Director: Steven M.
Bill Paxton, Bob Peck, Mark Hamill, Kitty Aldridge
If you have an idea for a movie, be sure that you can
off for the entire movie. And if you add unusual props, settings, and
effects, be sure that you have the budget to pull it off with success. Slipstream
doesn't follow the above formula, yet I hesitate to call it a failure.
Usually I would call an unrecommended movie with some good stuff an
failure". This movie doesn't have quite enough good stuff to call it
yet it also doesn't botch things badly enough to really be called a
This movie has spun a new kind of critical rating, I suppose.
In the near future, natural disasters have destroyed
most of the earth.
After the holocaust, a new wind appeared to blow clean the planet.
high winds remained and are referred to as being part of the
How this wind gets generated and what remaining centers of population
of them didn't concern me as much as the fact that even with the title,
the slipstream could be eliminated from the script with extremely
Some intrigue and interest is generated after the setup,
Will Tasker (Hamill) and his female sidekick (whose name I don't think
is ever uttered in the movie) chasing in their futuristic airplane a
figure (Peck) dressed in a pin-striped suit running in the middle of
After they land and capture Peck, they take him to what seems to be
a "airplane stop" for fellow flyers. (It looks like an ordinary truck
with some garbage thrown around inside and outside). Bounty hunter Max
(Paxton) eyes the two policemen's prisoner and sees him as his ticket
a small fortune. So he takes "Byron" (which is what he thinks the
name is in a contrived sequence) by gunpoint and flies off with him,
Hamill and what's-her-name in pursuit. Max is correct in guessing that
Byron is worth something, but slowly starts to realize that he doesn't
know some important things about his prisoner, or his crime. Byron
is a servant who killed his master, but it runs much deeper than that.
Okay, not a bad premise. Sets up a lot of plot
possibilities and chances
for post-apocalypse sets and special effects. But for the latter two,
movie shows once again that the British simply can't do such things
unless they have a big budget. American F/X crews can do impressive
on low budgets, which the British simply can't figure out how to do.
the flying sequences; when the airplane is flying through a canyon in
winds trying to escape its pursuers, it is painfully obvious that the
is a model, and the fleeing airplane image is imposed with such murky
that it looks like it was cut out and pasted on the negative. In fact,
most of the movie is shot with overcast skies and muddy colors. Ruins
a city are obviously the Turkish Cappadocia cave dwelling carved out of
the mountain hundreds of years ago (and the extras in the village are
Turkish). Most of the "action" in the movie is planes casually flying
and one important plane crash is only heard, not seen (We see the
There is one well-done special-effect/action scene.
Landing in a remote
village during their travels, Max and Byron are captured by
villagers, and Byron is tied to a gigantic kite and flown hundreds of
above the village in the roaring slipstream at night. Max rescues Byron
by ingeniously tying himself to the kite rope and being blown up to the
kite by releasing his parachute. The darkness hides the model work
(and is appropriate for the time of day). But even if the special
were poorer, the scene would still work, for it is swiftly executed and
makes viewers believe that there's a chance one of both of the men
Despite the poor sets and effects (with the
exception of the above
sequence), the movie could still rise above its limitations with a good
story. The British have managed to do this with sci-fi, like with Dr.
Who, which had poor sets and effects but well-told and engaging
stories. The movie doesn't lack a good premise, but it doesn't have any
idea how to pull it off. The rest of the movie is just a collection of
vignettes, with Max and Byron traveling from one place to another, with
each new location not usually having any purpose except to fill in
Occasionally there is a moment of genuine interest, but seldom does it
have anything to do with the plot. None of these vignettes is exactly
but they're more like a waste of time. We eventually learn more about
crime, but we never learn exactly why he did what he did. Where are
and Max traveling to, anyway? Are we supposed to feel any sympathy to
(who acts like a real jerk), or are we supposed to be on Byron's side?
As for the performances, they are mostly average, but
there's one exceptional
performance that belongs to...Mark Hamill. I'm not joking - his
here is excellent, and he didn't make me once think during the viewing
that he was taking a breather from a Star Wars shoot.
with his beard he reminded me of how Malcolm McDowall looks like these
days!) His Will Tasker character is convincingly bad, yet you also
that a long, long time ago in a gal- sorry - you sense that his
in the past was not so evil, or never was - not an easy thing for an
to do. Too bad that Hamill only makes a few short appearances in the
aside from the first and last 10 minutes of the movie.
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See also: Laserhawk, Survivor, No Blade Of