By Lorna Baker
The Sci-Fi London Film Festival maybe over, but the movie reviews keep on coming.
In a world, full of big budget sci-fi blockbusters, it’s refreshing to see an independent sci-fi with big ambitions. Here’s my review of the Australian made sci-fi Blue World Order, directed by Ché Baker and Dallas Bland.
Earth 2022. After a nuclear war ravages the Earth and the modern world crumbles, small pockets of civilisation are left, but ravaged by a dangerous bacterium. Jake (Jake Ryan) is left to scavenge for food and fight for his life to get medical aid for his daughter (Billie Rutherford). Upon stumbling across a camp with survivors, he soon discovers that not all is as it seems, and that technology is being used as a means of control. With the help of Madcap (Steven Hunter), he fights to save everyone and bring back free will.
Developed from a short film of the same name; this is a film made by sci-fi fans, for sci-fi fans. Baker and Bland create the dystopian image we are used to from films like Children of Men, but manage to inject their own unique story (even if an EMP virus does border on the fantastical!). In fact it’s quite an ambitious plot for a small film, and whilst it’s mostly well-paced, it does get a bit bogged down with some complicated plot lines. Having technology being so heavily involved in the plot does make it quite difficult to get your head around, but for the most part it’s an exciting ride!
Jake Ryan as Jake does a great job, showing off some impressive martial arts skills during his fight for survival. It might be more appropriate to call this film a martial arts sci-fi film, as it excels with these frenetic fight sequences, with the camera work echoing this energetic feeling. It’s these scenes that add something a little extra to the film.
Stephen Hunter, known for his role in The Hobbit trilogy, adds some much-needed humour and life into the proceedings. As a slave fighting for freedom from the mind control, he adds the conflict into his character and his torture scene is quite believable. If there’s one fault, it’s not finding out more of his character’s background. Perhaps he deserved a little more exploration.
If one of the roles lets the film down it’s actually the big star of Billy Zane (Master Crane). He is the evil villain in the story, yet he doesn’t feature much in the film as you might expect. We see him first in flashbacks in the dojo with Jake (pre-apocalypse) but we aren’t given an insight into his motivations for his actions and reasons for taking power in the way he does. His character feels one-dimensional and although he’s offered a little redemption at the end, a further exploration of his background would have improved the film further. The same can be also said for Bolude Watson’s character Marion (Jake’s wife) – her character is intriguing, being pivotal in the EMP control and enslavement, but I was left needing more from her character.
Despite some quibbles with some of the characters, overall this is an enjoyable film and it doesn’t feel overly long like so many big Hollywood blockbusters. A mention should go to the camera work which is excellent, it’s dynamic and exciting (particularly during the forest and car chases), and adds some excitement and pace into the film – reminiscent of Mad Max. The special effects are surprisingly good for such a small film, and in combination with the actors’ abilities it works well.
However, it’s during the final act that the film falters. The climactic scenes build up the tension brilliantly, but is let down by a weaker ending. Whilst we are treated to a good fight scene, the resolution to the story feels a little rushed. Whilst the door is left open for a continuation to the story of Jake and co, it feels like we could have had more of an explanation and resolution to their journey in this film.
Blue World Order is ambitious and it works, as it’s dynamic, fast-paced and fun. Despite a dubious villain, it is redeemed by its lead actors in Jack Ryan and Stephen Hunter. For a first feature length film, it’s an impressive debut from Ché Baker and Dallas Bland!
Cineroom’s Rating: 3.5 Stars
Blue World Order screened at the SCI-FI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2017 which ran from 27 April – 6 May https://sci-fi-london.com/ (Twitter: @SciFiLondon)