Black Horizon (2002)

HughJanusThe Cull* is off to a very good start indeed. By good, I mean we’re watching movies that are so bad we’re getting rid of them! There is a sense of accomplishment to it, which is really good, because otherwise watching these movies would be a complete and utter waste of time. I do have to admit, though, to wondering why in hell we ever picked up such dreck in the first place? It’s as if used-media stores pump a drug through their air ducts that causes Q and I to be attracted to some of the dumbest looking movies around. And perhaps if we’d noticed Black Horizon was produced by a guy who claims the name HUGH JANUS, we would have put it down for someone else to throw money at. But we didn’t notice… until it was too late.

I admit to being confused by this movie at the get-go: it is very obviously a movie about a failing Russian space station, but starts off with some sort of drug bust. Jeffries (Ice-T) is some sort of Fed who’s gotten himself into trouble right before the bust is about to go down. His good buddy McKendrick saves his ass, and at the end of the disastrous bust they all have a good, hearty chuckle.

Sailor in space

Sailor in space

Once the opening credits roll, we get to the real meat of the film: McKendrick, an ex-Navy salvage diver is going to join Ed Carpenter, a pumped-up Macho man and his crew manning a shuttle to the AVNA space station. Seems systems are failing on the station, but important technology that could save the world needs to be salvaged. So of course you send a navy diver to do the job, right? Especially one that’s afraid of heights, right? Yeah, duh.

Things of course are much more complicated than anyone at NASA could have guessed. First, the space station has just been pelted with meteors – and more are on the way! Their communication system is down, so they’re unable to warn the hearty, brave Americans who are coming to save them that they’ll be in danger. Katherine, the leading scientist on the station, apparently skimped on some necessities while approving the blueprints for AVNA, and now she and her Russian crew are suffering the consequences.

If Dane Cook and Ryan Reynolds had a brother that ate cheeseburgers and couldn't do a Russian accent, it'd be this guy.

If Dane Cook and Ryan Reynolds had a brother that ate cheeseburgers and couldn’t do a Russian accent, it’d be this guy.

But perhaps worst of all, Katherine’s uncle Owen, a mega-capitalist of epic proportions, is hellbent on preventing the salvage mission’s success. Because the space station is such bullshit, if word got out about how shitty everything is his company’s stock would continue to plummet, resulting in the end of his glorious empire. Who cares that his niece is on board? They weren’t that close anyway! And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for Jeffries’ snooping around and general badassery!

Black Horizon is not a good movie. It’s not a good movie at all. The plot is very disjointed, skipping and jumping from one setting to another, and using stock footage to remind us whether we’re on earth or in space. The characters are so one-dimensional it hurts, from the badass, macho leader to the sexy, take-no-prisoners chick pilot, to the evil capitalist uncle and, of course, the drunken Russian. It’s almost like the writers took pieces from existing stories and glued them together very poorly, kind of how you’d expect a toddler to complete a jigsaw puzzle.

Ice-T wants to know why they gave him all the worst lines?

Ice-T wants to know why they gave him all the worst lines?

Aside from lackluster writing, the cast delivers us some very flat performances indeed. Look, I want to like Ice-T, I really do. I want him to be a great actor. But here, watching him is just excruciating. I don’t think it’s entirely his fault, he’s obviously not given much to work with, and his character is given all the worst one-liners in the film; a pretty insurmountable fate.

This is just another one of those movies that makes me shrug my shoulders and ask: why? Why bother making something this inept, this derivative, this nonchalant? After a movie like this is over, I always marvel at all the names that roll in the credits, reminding myself that it took all these people to make one giant piece of shit. Needless to say, this one won’t be going back on the shelf. Sorry, Ice-T.

*Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.


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