Movies from the Black Lagoon


PROJECT SHADOWCHASER 3000 - 1995, Rated R

By Tom Doty



In space no one can hear you shout rip-off and that’s just fine when your flick pits a space station crew against a killer android in this effort which borrows heavily from “Alien,” “Aliens,” “The Thing,” and “The Terminator.”

It all starts with a flashback that makes no sense. A quartet of Russian cosmonauts aboard the space ship Siberia(so named if you didn’t pick up on the fact that they were of Eastern European ancestry)corner a woman on their space ship . There is a spirited debate about whether she is herself or a killer robot . Then there’s a lot of blue light and everyone dies. Huh?

Cut to ‘Comstat ‘station a quarter century later. It relays messages from earth to the outer colonies(though they don’t send or receive one message through the whole flick). The crew is antsy because they only have 48 hours until their shifts ends and they can go back to Earth, This would be the worst time for a problem to arise so cue the music.

Their tech guy Wheels, so named because he is wheelchair bound, (isn’t this movie clever) discovers that a ship is suddenly heading towards them. It is actually on a direct course to smash them to bits. Their smart guy, the Professor(you saw that one coming) recognizes it as the Siberia. He states it went missing 25 years ago. The crew buckles down and works to avoid the collision.

They succeed and are very pleased with themselves. That is until the ship powers up , turns around, and smashes into them. Now they are in trouble and must board this hulk and use it to change their course before they are drawn into Mar’s atmosphere. They go in and are soon menaced by the Android which wiped out the original crew of the Siberia.

The Professor fills them in on some details. The ship had been sent to investigate a new revolutionary power source on a distant planet. Turns out the daughter of the Siberia’s Captain is a member of their crew(wow of all the ships in the cosmos). She is able to decipher the Captain’s log and reveals that they had found the mysterious space energy but their Android had an allergic reaction to it and went bonkers.

We learn the android killed the crew. It was a special model that can assume any form so it could now be any one of them. This would probably be a good time to crowd together and figure out if they are all human. Instead they choose to go off in the dark and search for the cargo while shouting someone’s name whenever they hear a loud noise.

Let’s face it . These dummies have it coming. Before you know it there are only a few left, including the requisite dog, and they will have to work on some trust issues if they have any hope of turning this situation around.

You’ve seen all this before but you can have some fun with this effort. They actually spent some money on it (though they didn’t budget for good writing and editing). The actors fare pretty well but the set looks like a German factory with state of the art sliding doors. The ships look fantastic but don’t merit much screen time.

Frank Zagarino steals it as the Android. This was his third time out playing one . He also starred in the ,even better, Project Shadowchaser. That one kept it simple and just ripped off “Die Hard.” Sam Bottoms is okay as the good guy crewman, Cody. Ricco Ross will look familiar to “Aliens ” fans who will recognize him as the guy who got to say, “What do expect us to use, harsh language?”Comedian Bill Kirchenbauer is wasted as Wheels who is never allowed to be funny. This is an okay time waster but only watch when you are in a bad mood because your only satisfaction will come whenever one of these idiots finally gets hammered by the deadly droid.

The best line goes to the Android: “Woof,woof!”

PROJECT SHADOWCHASER 3000 – 1995, Rated R

By Tom Doty

Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.

Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.

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