Blue World Order opens strong with some extremely kinetic, frantic cinematography and stunt work. It’s a low-budget affair, but the film makes great use of what it’s got to work with. They may not have the money for any huge special effects, but there’s an undeniable, madcap joy to watching something as simple as a stuntman hanging off the side of a cliff.
The obligatory post-apocalyptic exposition-dump is even handled very well and offers just enough fresh ideas to keep you interested for the first few minutes.
Sadly, the film runs out of steam as soon as the plot actually tries to kick in. The basic premise is a man trying to save his young daughter who seems to be the key to a cure for the virus that plagues mankind. If this sounds cliched, it’s because it is. Given that the film’s inception dates back to 2012, we can forgive them for treading on material covered by the likes of The Last of Us, but the idea of a grizzled man protecting a child who holds the key to mankind’s survival was pretty well worn ahead of then. You only need to look at genre powerhouses such as The Road and Children of Men to see almost everything that this film has to offer done a lot better.
We say almost everything because neither The Road nor Children of Men have car-chases utilising a fleet of DeLoreans. The film’s climactic scenes are torn straight from Mad Max, but far less impressive because, let’s face it: Fury Road set an absurdly high standard for driving stunts.
The use of DeLoreans seems to be this film’s way of standing out from the pack, but as an absurdist, comedic element introduced towards the end of an otherwise fairly po-faced affair, it doesn’t really work. Especially when you begin to think about the practicalities of these post-apocalyptic bandits acquiring and running so many old and notoriously unreliable vehicles.
In between the opening and conclusion, the film is mostly made up of extended sequences involving the main characters wandering through various Australian fields. The landscapes are beautiful, but the acting and dialogue far too bland to sell us a tale completely and utterly lacking in originality.
The film’s virus allows people to control others using a sort of remote control device. It feels as though the intention was to explore notions of autonomy and free will, but the results are much more akin to Spock’s Brain than they are The Manchurian Candidate.
Blue World Order began life as a short created as part of a weekend-long filmmaking competition. After some festival attention, an IndieGoGo campaign was launched to fund the feature, only managing to bring in a rather meager 15% of the intended $50,000 budget before, presumably, finding some more money through other means.
Ultimately, there’s a lot of talent on display here. We would have no trouble believing that the short film that spawned it is absolutely terrific; it’s just that this film largely feels like a short film stretched out to feature-length. Between a great opening and fairly thrilling finale, the film stops dead for an hour.
BLUE WORLD ORDER / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: CHE BAKER, DALLAS BLAND / SCREENPLAY: CHE BAKER, DALLAS BLAND, SARAH MASON / STARRING: BILLY ZANE, BRUCE SPENCE, JACK THOMPSON, JAKE RYAN, STEPHEN HUNTER, KENDRA APPLETON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW