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Power Corps.

Power Corps. (2004) Movie Poster
Canada  •    •  92m  •    •  Directed by: Christian Viel.  •  Starring: Andy Bradshaw, Kevin Kelsall, Patrick Sabongui, Gillian Leigh, Valérie Wiseman, Johnny Goar, Kyra Zagorsky, Christian Tessier, Charles Mellor, Marcus Champagne, Richard Zeman, John Fallon, Neil Napier.  •  Music by: David Findlay.
      In the year 2020, the Earth has become a barren rock from radioactive devastation. The remaining human race is terrorized by the evil Ma'har alien race. Sergeant Sharp and his GMI soldiers discover the Ma'hars hidden laboratory where they've been creating a horrific breed of terrorists. The new bio-weapons are reproductions of mankind's mythical creatures - zombies, werewolves, vampires...


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Image from: Power Corps. (2004)
Image from: Power Corps. (2004)
Image from: Power Corps. (2004)
If you thought "Wing Commander" was the ultimate space combat epic, then this might make you happy. But probably not. At least WC had Matthew Lillard and Saffron Burrows and David Suchet. There's no one with anything like that level of talent to be seen here.

Every once in a while, my curiosity gets the better of me - or is it my inner masochist? - and I feel the need to rent an obvious "Z" grade direct-to-DVD movie, just for the hell of it. My ostensible reason is to look for buried diamonds among the dross, and sometimes this does pay off - as in the recent gem from Down Under called "Undead", which I otherwise would never have seen. My gamble didn't pay off this time, though, OH no. No indeed. The only way a person can derive any enjoyment from "Recon 2020" is with their brains and discriminating sensibilities parked solidly in "neutral". Or drunk. Or high.

I will say a couple things in favor of "Recon 2020". First, although the film obviously had a tiny budget, the director and crew must have worked extremely hard to make the most out of every dollar they had for the movie's visuals. The movie looks as though it was shot on digital video (similar to "28 Days Later"), and like "Undead", it looks like someone spent a lot of time and effort in post production to add in filtered lighting and special effects to make the thing look decent. As a results,"Recon 2020" looks much better than it deserves - though I can't say the same for the sound design. Similarly, since the budget for props and scenery was minimal, the production crew went with spray paint graffiti and tagging on most of the backgrounds, a touch that lent weight and solidity to the surroundings that might have gone missing otherwise. (One drawback to this choice is that much of the movie appears to be taking place in the projects of Chicago, rather than an alien planet).

The drop ship looks pretty good, as do a few of the other mechanized SFX such as the mercenary ship and the ED-209 like "mecha" that the soldiers first encounter.

The other nice thing I can say is although the direction and acting are uneven, at its best there are a few moments of decent action and dialog: There's a cyborg tussle that has some "ooomph" to it, there are a couple of OK set speeches; there's an encounter with a 3 headed monster that evokes nostalgic memories of "Earth Vs. The Spider"; there's an unsettling gory look at the remains of tortured colonists; there's a nicely executed recording of a distress message on one of the "transponders" discovered by the soldiers; and a couple of exchanges of dialog sound as though human beings might actually utter them under some circumstance.

And that's about it. The rest of the movie (85% or so) is simply lame. The plot is an unconvincing mix of vampires and werewolves and cyborgs and jokes about anal probes and mercenaries and "Starship Troopers" and "Aliens". Most of the time, the acting is quite amateurish. Most of the soldiers' dialog is completely mishandled - these are supposed to be hard-bitten combat veterans? They whine and bitch like high school girls. And the poor guy cast to play "Seageant Sharpe" is in completely over his head. He's got some potential, but the director just leaves him flapping in the breeze most of the time. The blonde who plays "Fooks" is awful; she reads her lines as if her inspiration was Jennifer Aniston's character from "Friends". She's quite attractive, but she is still the most jarring and irritating actor in the film. On the positive side, the woman who plays the friendly cyborg is perhaps the best of the bunch, probably because the role doesn't require much of her beyond looking impassive and stoic.

Worst of all, the director simply does not know how to stage a convincing (and involving) combat scene..or even how to pace a simple dramatic scene when the weapons aren't firing. It's as if they just shot the actors in a bunch of poses and stunts they thought would look neat (or like their favorite movies) and relied on the post-production edit to force some sense and rhythm into it...but when it came time for the post production, the editor couldn't bear to throw any of it away, and so they just used "everything". The results are a mess, alternating between frenetic and incoherent and repetitious and boring. I often simply could not tell what was going on, and I couldn't find a reason to care.

The final scene leaves an opening for a sequel, and apparently one is being filmed. I find this hard to fathom, as does the idea that this film had any kind of audience or made a dime in profits. But believe me, I have no plans whatsoever to watch that sequel. My masochistic impulses only go so far. Totally devoted hardcore sci-fi action fans might get more out of this than I did...maybe.

Review by lemon_magic from the Internet Movie Database.