Dean Cain once played Superman on the popular "Lois And Clark". Now he's slumming around playing in various low budget almost-made-for-TV releases like U.F.O's "Dragon Fighter" and Dark Descent
(also makers of "Python" and "Interceptor Force"...actually I was sorta amused that I've seen most of UFO's library). And folks, if your opening credits every say "United Film Organization", rewind now and save yourself the pain.
Our story is that Dean Cain plays Marshall Will Murdack, the "Law" at an underwater mining facility. In a an opening shot, he captures a couple of bad guys and sends them up the river. Four years later, shortly before he plans to ship out, he notices a high suicide rate amongst the workers. As he's investigateing the suicides, seemingly brought on by psychotic episodes, he receives word that the bad guys he captured years earlier have been released early and are going to be at the facility before his replacement arrives....and no one on the facility will help him
It's easy to say that "Dark Descent" is a ripoff of "Outland"...or "High Noon", but it actually manges to rip off both at the same time. Now, Outland and High Noon had the same general plot of "Isolated lawman knows they're coming gunning for him, and nobody will help". However, both movies had their own setups to why this was happening; their own story. In Dark Decent, we get both. The "gang sent to jail getting out and coming back for revenge" and the "workers going insane in a mining outpost, and someone is covering up why" plot elements are both here. Unfortunately, while the story elements are borrowed, the cohesion and reasons are not. So you're left with a feeling of "why did they even put this in...other than because it was already in the other movie? Do the writers even know why?" One case in point was that of the gang coming back for revenge. OK, that works. But it turns out that they are being let loose to come back and kill Murdack to hide the truth behind the suicides. OK, probalem with that was, if the bad guys are basically hired hit men, why bother with teh whole "revenge" setup to give them motive in the first place. Also, the timing is all wrong. The bad guys get loose and come after Murdack even before he has *any* clue what's really going on., If the powers that be had just waited a few hours, Murdack would be gone any nobody would know anything. So you have the 'revenge' motive from "HIgh Noon" and the 'cover up' motive from "Outland" slapped together in way that makes no sense.
Also, since the Lawman in the story is supposed to be all alone with no help, Murdack goes out of his way to alienate the one person who can probably help him the most. Yeah, in the end, he's all alone, but my feeling was that it was his own fault so he deserved it. Also, I can't remember if at some point in either movie, the hero's love interest returns, but in this movie, she does, out of nowehere and shortly disappears again. Again,I got the feeling that it was "something that has to be ion the story but we don't know why, so we'll put it in anyway"
Incidentally, along the way, Murdack manages to start a delayed nuclear reaction that will destroy the whole outpost. He does this *on purpose* in order to make everyone evacuate the outpost so that when the baddies arrive, no innocent onlookers will get injured in the crossfire. This comes about because he refused to get out of Dodge when he had the chance. In High Noon and Outland, the characters had motive for not leaving when they had the chance; here he stays because the plot has to contrive to keep him around. This plan backfires as when he goes to stop the explosion, it doesn't work, so the whole facility is dstroyed anyway. Nice move, idiot.
So in the end, I end up being pretty upset with Murdack and don't have a lot of sympathy for his plightt or excitement that he wins
Incidentally, William Zabka also puts in a few brief appearances, and again the rest of the cast seems heavily eastern european.
This is squarely a U.F.O production. Cheap sets (count the unused monitors in Murdacks' office, or the number of angles they shoot the same twenty feet of hallway from), scattered writing that seems to put stuff in because the scipt-by-numbers kit says so, mostly inexperienced eastern euopean actors with not much else on their resume and a few 'names' who've pretty much used up their fifeteen minutes but the producers hope you don't realize it when looking at the video box
You are warned, some mindless if slightly irritating entertainment for a few hours. The kind of "made for Sci Fi" fair likely to show up on a Saturday night as part of Dean Cain fiml fest or something
Post Edited (07-03-03 18:36)