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selected from
Xposé #51
Read the E:FC review here

2-star ratingRed Planet

Released US: November 10 2000 • UK: December 1 2000
Directed by Antony Hoffman • Starring Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Carrie Anne Moss, Terence Stamp • Rated R

Red PlanetIt's the near future, and Earth is dying. A team of scientists is dispatched to complete the Mars Terraforming Project, which will enable conditions to exist on Mars fit for human colonization. But after a crash leaves them stranded without food, shelter, or a way home (not to mention that their friendly robot seems to have been switched to 'evil' mode), they find that the red planet contains secrets deadlier than they could have imagined.

It's quite a feat to make a mind-numbingly boring film out of a plot like that, but first-time director Antony Hoffman did so with a decided lack of style. Though containing some strong performances - in particular, the excellent Carrie Anne Moss, who proves her ass-kicking turn in The Matrix wasn't a fluke - Red Planet proves once and for all that rampant clichés and unimaginative screenwriting have taken over the Earth (or at least Hollywood). Backed by a good cast and filmed competently, if unimaginatively, Red Planet isn't a bad movie, but it is one that sci-fi fans have seen several times before. (You'd only need look to last March to find the nearly identical Mission to Mars.) It's a sad day when space travel, a topic that has traditionally stirred cinematic imagination, is reduced to bland visages of Australian desert shot through a red filter.

Sarah Kendzior

4-star ratingEarth: Final Conflict - Season Four
02: Sins of the Father

Written by Robin Burger • Directed by Will Dixon • TX: October 9 2000
Episode 01 also reviewed in this issue, plus Jayne Heitmeyer interviewed!

Liam and Renee uncover a Taelon plot aboard a space station owned by Mikael Federov.

E:FCRegular viewers of E:FC should remember the third season's The Fields, which introduced kryss, a drug needed by Earthbound Taelons to survive. At the end of the story, Da'an told Liam that kryss was no longer being harvested on Earth. If Liam had read between the lines he would have seen this sequel coming. In the opening teaser, a young woman, Eva, tries to kill her father (and Taelon puppet), Senator Gale. Seems he allowed his daughter's body to be used to manufacture kryss. Our heroes are made aware of this in a very Mission: Impossible-type way, which is a running theme this season. Poor Liam is saddled with having to persuade Eva to turn Dad in. Meanwhile, Renee gets to have all the fun exposing Federov's kryss operation and the fact that he has been selling the drug on the side. He may be bad but you can't help but like this Russian rogue. Garwin Sanford plays him with the perfect balance of charm and cunning, which allows for some great on-screen chemistry between him and Jayne Heitmeyer. There is a marvelous plot twist towards the end of the story that exposes Federov's scheme, discredits Gale and paves the way for Sandoval to slither in like a snake and exploit a weakness in Da'an.

Steven Eramo

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Images © WB & Village Roadshow, Tribune Entertainment
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