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MOON 44 - 2 Slimes
Rated R
Copyright 1990 Centropolis Film Productions
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 12 July 2008

The Characters:  

  • Felix Stone - Michael Paré! He likes being a cop because he gets paid to play mind games with people; it's in his blood. I mean messing with people, not being a cop; he became a cop because they play mind games, and he likes playing mind games. With people. Yes.
  • Mrs. Morgan - She has to be related to Helen Hunt; she just has to be.
  • Tyler - Computer geek and snitch. Before you ask, the answer is yes. This is the same man who found a discarded script for a modern version of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, replaced every occurrence of "Rhedosaurus" with "Godzilla" and made a lot of kaijuphiles very upset.
  • Jake - Why does he keep two rolls of coins in his mouth?
  • Cookie - His father completely failed him. Every dad should have "the talk" with his son, when he tells the young lad that skydiving with fresh mousse in his hair is a bad, bad idea.
  • Scooter - Pale, creepy, and not the kind of guy you want around in the shower if you drop the soap.
  • Chairman Hall - "There was a time not so long ago when internal affairs officers were afforded no respect, except by other pigs. They lived their whole lives in a cruel and sunless world that was copied from 'Blade Runner...'"
  • MSgt Sykes - He's no R. Lee Ermey, but then again, who is? I mean besides R. Lee Ermey.
  • Major Lee - Malcolm McDowell! In space!
  • Most of the people listed above - Dead meat. Especially Major Lee and Scooter

Buy It!

The Plot: 

In the future, Earth has finally run out of natural resources. Probably because they stopped using wood and sheetrock for buildings, opting for posh copper interior walls instead. To bridge the ore and profits gap, corporations turned to off-world mining operations. Now the companies are involved in wars over resource-rich moons.

Taking the worst of it is the Galactic Mining Corporation. Its mining operations are under a sustained attack by the Pyrite Corporation. The latter company is employing a massive interstellar warship that carries dozens of drone fighters. It is not the Sulaco, but the ship does boast a lot of firepower (and the company logo painted on the hull). Wiping out the Galactic Mining installations is not so much a problem of strategy as of logistics.

Talk about a hostile takeover. When did corporations move beyond buying up stock and sending out mean letters to the shareholders?

So how does a company prevent a rival's droid fighters from destroying the profit margins? By training convicts to fly miniature attack helicopters! Granted, you lose a lot of the pilots, because the mining operation is on Moon 44 (must be one of Jupiter's), and the atmosphere is a soupy mix of mist and fumes. Another major headache for the pilots is that they are not in complete control of the aircraft. Each pilot is married up to a young navigator who sits in a control chair at the base and controls the throttle, operates the targeting systems, and screams out warnings when the pilot is about to run into a rock wall (the mining facility is located in a warren of deep canyons).

Doesn't that sound like an insane way to defend a moon from a space carrier filled with robot-controlled drones? Personally, I would have seeded the moon's orbit with a couple of x-ray laser satellites, or invested in kinetic and nuclear missiles. I mean, unless the corporate bigwigs like watching footage of helicopters crashing into natural terrain features.

No, the pilots are not given access to training simulators. That would make sense. This is big business. Big business rarely makes sense to the common person.

Not all of the men sent to Moon 44 as pilots are convicts. Felix Stone is a Galactic Mining internal affairs officer; his job is to investigate why the company's shuttles are disappearing. To do that without making the guilty party suspicious, he goes undercover as one of the prisoners. By the way, apparently the men were convicted by the company for crimes against capitalism (murder qualifies, if it affects the earnings report). If you think that our present legal system is bonkers, just imagine what it would be like under Microsoft...or Halliburton (egad).

