A game cast can’t save the world from this muddled mess of a movie.
Directed by Ché Baker and Dallas Bland / 2018
I think it’s common wisdom when making a movie to not remind your audience of a different, better movie. At various points throughout Blue World Order I was thinking of Children of Men, Robocop, Mad Max: Fury Road, Lord of the Rings, The Terminator, Star Wars, Back to the Future, and at least one of the Death Wish sequels. Suffice it to say that any movie that makes you wish you were watching a Cannon production instead is not a good movie.
In the year 2022, the world will suffer a nuclear war. As if that doesn’t screw things up enough, the war is followed by a terrible plague that threatens to finish the job of wiping out humanity. Our hero, Jake (Jake Ryan), is one of the last remaining survivors who is trying to survive among the lush forests of the wastelands. He has with him his daughter, Molly (Billy Rutherford). Molly, however, has been rendered comatose by some event initially only referred to as ‘the flash’ (this turns out to be a different event than the war and the plague- man, life in 2022 is really gonna suck!) He follows some men back to a strange encampment, where Jake hopes to find a hospital and doctors who can help his daughter.
Any movie that makes you wish you were watching a Cannon production instead is not a good movie.
There are sinister things afoot, however. Jake is drugged into unconsciousness and Molly is kidnapped. The camp, it turns out, is run by the people who caused ‘the flash.’ The event was designed to implant a computer virus into people’s brains that makes them susceptible to mind control. Jake and his daughter are the only ones immune to the virus, and the bad guys want to know why!
Jake escapes from the camp with the help of Sam Gamgee, er… I mean Madcap (Stephen Hunter), who takes Jake back to his secret lair (where someone thoughtfully came ahead and lit all the candles for them). Madcap explains the nature of the virus to Jake, and they begin to hatch a plan to rescue Molly, and blow up the tower that the bad guys are using to broadcast their commands to the virus. Before the plan can be implemented the bad guys arrive (some secret hideout, pal!) and Madcap is captured. Madcap is updated with evil virus 2.0, which has even more terrible mind control powers. Jake now finds himself alone, facing an enemy he doesn’t fully understand, trapped in a world he never made!
From a storytelling and editing perspective, Blue World Order is a muddled mess. Time and space are folded and mutilated by the cutting during action sequences, making it not only difficult to follow the action, but downright painful as well. Extended flashbacks, usually a very handy tool used to flesh out a character’s backstory, just serve to pad out the film’s runtime. Travel montages don’t give any sense of time or distance; the characters even seem to traverse the same canyon twice at one point. This is basic filmmaking, and co-directors Baker and Bland can’t manage it.
The cast is generally good at delivering whatever gobbledigook the script saddles them with. Newcomers Bolude Fakuade, who plays a scientist working for the bad guys, and young Billy Rutherford are likeable and do a good job.”Name” actors pop up in smaller roles, lending some semblance of prestige to the affair. Billy Zane appears as a martial arts instructor, Master Crane, who shares a past with Jake, and has big plans for this world’s future. Also on hand is The Road Warrior’s Bruce Spence, who plays a torturer whose over-the-top German accent evokes Peter Sellers’s Dr. Strangelove. Again, this movie reminds me of a better movie I could be watching instead.
I should applaud the film for subverting my expectations, but unfortunately, I was expecting coherent storytelling.
I admit that around the halfway point I found myself wondering where the movie was headed. It had set up what seemed to be a final confrontation with the bad guys… but there was still 50 minutes of runtime left. I suppose I should applaud the film for subverting my expectations, but unfortunately, I was expecting coherent storytelling. Blue World Order is D-level schlock of the sort I used to catch on late-night cable. Its ambition and attempts at world-building far exceed its budgetary reach, and the filmmakers’ ability to clearly convey its premise. Concept drawings decorate the end credits, and it shows a vision that is so much more than utility vans covered in corrugated sheet metal.