This film is the second part of the two-part saga spanning over three and a half hours combined (the first - Dark Planet came out in the same year). One has to watch both films back to back as they are one continuous story; the first one stopping in the middle of the narration with no closure whatsoever.
It is based on a very popular dystopian sci-fi novel Prisoners of Power by Strugatsky brothers written in 1969 and published in English numerous times and depicts a post-nuclear war totalitarian society on another planet, where a young lone adventurer in space from Earth crash lands his ship and embarks on an adventurous and dangerous journey to free the people of the planet from their misery, himself belonging to a much more advanced and highly moral human society of the distant future which by then defeated disease and inequality with each human possessing incredible physical powers.
Now onto this screen adaptation. The casting went horribly wrong in the selection of the main character - the young man from Earth - looking like the tanned curly blond boy from erotic flick The Blue Lagoon from the 80's with pretty bad acting, and one of other main characters looking completely like Gary Oldman's character Zorg in The Fifth Element; the script was terribly written with bad dialogues and jerky story-telling. The story is at times confusing and poses questions along the way, which is very distracting. Although the director did an overall okay job, he's not very original and his visualisation of the film is an endless list of stolen ideas from the popular western movies: cars from Total Recall and Mad Max, bat-mobiles, kung-fu style fights with fantastic jumps taken straight from The Matrix. To add to that is the endless shouting by actors in a very "russian" style that most of the time don't make sense and is a pure overacting.
On the positive side the film is high budget with massive sets in the alien city, battles outside the city and fantastic gardens reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings; very good CGI and sound. And, of course, it's based on a solid and entertaining story, with a surprise ending of the saga leaves one with a feeling that the time spent watching it wasn't wasted. It's certainly worth taking a look, if only for the great story and special effects.
Review by vvp_14 from the Internet Movie Database.