When the convicts arrive at the mining facility, they immediately start making everyone else miserable by taking over bunks and roughing up the other employees. The little geeks who are the navigators fare the worst. One of them even gets a very intimate, very brutal, and probably more than a little uncomfortable introduction to "Prison Love 101." What Scooter does not think about, before raping the young navigator, is that the kid is also in the perfect position to screw him back. Scooter gets his boy meat, but on the next training flight he also gets a real close look at a canyon wall. *Boom* no more Scooter.

Now, Stone has his work cut out for him, because he hates just about everybody. He hates the convicts, for being criminals, and he hates the corporate soldiers, also for being criminals. The geeks, well he just thinks they are geeks, even though Tyler is almost okay, because he is the one who threw up the red flag about what is happening to the shuttles. Another factor complicating Stone's investigation is that Major Lee recognizes him as an internal affairs spook. The first thing the installation commander does is to tell Master Sergeant Sykes to facilitate an "unfortunate accident." When Stone goes up in a mock dogfight against Jake, the weapon systems on Jake's helicopter are fully armed. Fortunately, Cookie misses the shot.

I still cannot fathom who came up with the idea for the attack helicopters. The only thing the pilot does is steer. Everything else is operated by the navigator. It is a horrible way to run a combat aircraft. It also makes no sense. No sense at all. Ha! I am complaining about a Roland Emmerich film not making sense; I really have lost it.

The shuttles are disappearing on account of sabotage by the Major and the Master Sergeant, as you may have guessed. Having an internal affairs officer (one that is still alive) aboard makes Sykes very nervous. He sweats profusely; I would attribute that to the man's anxiety, but everybody sweats profusely in this movie. Be glad that humans dump waste heat differently than dogs, because nobody wants to watch twenty actors walk around with their tongues hanging out for an hour.

Well, at least I don't. You can keep that weird fetish of yours to yourself.

Trouble continues to brew between the convict pilots and the geek navigators. When it finally does come to a head, Cookie's second source of income (drug peddler) comes in handy. The navigators threaten to slip every convict a lethal mickey if they do not chill out. Geeks spiking your food with seizure-inducing medication is scary, so the ploy works. Good thing it does, because these men need to concentrate on training. Pyrite's drone ships are coming; the only way anybody is going to survive is if the helicopters can hold off the attackers long enough for a successful evacuation.

Right before the Pyrite attack, Stone catches MSgt Sykes reprogramming a shuttle. The men battle it out in the dim corridors, though the traitor has a distinct advantage: a fire axe. Do not laugh; at least it is not a fire extinguisher (b-movies love the fire extinguisher). I will admit that I do not know why there was a fire axe on the wall. Everything in the facility appears to be made out of metal. Sykes is about to chop Stone into little bitty pieces with the axe when Major Lee appears. The station commander shoots his fellow traitor to death as a way of proving himself loyal to Galactic Mining.

We all know that Major Lee is a bad guy. He's Malcolm McDowell, for crying out loud! Soon as the computer system pops up an alert that the Pyrite mothership has been detected, the Major sabotages the alarm and tries to escape. Stone and Tyler hold off the droid ships for a little while, but everyone quickly realizes that winning is not a possibility. There are too many enemy ships, and just avoiding canyon walls is difficult in the little helicopters. Trying to dogfight with robot drones and not crash is a losing battle. The question is "Who will fight a heroic, but suicidal, delaying action so the rest can escape?"

