that those two heavyweights – one being significantly heavier than the other – got a fight scene on. The scene sucked because it was insanely lopsided with Seagal busting Daniels ass up but good, but at least it was in there. What’s up with that?

With it’s somewhat derivative storyline and lackluster action ‘Retrograde’ isn’t something that you will miss and be upset about it, but it does have some nice sets and it does try really hard to better than it is, plus it’s got Dolph Lundgren as its star. Trust me when I tell you that you have seen worse.

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