movie review

Flashback Review: March 7th, 2014 Movie – Assignment: Outer Space

assignment outer space

So another day, another sci-fi movie. This one is on my Sci-Fi classics box set and is yet another Italian film that was released in the US. There seems to be quite a few of those type of movies in this set. I really want to like these movies but unlike the Italian horror movies, which I find disturbing but awesome, the sci-fi movies I have seen tend to really be hit or miss. Well, let’s just see what Assignment: Outer Space had in store for us.

The plot: Interplanetary News reporter Ray Peterson is sent on assignment to space station Zulu Extra 34, to cover a routine check of radiation from a nearby galaxy. Coming out of suspended animation,  the ships pilot/engineer, Al, radios the station as they near approach then, after his copilot, Archie, wakes up, he wakes up Ray and gets him ready to go to the space station. In order to not disrupt the artificial gravity of the station, Ray is jettisoned from the ship and must float his way through space to the stations. When he arrives, he is sent to meet the base commander, who is not happy about the reporter being assigned to the station. Ray decides to begin his assignment by filming a refueling operation but when he sees a flaming meteor heading towards one of the astronauts, he pushes the astronaut out of the way. However, as a result of his efforts, Ray finds himself heading towards the refueling line, causing it to come loose and wasting 500 gallons of fuel. George, the base commander, berates Ray for what happened, claiming that the missing fuel was more valuable than the one life. After being dismissed by George, Ray goes looking for the man he saved, only to discover that the man is actually a woman, Lucy. In order to get Ray out from underfoot, George has Al take Ray out to film some nearby asteroids but when Al lets slip that George, Lucy, and Al were going to Mars, he radios his home office and manages to get himself assigned to the Mars mission. much to the chagrin of George. As they make their way towards Mars, they come across a disabled ship but before they can manage a rescue effort, the ship ends up crashing into Phobos. George orders the ship to land on Phobos and search for survivors. Ray and Al locate the survivor and get him on board but Ray learns that instead of continuing to Mars, they have changed course and are now heading to Venus. When Ray questions the reasoning, George explains that Alpha 2, a ship that is no longer under human control, is on a heading to Earth and if it gets there, it will destroy the Earth. The ship lands on the base on Venus and makes preparations for their mission. Meanwhile, the base on Venus sends an atomic missile to try and destroy Alpha 2, but it is destroyed by an invisible sphere of heat that the ship’s computers have created. When a second missile manages to get closer to the ship, Al theorizes that the invisible sphere is made of two halves and the missile had managed to get through the gaps between the halves. With Al piloting a second ship, George pilots the lead ship and they prepare to try their plan to destroy Alpha 2 when they get a call from Space Station Zulu Extra 34, telling them that an asteroid collision with Alpha 2 has caused it to change course, with the space station directly in it’s path. The station is destroyed but two workers on a space taxi manage to survive and George pilots his ship to rescue them. Meanwhile, Al fires two rockets at Alpha 2, the second of which gets within 200 miles of the ship before it is destroyed. Figuring he knows where the channel is, Al pilots the ship into the channel and tries to get closer before he fires, but he ends up being destroyed. George has given up hope of destroying Alpha 2, but Ray, seeing the Space Taxi, decides to try to pilot it through the corridor. George tries to stop him by informing Ray that Lucy loves him, but Ray knocks him out and, with Lucy watching, he exits the ship and heads to the space taxi. Using loose parts to show where the corridor ends, Ray manages to make it to Alpha 2 and, with George guiding him over the radio, Ray manages to sever the wires to the electronic brain. Ray tries to leave, but with the electronic brain out of commission, the power has gone out in the ship and Ray finds himself trapped inside. With Ray’s air running out, George leads a rescue mission to save Ray, cutting through the hatch just as Ray passes out. They manage to get Ray back to the ship and leave before they are torn apart by the Earth’s atmosphere like Alpha 2. As Ray regains consciousness, he and Lucy stare out at The Earth as their ship leaves the atmosphere and heads back into space.

Boring, Boring, Borzzzzzzz. That’s pretty much how I felt watching this. The acting was so monotone and clipped that it almost felt like a bunch of robots were reading lines. There was practically no emotion from anyone. The story was ok but the dismal acting just absolutely killed any hope for this getting better. The only problem I had as far as the writing went is the Ray/Lucy situation, as that pretty much appeared out of nowhere. There was one funny part to this movie, well…funny to me, but it was more due to bad editing than anything else. When the disabled ship crashes onto Phobos, it was supposed to be due to one of their damaged engines exploding. However, when they showed the explosion, it was from a scene that was outside, with a building, trees, power poles, and a car, not on a ship. I had to back it up and watch it in slow motion to confirm what I saw and when I did, I literally laughed out loud. So the movie had a decent plot idea but that is the only thing it had going for it so I would find something else to do for 70 minutes.

Rating: 1 out of 5


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