Film reviews

Axcellerator – SCI-FI LONDON Film Festival

Avengers: Infinity War has the character Doctor Strange use The Time Stone to view millions of possible futures in order to seek a positive outcome for earth’s mightiest heroes. One part of me wishes that I could have a time stone to discover a possible timeline in which Sean Young isn’t third billing in a rather flat and dozy sci-fi actioner.

Recent ventures have led to once again discovering the joy of Young in her earlier days. 80’s cinephiles will know her best as Blade Runner’s Rachel. 90’s kids would have stumbled upon her on the now wildly outdated Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Seriously. We’ll never see a mainstream movie have a character portrayed in such a way again. I also had the fortune to watch Young as the best thing in Carl Reiner’s hot mess of noir parody, Fatal Instinct.

Young has talent as an actress. Fully aware of her own attractive features, she subverts the expectation with a well-timed comic performance which had me not only grinning as a viewer but also downbeat that we do not see her in more notable roles. In a world in which controversial male stars have repeated chances to bounce back it is depressing to see a talent like Young not doing a lot more.

READ MORE: Shed of the Dead – SCI-FI LONDON Film Festival

I’m talking about Sean Young’s charming screen persona in other movies because I frankly have little to say about not only her role in Axcellerator, in which she has little to do other than sleepwalk through some uninspiring dialogue, but the film in general. A film which riffs on the likes of Jumper, Limitless, and Returner, but without any of the polish of those financially bulkier features.

Good sci-fi doesn’t need a ton of money to be enjoyable. Films such as Primer or Coherence are solid examples of sci-fi on a budget. You don’t need to blow the bank do deliver top-notch action either. An exploitation feature like Mad Max shows what you can do.

What something like Axcellerator needs, however, is competency and tightening up to be worth recommending to anyone who isn’t just interested in the lower end of the Netflix feed for lolz. It’s a film that follows the strange trend these days that because it’s ‘easier” to make films now, you needn’t worry about blocking, or even tripods for basic scenes that don’t need to look ‘immediate’.

Axcellerator, with its slapdash tale of a pizza boy who stumbles upon a portable matter-transporter is, of course, aimed not at the highbrow and that’s fine if one would rather dine on Sharknado over Jaws. However, around the third time an actor gazed unintentionally into the camera or performed dialogue that was just too long in the tooth to be snappy, I found myself at a loss.

READ MORE: Black Flowers  – SCI-FI LONDON Film Festival

There is one good reason to watch Axcellerator however. That’s Flash Gordon’s Sam J. Jones hamming things up as the villainous Brink. Jones’ stiff body movements do well to make one realise how much swagger someone like Dolph Lundgren has over this other blonde 80’s action competitor. But honestly, watch how much fun Jones is having here. Don’t worry that he’s not even following eye lines. He’s having a blast.

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