Now, you may think I dislike (or cannot accept) everything about this movie. The funny thing is that I can accept quite a few of Emmerich's films for what they are: very dumb fun. "Moon 44" has some good moments, and something that the movie has going for it is the set design. It is very "industrial functional," but I do think they were just copying from "Aliens." Many movies try to copy that kind of style and fail to do it well. This one succeeds. However, if the slotted cyberpunk walls are meant to be CD storage, I am in awe, but they still look pretty good.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Boots != sex.
  • Attack helicopters have cigarette lighters, but lack built-in ashtrays.
  • It sucks to be on KP duty when people hate you and the food.
  • Crickets are also known as "the chirping spice."
  • There is nothing more refreshing than a raw egg and gin cocktail.
  • The results are in: miners and convicts prefer the taste of Perrier over other sparkling waters by more than ten to one.
  • Overdosing on orange juice will put you in a coma.
  • First aid kits should always include a nontoxic leather wallet.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 2 mins - "Johnny Five is back, and he's programmed for vengeance, in 'Short Circuit 3: Total Disassembly.'"
  • 26 mins - For the rest of the movie you are going to be wondering why they let that guy walk around, randomly spraying people and equipment with a CO2 fire extinguisher.
  • 26 mins - I mean the guy you cannot see, who keeps shooting clouds of CO2 into the scene.
  • 26 mins - It's a joke, you dumb clod.
  • 41 mins - Try playing Warhammer. That will destroy any faith you have in statistical averages.
  • 48 mins - Delorean must have designed that thing. It has ugly headlights.
  • 61 mins - That...probably smells like urine.
  • 67 mins - How does it feel to be typecast? Huh? Huh?
  • 76 mins - They have Dish Network!
  • 83 mins - Notice the flashing lights and clanging alarms? You are under attack! Morons!

Quotes: 

  • Executive 1: "Pyrite's capturing one of our moons after another, and we're going broke. Those bastards used to buy their fuel from us!"
    Executive 2: "I warned the board before: we can't defend the mining operation if you keep cutting my budget."
    Executive 3: "We are not a military organization!"
  • Mrs. Morgan: "Little rough, isn't it Sykes?"
    MSgt Sykes: "I'm trying to maintain discipline here. Of course, that's something that obviously you know very little about, being a civilian and a woman."
  • Cookie: "Half a yellow will lift you into orbit. Real rocket man; could put you in the zoo."
    Tyler: "I'll take two."
    Cookie: "That could kill a horse."
    Tyler: "I said, 'I'll take two.'"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note moon44_1.wav Chairman Hall: "Let me remind everyone: what's at stake here is not Moon 44, but our mining shuttles. Without them, Galactic Mining is finished. That's why I've ordered the station commander of Moon 44 to launch all shuttles at the first sign of attack."
Executive 2: "You gave him control of the shuttles? But, but what about the crew? Mr. Chairman, their only chance to escape is hitching a ride on the shuttles!"
Green Music Note moon44_2.wav MSgt Sykes: "I've been holding my breath for a long time for somebody like you. Got anything to say to that? Answer me when I talk to you."
Stone: "I think you've got me confused with somebody who takes you serious."
MSgt Sykes: "Shut up, Goddammit, before you piss me off!"
Cookie: "Man's got a death wish."
Tyler: "No, man's got balls."
Green Music Note moon44_3.wav MSgt Sykes: "First you get me to help you steal shuttles, that's one thing, but what you're talking about now is murder."
Major Lee: "Oh, please, spare me. Do you want to know what the company's priorities are for this rat hole? Let me tell you in one word: shuttles. That's all they care about. The God damned shuttles means more to them than you, me, the entire crew!"
MSgt Sykes: "I don't believe that!"
Major Lee: "No?"
Green Music Note moon44_4.wav Jake: "Now you listen to me! I saw the wrecks in the canyons. You killed a lot of pilots long before we got here. We didn't come here to die!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmoon44_1.mpg - 4.9m
This is a training mission, with Jake chasing after Stone. What cracks me up is Stone telling Tyler that he is not playing a video game. Look at the navigator's display; I used to play an arcade game that looked just like that back in the 80's.

I also had the urge to ask Jake if he really grew up on a foggy mining planet with no AC.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1]
Re: Moon 44
Reply #1. Posted on July 12, 2008, 03:45:00 PM by BoyScoutKevin
From its description the film doesn't make much sense. But Andrew makes it sound interesting, and it does look interesting, which is why I'm sorry I never saw it when it was originally released to theaters.

Malcolm McDowell as villain + helicopters, does it remind anybody else of "Blue Thunder?"

