Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the science fiction action thriller Andron (2015) by writer/director Francesco Cinquemani.  Since nothing is given away by the IMDb description, I will use that to set the stage:

A group of people are plunged into a dark, claustrophobic maze, where they must fight to survive, as the outside world watches.

Okay, let’s just call a spade a spade as most of us probably immediately thought of The Hunger Games.  In a way, this is a fair call, but so are comparisons to The Running Man, Cube, and Exam so just because Katniss immediately comes to mind, that does not mean that the story is as narrow as our first thought.  The plot adds a few clever (and one downright cruel) tricks into the mix to make it its own while still keeping up the general outline of the films I mentioned above.  If I had to draw a more direct comparison to any of the above features, I would definitely say this feels more like The Running Man as there is a lot of focus on action, little focus on character development, and a hopefully intentional 80’s vibe to the whole proceedings.

Luckily for us, the visuals are not as garish or outlandish as those in a traditional 80’s movie.  In face, most of the visuals rival those presented in the first entry of The Hunger Games saga (which to my mind was the least visually appealing of the bunch) so I have to give them credit that they crafted some marvelous set pieces.  There are moments where the ridiculousness of the effects do feel like a throwback to the muscle bound sci-fi action movies of old, but for the most part they are well handled and serve as a perfect complement to the action on screen.

The action scenes themselves are a mixture of hand to hand combat, gun play, and special powers that would feel right at home in a video game.  The hand to hand combat was especially impressive as most of these sequences were filmed in such a fashion that we could tell exactly what was going on.  While this may seem an odd compliment to give, a fair amount of action movies use clever camera tricks to make it seem like more is happening in one on one fights than is actually happening so when I see a picture that shows me the fight scenes clearly, I am always impressed.

I was less impressed with the acting, but I cannot tell if it was the actor’s faults or the thin characters they were given.  For the most part, no one was downright bad, but few of the performances were at all memorable.  The most interesting person on screen had to be Alec Baldwin who hammed up his role to perfection making nearly every scene he was in thoroughly enjoyable.

All in all, the 80’s action/sci-fi feel is quite a bit of fun and, while it may not be as memorable as similar features, it is still an entertaining enough ride.

ANDRON hits theaters, VOD, and Digital June 3

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Nightmarish Detour

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