Darth Spader
Review by Ross Anthony

"Karl Larson, he's the worst nightmare I ever met," a repulsed Angela Bassett, chief medical expert aboard the Nightingale 229 medical rescue vessel, warns of an emergency caller from a distant star sector. Robert Forster (of "Jackie Brown" fame) decides to react without regard for Angela's caution, risking the ship and crew in a dangerous "plasma warp" in order to heed Larson's call. Actually, the warp sequence is pretty cool.

Forster is a strong actor; too bad he isn't used much. Co-pilot Spader (who you might not recognize from his big-haired "Sex, Lies, and Videotapes" days) picks up the slack. He performs the sharp, soft-spoken, tough-guy role flawlessly. He and Angela flirt maturely; while crew members Lou Diamond and Robin Tunny are considerably less subtle. Even less subtle in this respect, Peter Facinelli (reminiscent of a Tom Cruise) is powerfully menacing, alluringly buff, and dramatically "as strong as a horse." He's a very good bad guy.

Seems our distress caller, Peter, has brought a little something special on board: something erotically enticing and cosmically tragic, something "as smart as God and a lot less nice." It's a fine core around which to script a film. However well conceived, the picture ignores this beautiful object's potential gravity, neglecting it for bad-guy-on-board action that just happens to be in 22nd century space. For this reason, the title and the film become somewhat estranged.

Trivial side note: A cool sounding name, "Supernova" refers to the explosion of a star; but ironically, roughly translated in Spanish means "a big no go." (Chevy realized this some years back.)

"Supernova" is simple, but well paced. It's graphically clean on the screen and offers a bit of mindless movie fun. If you can endure a couple of "Leave me behind and take the patient" kind of silly heroisms, as well as a lack of real substance, you won't have a bad time.

  • Supernova. (C)2000. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Lou Diamond Phillips, Peter Facinelli, Robin Tunney, Wilson Cruz.
  • Directed by Thomas Lee.
  • Written by David Cambell Wison
  • Produced by Ash R. Shah, Daniel Chuba, Jamie Dixon at MGM/Screenland/Hammerhead.


Copyright © 1999. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:54:38 PDT