And boot on head, head held under water to person drowns = NO SEX for the rest of your life.
Re: Moon 44
Reply #2. Posted on July 12, 2008, 06:26:42 PM by Jack
Saw that years and years ago.  They spent a bit too much time on the teenage geek squad for my tastes.  It was just kind of a senseless movie.  I've got a VHS tape of it here somewhere, been sitting in the collection unwatched for about 15 years.
Re: Moon 44
Reply #3. Posted on July 14, 2008, 06:03:34 PM by Dave M
I saw this on TV one time, and I knew that the guy on the far left in screencap #6 would die the way bridge personel do on Star Trek (killed by sparks from exploding console), and that he would say "Look, real blood". I even said so out loud, but I was watching it alone, so no one got to see me using my powers.  Bluesad
Re: Moon 44
Reply #4. Posted on July 14, 2008, 06:24:10 PM by BoyScoutKevin
Remember "Evil Ed" from "Fright Night." Cookie and "Evil Ed." Yes, they are played by the same actor, Stephen Geoffreys. This would be his last "legitimate" film, before he started appearing in gay porn videos.

Actually, if you look at the plot keywords for this film at imdb.com, this is something of a transistion role for him, as he went from legitimate character actor to gay porn star. Some of the plot keywords being . . .

Bare Butt
Teenager Nudity
Male Nudity
Male Rear Nudity
Gay Interest
Homosexual Rape
Shower Scene

An year before "Thelma and Louise," there was "Moon 44." Taking revenge on your rapist, may or may not be legal, depending on the circumstances, but in films, taking revenge on your rapist is a female thing to do. Excluding the aforesaid "Thelma and Louise," there are "Leech Woman," "Lipstick," "I Spit on Your Grave," "Ms. 45," etc. But besides, this film, the only other film I can recall in which a male takes revenge on his rapist is "Sleepers," which would follow this film by six years.
Re: Moon 44
Reply #5. Posted on November 22, 2010, 11:46:14 PM by JPickettIII
I got this movie in a two pack with the Time Bandits.  Great movie.  The affects were a little week but good story.

I will have to watch this again.

Later,

John
Re: Moon 44
Reply #6. Posted on December 07, 2010, 01:28:42 AM by NorthKoreanDiscoSensation
This movie is basically if you made a Front Line Assembly music video into a feature-length film, then had a bunch of IRC role-players write the script. I had seen bits and pieces of this movie on TV as a kid, so I figured I'd watch the whole thing through finally. I went into it with a bowl of popcorn, a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale, and a whole lot of low expectations.

The verdict? I actually found this movie to be quite a lot of fun. Its flaws are so glaring that about 30 minutes in that the stars you would've subtracted to give this movie a rating with have fallen burning from the skies, and you can't give two thumbs down because your arms got cut off. There's absolutely no standard you can snob the movie from, and just have to embrace it for what it is, or be unhappy for the remaining hour of film.

For the most part it's a visual feast. I actually found the special effects and set design to be far more engaging and "alive" feeling than the megabudget CGed bulls**t seen everywhere today. The characters are all walking cliches and unintentionally cartoonish parodies of themselves, to where I started to actually like them in the same way one might come to like a very annoying relative or friend who is always there for you, but only because they have no other friends despite all their best intentions.

A bad movie, yes. But it's one of the best bad movies ever!
Re: Moon 44
Reply #7. Posted on March 29, 2011, 01:14:36 PM by R-T-C Tim
Just watched this myself and really enjoyed it, although had the advantage of the UK DVD being anamorphic widescreen which makes the film look even better.

Yes there are a lot of holes in the script but the dialogue is great and the visual look (Bladerunner meets 2000AD) is beautiful. The use of models not CGI also helps and stops the film feeling as dated as so many other sci-fi films from the period.

Check out my full review, complete with screencaps from the UK disc (available for £2.99 at Amazon) - Moon 44 review.
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