Friday 14 April 2023

REVIEW: Colonials (2023) - Starring Daniel Roebuck, Greg Kriek, Sean Kanan and Jamie Bernadette

Review by Jon Donnis
I haven't seen a good low-budget sci-fi film in a while, so when approached to review the new sci-fi film Colonials from directors Andrew Balek (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) and Joe Bland (Ellipse), how could I refuse? Add in that the film runs for just under 80 minutes, and you have my attention.

The story of Colonials begins with Silas (Greg Kriek), a space explorer travelling from Mars, who embarks on a reconnaissance mission to Earth, which lies in ruin, to figure out what happened to the "humans of old". Unfortunately, he encounters the Exiles, a dangerously advanced and perilously evil Moon-based civilization that destroys his ship, causing him to crash-land alone on Earth after being separated from his squadron.

Zoey (Jamie Bernadette), a member of the resistance, finds him and tries to determine why he has returned to Earth, but he has lost his memory in the accident. Meanwhile, the Moon enforcers view this encounter as an opportunity to gain an advantage over the resistance.

Can Silas recover his memory? Whose side should he be on?

This is a fun, low-budget sci-fi film. I wonder if the filmmakers are fans of the early 2000s sci-fi show Lexx? I ask that because the style of this film reminded me very much of that show. The film is quite light-hearted, and the Silas character is a lot of fun. There is even a floating robot, Spark (Jon Provost), with a great sense of wit.

As mentioned, the film does have a low budget, and this does show. A lot of the movie is filmed with green screens and CGI. The CGI also reminded me of Lexx, which is perhaps not a great thing when you consider that show is from 20 years ago.

The Good:
A fun, if not particularly original, story, strong performances by all of the cast, and some nice action scenes. Some of the CGI is pretty decent, especially the interior of ships, etc. Some enjoyable camp acting.

The Bad:
There is no hiding the fact that this is low-budget, but if you like those made-for-TV movies from the early 2000s, then you should like this.

Despite being heavily limited by the budget, the filmmakers have big ideas and do their best. I think the casting is strong, and some of the campy acting and set pieces are well done. Very Lexx in its style, which is a good thing in my eyes.

I score Colonials a fair 7.5/10

Colonials is available on VOD and digital platforms from Epic Pictures. It was released in the UK on digital on April 17th.

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