By AMBER FURST
The futuristic action film “Wing Commander,” which opens today, does not try to hide the fact that it is based on a video game of the same name.
It has a good-looking cast, fighter scenes in outer space, classic “outer-space” music and an alien race called the Kilrathi.
The opening credits try to explain what has been going on for the last few hundred years in space, but I still managed to be confused with the plot. Perhaps fans of the video game will be able to follow the plot twists, name references and thick accents of the foreign cast.
The year is 2654 and aliens steal something that resembles a car battery, and for some reason this is bad for the good guys.
Christopher Blair (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Todd “Maniac” Marshall (Matthew Lillard) are two young pilots fresh from fighter pilot school out to prove themselves in a time of war.
Under the leadership of the beautiful wing commander Jeanette “Angel” Deveraux (Saffron Burrows), Blair and “Maniac” must try and save the billions of people in space and not let their egos get in the way.
Fortunately, people going to see “Wing Commander” are not going to sit and expect a film carried by conversation. This is a movie you could watch on mute and still follow.
The movie proves to be everything the trailers promise with the exception of techno music, which would have been nice touch to help liven up the action scenes.
The fight scenes and most outer space graphics in general were well done and look like a computer game crossed with real life. However, the budget obviously did not include creating the alien race, as they looked like plastic lions.
What’s life like in 2654? They still use a 10-key and women are not considered to be men’s equals yet.
“Angel” is never taken seriously as an officer. I do not normally notice sex roles in movies, but when after every order “Angel” gives she has to add, “That is not a suggestion,” it becomes obvious that she is not respected as a leader.
That is not to say that a female audience would not enjoy the film. I doubt young pilots who are shirtless or in muscle shirts were meant for the male audience. Plus there is kissing in it.
Prinze, Burrows and Lillard all do a good job at acting brash, stubborn and pouty. Although their performances will most likely be ignored at the Oscars, they are appropriate and enjoyable for a film of this caliber.
One of the best parts of the film is veteran French actor, Tcheky Karyo. He plays the mentor and voice of reason through out the film. He always points out the extremely obvious to the rest of the cast. He has several names through out the movie, but one of his names is particularly amusing for any French speaker watching the film.