Skip to main content

In the old days, childbirth was a much simpler affair.

Star Cops
7. A Double Life

Thus far, Star Copshas maintained a degree of consistency. Nothing that gets into five star territory, but nothing below average either. That changes with A Double Life (if titles are any indication of the show’s quality, this one certainly sucks), a feeble story taking in cloning, doppelgangers and another opportunity for the series’ unswerving appetite for stereotyping any given nationality or race; this time it tries its hand at Arab culture.


John Collee scripts again (and the next too), but Christopher Baker is back in the director’s chair and one’s instantly aware of the dissipation of atmosphere (and turning up of lights). There are a few neat little ideas thrown into a plot concerning the kidnapping of the embryos of rich Arab woman Chamsya Assadi (Nitza Shaul), such as the doubling of one’s chances of conception on the Moon. There’s also comment on the deluge of individuals ending up in space looking for a living, “Like trying to keep tabs on a gold rush”. There are also chromosomal fingerprint tests. Less impressively, people make coffee in the same old way and relax in makeshift Moonbase chill out rooms with bargain basement chairs.


Madam Assadi who has “got to be the world’s most unpopular woman” and is related to a royal family, proceeds to take the law into her own hands and, in typical Star Cops fashion, is given to phrases such as “There is a saying in my country…” Shaul isn’t really very good, unfortunately; hers is one of those performances that’s so uncertain you half believe she might be intended as the perpetrator from the first scene. Which I guess provides a level of unintentional intrigue that isn’t really there.


Devis: Perhaps he had a twin.

It’s Devis’ oafish to-the-point-ness that gives Nathan his insight into the culprit behind the abduction. It isn’t concert pianist James Bannerman (Brian Gwaspari), despite his matching DNA; it’s his double Albi. Albi gets the best line in a bad bunch (“They’ve sent me a big fat hostage”, describing Devis), but his motives and behaviour are banal (he wants revenge for Assadi’s murder of daddy Cyrus Tiel).


Devis is typically tactless throughout, although one begins to wish he would show similar abandon in eviscerating of the script. “She probably flushed the bloody things down the loo” he concludes after the embryo abduction has taken place. He manages to insult Anna Shoun, although given Sayo Inaba’s performance that’s at least understandable (“Well, I told her she was too fragile for this sort of work”). Anna is given some quite good comebacks to slobbish Devis (“If you were more sophisticated, I might share your sense of humour”) but they mostly fall flat due to the delivery.


Shoun: My problem is a spiritual one. As a Buddhist I’m committed to the preservation of life.

Anna’s disinclination to kill is displayed as something odd, so obviously she needs to come around and be required to kill someone for the climax. Which she duly does. Just as it looks like there might be serious emotional and psychological fallout from this, Devis gets her to laugh. See? Killing people isn’t that bad after all!


Elsewhere, Krivenko shows himself to be a meddling arse, keeping Assadi informed of events so as to keep her sweet on Moonbase funding, which leads to Bannerman being kidnapped. Eric Ray Evans gets to flag up his limited range again, while Kenzy actually calls someone a “great galah”.


Spring: In the old days, childbirth was a much simpler affair.


This is dull, uninspired stuff. It’s a pretty bog standard plotline that, aside from the clone conceit, could have been used in any detective show thriving on the unlikely (a Jonathan Creek, for example). As such it’s no one’s finest hour, although Box has a mildly amusing sequence where he’s taking the piss out of Nathan. Who only merits comment for another pointer to his Morse-like qualities; he’s clearly really enjoying the opera compilation David gives him. Oh, and for the very silly visual gag in the last scene where Kenzy sees a double of Nathan on the shuttle.




Popular posts from this blog

I think I’m Pablo Picasso!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) (SPOILERS) I get the impression that, whatever it is stalwart Venom fans want from a Venom movie, this iteration isn’t it. The highlight here for me is absolutely the wacky, love-hate, buddy-movie antics of Tom Hardy and his symbiote alter. That was the best part of the original, before it locked into plot “progression” and teetered towards a climax where one CGI monster with gnarly teeth had at another CGI monster with gnarly teeth. And so it is for Venom: Let There Be Carnage . But cutting quicker to the chase.

I don’t think Wimpys still exist.

Last Night in Soho (2021) (SPOILERS) Last Night in Soho is a cautionary lesson in one’s reach extending one’s grasp. It isn’t that Edgar Wright shouldn’t attempt to stretch himself, it’s simply that he needs the self-awareness to realise which moves are going to throw his back out and leave him in a floundering and enfeebled heap on the studio floor. Wright’s an uber-geek, one with a very specific comfort zone, and there’s no shame in that. He evidently was shamed, though, hence this response to criticisms of a lack of maturity and – obviously – lack of versatility with female characters. Last Night in Soho goes broke for woke, and in so doing exposes his new clothes in the least flattering light. Because Edgar is in no way woke, his attempts to prove his progressive mettle lead to a lurid, muddled mess, one that will satisfy no one. Well, perhaps his most ardent fans, but no one else.

