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WING COMMANDER

SYNOPSIS:
The human race, in the form of the Confederation, is engaged in a war with the Kilrathi, who have fobbed off all overtures for peace. Two hotshot pilots, Blair (Freddie Prinze Jr) and 'Maniac' (Matthew Lillard) are sent to reinforce the starship Tiger Claw. The freighter pilot taking them there is the maverick Taggart (Tcheky Karyo). After making a difficult space jump, they rendezvous with the ship where they’re assigned to the wing of 'Angel' Devereaux (Saffron Burrows). The Kilrathi have taken a navigational computer that allows them to make the jump to Earth. Under the direction of the captain (David Suchet) and his cynical commander (Jurgen Prochnow) they must attempt to stop the seemingly inevitable Kilrathi invasion.

"Remember not so long ago there were two World War II movies (Saving Private Ryan and Thin Red Line) around? Well, Wing Commander is another - albeit one masquerading as a sci-fi picture - but one displaying a complete lack of any originality, managing to use just about every war and submarine movie cliché in deep space. The film is based on a video game; but the outcome of this exercise is far more predictable than any video game. The script is at times ludicrous and the dialogue stilted. Freddie Prinze Jr (he of recent teen movies) has a boyish charm, but lacks real charisma as Blair, while Matthew Lillard is largely secondary as Maniac. As you might have guessed, both characters owe a lot to those in Top Gun (indeed, Blair’s nickname is 'Maverick'). Tcheky Karyo, however, is terrific in a role that doesn’t really test his acting mettle. Saffron Burrows is effective as Angel, until her character becomes window dressing towards the end; and the irony of Jurgen Prochnow’s (Das Boot) presence is too much to bear. It’s a little difficult to work out what audience the film is meant to be pitched at. Adults will hardly be enthralled by the story, plot and acting; but its overt sexual references (the number painted on Angel’s fighter is '69' - please!) will distance it from those under 10 - so it’s largely left to teen games fans. Wing Commander does boast some great special effects, but they can’t sustain it. The whole thing was done a lot better in Destination Tokyo (1943) with scale models in a swimming pool."
David Edwards

"It's always fun going to the previews of movies that are truly bad. It's even more fun when you are there with the average punter, which is really what reviewers are, just with a fancy name. At the end of the film, everyone leapt from their seats, swearing mightily and passing judgement. Unfortunately for this film, not even the weakest of excuses ("Well, the effects were cool") can possibly provide redemption...mostly because they weren't that cool, sadly. The plot was weak and hadn't even been massaged to provide anything new since Top Gun. It was depressingly average in every way, shape and form, with dreadful sentimental lines flying so fast the audience was ducking to avoid the wreckage. To top it off, there was too much swearing and sexual content to even brand it a kids film - yes, you guessed it, this film is trying to tread where Starship Troopers did - but got lost after falling down a nasty crevice of mediocrity. Very poor effort with a not-too-bad cast. A tragic waste of talent."
Peter Anderson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

WING COMMANDER (PG)
(US)

CAST: Freddie Prinze Jr., Saffron Burrows, Matthew Lillard, Tcheky Karyo, Jurgen Prochnow, David Suchet, David Warne

DIRECTOR: Chris Roberts

PRODUCER: Todd Moyer

SCRIPT: Chris Roberts, Kevin Droney

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thierry Arbogast

EDITOR: Peter Davies

MUSIC: Kevin Kiner (Theme by David Arnold)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Peter Lamont

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Melb, Brisb: September 16, 1999
Syd, Adel, Per: Sept 23







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