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Astro- Movie Review 2018

DVD Distributed By:  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Initial Release: 2018
Home Release: June 5, 2018
Director: Asif Akbar
Writers: Asif Akbar, Bernard Selling
 Stars: Gary Daniels, Marshal Hilton, Courtney Akbar
 Rating: UnRated

Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Reviewed By Paul Grover

Looking for a good sci-fi adventure for Saturday night? This is not the one. However, if you're into underdeveloped films with cheesy writing, cheesy acting, cheesy directing and cheesy special effects, then we've got a winner!

But, if you're like me, you'll be thinking the filmmakers should've left this one in the oven a little longer before they released it. It comes across as a practice movie, or a rough cut. There is a story here, and a vision--but it all gets kind of lost in the cheesiness and the endless streams of unnecessary dialogue. Let me get down to specifics without giving spoilers--and my telling you that they trotted out the Roswell incident at the very opening of the film is not a spoiler, it was a disappointment! My problem with the Roswell incident is that its overused and cliché. There is a lesser known incident known as “The Stranger at the Pentagon” in which, allegedly, President Eisenhower was visited by an extraterrestrial calling himself “Valiant Thor” (who knows, maybe he was Thor of Norse legend). In Astro, there is a character who is every bit like Valiant Thor. For me, this would have been a much better back story.

Two things that will kill a film are no tension and incessant dialogue. Astro has both in spades. It is also, unfortunately, lacking in humor. Often, the characters in the movie rambled on long after the important information was disseminated. I kept wondering when the characters were going to be finished talking so we could get on with the story.

For all its flaws, however, the best thing about this film was the fight scenes. Though the motivation for these fights was somewhat sketchy at times, they were very well choreographed, well shot, performed nearly flawlessly and edited even better. Maybe these filmmakers would have been better off shooting a movie with a martial arts theme. The acting in the movie ran the gamut from beginners to seasoned pros. I could tell a big difference between when the seasoned actors were on screen together, or when one of the seasoned actors had to be on screen with one of the beginner actors.
And then there was a pair of boobs. A pair of perfectly-matched golden orbs (or were they supposed to be brass? I don't know). She was the female companion to the “Valiant Thor” dude (so I gave him my own back story--so what!) Hey, I like a nice set of boobs now and again., especially a pair as nice as Thor's companion had. But they appeared inappropriately in a scene very early in the film that doesn't pay off until the very end. And you can bet your ass that I wasn't about to forget that scene after seeing them boobs. I mean, it was very odd the way they were unveiled: she is introducing herself to the hero's daughter. The cameraman starts on her face, then pans down to focus on these gorgeous orbs! For a moment, I completely lost track of what was going on; too busy trying to figure out why those boobs were there. But that was it; there was no other titillation (ha!) or sexual tension anywhere else in the entire film.

As I watched this film, from the first frame I started editing in my head, as I often do when I see something that is in need of serious editing. Given the right cuts (the first cut being the boob scene), keeping only the essential dialogue, tightening scenes, I could probably edit this into a decent 45-minute Outer Limits like episode for one of these new series on Netflix. If you go into this one with very low expectations, you won't be disappointed.

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