In a near future in New York, American society is ruled by a totalitarian government. In order to control AIDS, the HIV positive citizens are tattooed with a P on the chest and sent to quarantine. When teenager Blue accompanies her best friend Laurie to a government clinic for examination, they are advised on the street by boy Willie to not go to the place. While in the waiting room, Blue and Laurie witness the mistreatment of an old lady by the staff and they decide to get out from the clinic. They are chased by security guards but Willie brings them to his brother Torch that hides and protects the girls. Blue learns that Torch is the leader of an underground movement of resistance and the government quarantine is a sham and the patients are left to die in starvation. Blue falls in love with Torch and joins the movement. When Torch is arrested by the police, he is tested and finds that he is positive. He is sent to quarantine and Blue tries to find a way to meet him.
Directed by: Stephen Tolkin
. Starring: Moira Kelly
, Cuba Gooding Jr.
, Martha Plimpton
, Omar Epps
, Amir Williams
, David Eigenberg
, Alice Drummond
, John Cameron Mitchell
, Willie Garson
, Mark Boone Junior
, Deirdre O'Connell
, Jon Seda
, Phil Parolisi
. Music by: Michel Colombier
I recorded this because the Tivo program guide description described the movie as a "two rebels fighting a fascist government in the near future." The movie starts promisingly with a failed escape from a medical institution that leads to an execution and an eerily prescient city street scene borrowed (or stolen) from Soylent Green -- a group of people standing around watching a TV behind a barred storefront window, a menacing group of paramilitary thugs intimidating a homeless person, and a couple of girls in uniforms with the label "WorkFare" getting off work.
This should have helped establish a backstory of a bleak near future of economic collapse, government propaganda and tyrany, and, as we're told later on, rampant disease and forced quarantine.
Instead of building on all these ideas to tell what could have been at least as good as "Handmaid's Tale", the script gets lost in a ridiculous love story between Cuba Gooding Jr. and Moira Kelly which is not redeemed even by two sex scenes featuring extensive topless footage of Moira.
The love story detracts from the all-too-plausible social premise of the movie that seems quite believable now: the government is using propaganda, a paramilitary "Home Guard" of thugs and forced internment of people infected with a disease in quarantine centers that are portrayed as country club resorts, but instead are more like Soviet-era prison hospitals where the patients are sent to die.
The budget must not have allowed for much location shooting or set dressing, as the premise of an America in deep decline is offset by Kelly and Martha Plimpton getting on a bus and a number of other scenes shot in high-rise Manhattan that would make it appear that life was functioning normally, in direct conflict to the other, Soylent Green like street scenes and overcrowded apartments.
The AIDS-like disease is also treated in a conflicting manner -- it apparently was a real disease, as Cuba Gooding's band of rebels was actually trying to aide those sick with it, and Gooding made a deliberate attempt to wear a condom before having sex with Kelly -- but we're also led to believe that the sypmtpoms, communicability and perhaps even treatability of the disease wasn't what the government said it was. It would have been more effective (and productive for the storyline) if the disease had been instead a creation of the government as an excuse to put people in a prison-like quarantine where they would die by other means.
Overall, a "near-future" concept which is actually chillingly plausable in our modern times (substitute genetically engineered smallpox for the disease and terrorism detention for the quarantine...) is ruined by a bad love story and a low-budget production.
If you do suffer through this movie, don't miss future Sex and the City characters David Eigenberg ("Steve") as Kelly's brother, and Willie Garson ("Stanford Blatch") as a member of Gooding's rebel gang.
Review by mobocracy from the Internet Movie Database.