Ok, this little gas station hot dog of a film had me by the heart at the part when one of the crew introduces McDowell - here playing a grizzled alcoholic sea captain with a dark past (is there any other kind?) - to the mutant baby vat, and he deadpans, "kill it." This film has heart and pluck, but came out of the womb-oven a bit stillborn in the finale department. Also, on a random note, there is something about this story and its world that just begs to be re-imagined as an anime series.
Ah, the good ole 90s. The 2090s, that is! Almost a half century after fetal neural computer linkage was banned, and who knows how many since the Third Gulf War and Syria's total destruction by the Texas Confederacy. The streets run rampant with scum looking for the next digital fix for their amusingly Matrix-like neck ports. Proxate is almost huge enough to be granted UN membership - the first megacorporation to have that honor since Disney! But some things haven't changed: ships still sail the high seas, and those ships still need grizzled sea captains to rule their unruly crews with alcohol-fueled bursts of dominance. This particular crew is exceptionally docile though, and requires minimal beatings - which is odd for a prison ship crewed by criminally insane convicts! Might be something to do with those neck collars...what could possibly go wrong? (Well, apparently all sorts of convoluted intrigue, so much so that the least of their worries is criminally insane mutineers, reducing the insane convict thing to a mere marketing gimmick...which, I am sad to say, totally suckered me in.)
But yeah, futuristic high seas prison ship thriller is heavy on Malcolm McDowell and light on restraint. There's also the aforementioned telepathic fetus, a sultry redhead with a very special ring, lacerating sea-rats (yarrr!), some great sea stories about the consequences of breaking the Sea Code, hammy accents and silly outfits (the crew wear awkward henchman garb, while McDowell dresses like a pirate Beatle), bomb-induced vomiting, dubious interpretations of UN statutes, a murderous robo-gimp, and a cargo of other oddities. Unfortunately, the abysmal dud of an ending totally sinks this overburdened ship down many, many fathoms.
It's a cheap, grimy, ridiculous mess with a thoroughly (19)90s aesthetic and generous heapings of dystopian lore - alas, it's never destined for port...
Review by crownofsprats from the Internet Movie Database.