Review: Scavengers / Cert: 15 / Director: Travis Zariwny / Screenplay: Travis Zariwny / Starring: Sean Patrick Flannery, Roark Critchlow, Jeremy London, John Lee Ames / Release Date: January 27th
In space, so Hollywood tells us, no one can hear you scream. Or yawn. Or see you scratch yourself or catch you looking at your watch to see how much is left of this tedious film. With proper good old-fashioned spaceship sci-fi films thin on the ground these days, it’s a shame that Scavengers, even by straight-to-DVD standards, is scrappy, shonky, rubbishy old twaddle.
It’s not just the painfully low budget, the 1980s computer game-level CGI, the indifferent acting, the rotten script, the boring storyline… oh, hang on, it actually is all of the above but it’s also quite a bit more. Sometimes a film is just bad whichever angle you come at it from and there’s really very little to recommend in Scavengers (originally titled Space Soldiers). Even the most hardened sci-fi aficionados will find themselves fast-forwarding in search of some good stuff only to find that, sadly, there isn‘t any.
The crew of the starship Revelator try to keep a low profile but can’t resist breaking cover when they stumble across a powerful super-weapon known as the ‘Chaos Generator’. But a group of rival mercenaries are on the machine’s trail and when the Revelator’s crew realise its awesome destructive power, they take it upon themselves to try to keep it out of the wrong hands. You’re right, sounds like quite an exciting synopsis, but in reality all the film delivers is ninety minutes of people sitting around in cheap spaceship sets decorated by ancient keyboards spray-painted black, cheesy CGI spaceships and laser fights and, just for good measure, a bit of gratuitous gore. It looks suspiciously as if director/writer Zariwny was taking Joss Whedon’s much-missed Firefly as his inspiration with his ragbag collection of space misfits and their clanking, rickety spaceship. But sadly no one here has a fraction of the charisma of any of the Firefly crew; the characters are little more than cyphers and the acting’s completely uninspiring, apart from Sean Patrick Flannery who provides much unintentional amusement as he channels his inner Christian Bale for his portrayal of the psychotic Captain Jekel.
Dated, dreary and with effects which make Babylon 5 look cutting edge, Scavengers is a dispiriting and entirely unengaging experience; like the salvage its characters pick up on their travels, it’s just a load of worthless rubbish.