It looks like a digital walkout.

Free Guy (2021) (SPOILERS) Ostensibly a twenty-first century refresh of The Truman Show , in which an oblivious innocent realises his life is a lie, and that he is simply a puppet engineered for the entertainment of his creators/controllers/the masses, Free Guy lends itself to similar readings regarding the metaphysical underpinnings of our reality, of who sets the paradigm and how conscious we are of its limitations. But there’s an additional layer in there too, a more insidious one than using a Hollywood movie to “tell us how it really is”.

The voice from the outer world who will lead them to paradise.

Dune (2021) (SPOILERS) For someone who has increasingly dug himself a science-fiction groove, Denis Villeneuve isn’t terribly imaginative. Dune looks perfect, in the manner of the cool, clinical, calculating and above all glacial rendering of concept design and novel cover art in the most doggedly literal fashion. And that’s the problem. David Lynch’s edition may have had its problems, but it was inimitably the product of a mind brimming with sensibility. Villeneuve’s version announces itself as so determinedly faithful to Frank Herbert, it needs two movies to tell one book, and yet all it really has to show for itself are gargantuan vistas.

Give poor, starving Gurgi munchings and crunchings.

The Black Cauldron (1985) (SPOILERS) Dark Disney? I guess… Kind of . I don’t think I ever got round to seeing this previously. The Fox and the Hound , sure. Basil the Great Mouse Detective , most certainly. Even Oliver and Company , so I wasn’t that selective. But I must have missed The Black Cauldron , the one that nearly broke Disney, for the same reason everyone else did. But what reason was that? Perhaps nothing leaping out about it, when the same summer kids could see The Goonies , or Back to the Future , or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure . It seemed like a soup of other, better-executed ideas and past Disney movies, stirred up in a cauldron and slopped out into an environment where audiences now wanted something a touch more sophisticated.

Monster nom nom?

The Suicide Squad (2021) (SPOILERS) This is what you get from James Gunn when he hasn’t been fed through the Disney rainbow filter. Pure, unadulterated charmlessness, as if he’s been raiding his deleted Twitter account for inspiration. The Suicide Squad has none of the “heart” of Guardians of Galaxy , barely a trace of structure, and revels in the kind of gross out previously found in Slither ; granted an R rating, Gunn revels in this freedom with juvenile glee, but such carte blanche only occasionally pays off, and more commonly leads to a kind of playground repetition. He gets to taunt everyone, and then kill them. Critics applauded; general audiences resisted. They were right to.

It becomes easier each time… until it kills you.

The X-Files 4.9: Terma Oh dear. After an engaging opener, the second part of this story drops through the floor, and even the usually spirited Rob Bowman can’t save the lethargic mess Carter and Spotnitz make of some actually pretty promising plot threads.

Three. Two. One. Lift with your neck.

Red Notice  (2021) (SPOILERS) Red Notice rather epitomises Netflix output. Not the 95% that is dismissible, subgrade filler no one is watching but is nevertheless churned out as original “content”. No, this would be the other, more select tier constituting Hollywood names and non-negligible budgets. Most such fare still fails to justify its existence in any way, shape or form, singularly lacking discernible quality control or “studio” oversight. Albeit, one might make similar accusations of a selection of legit actual studio product too, but it’s the sheer consistency of unleavened movies that sets Netflix apart. So it is with Red Notice . Largely lambasted by the critics, in much the manner of, say 6 Underground or Army of the Dead , it is in fact, and just like those, no more and no less than okay.

Oh hello, loves, what year is it?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) (SPOILERS) Simu Lui must surely be the least charismatic lead in a major motion picture since… er, Taylor Lautner? He isn’t aggressively bad, like Lautner was/is, but he’s so blank, so nondescript, he makes Marvel’s super-spiffy new superhero Shang-Chi a superplank by osmosis. Just looking at him makes me sleepy, so it’s lucky Akwafina is wired enough for the both of them. At least, until she gets saddled with standard sidekick support heroics and any discernible personality promptly dissolves. And so, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continues Kevin Feige’s bold journey into wokesense, seemingly at the expense of any interest in dramatically engaging the viewer.

What about the panties?

Sliver (1993) (SPOILERS) It must have seemed like a no-brainer. Sharon Stone, fresh from flashing her way to one of the biggest hits of 1992, starring in a movie nourished with a screenplay from the writer of one of the biggest hits of 1992. That Sliver is one Stone’s better performing movies says more about how no one took her to their bosom rather than her ability to appeal outside of working with Paul Verhoeven. Attempting to replicate the erotic lure of Basic Instinct , but without the Dutch director’s shameless revelry and unrepentant glee (and divested of Michael Douglas’ sweaters), it flounders, a stupid movie with vague pretensions to depth made even more stupid by reshoots that changed the killer’s identity and exposed the cluelessness of the studio behind it. Philip Noyce isn’t a stupid filmmaker, of course. He’s a more-than-competent journeyman when it comes to Hollywood blockbuster fare ( Clear and Present Danger , Salt ) also adept at “smart” smaller pict