aka Science Fiction Volume One: The Osiris Child
Director/Screenplay – Shane Abbess, Story – Shane Abbess & Brian Carcia, Producers – Sidonie Abbene, Shane Abbess, Matthew Graham & Brett Thornquest, Photography – Carl Robertson, Music – Brian Cachia, Visual Effects Supervisor – Steven Anderson, Visual Effects – Orb VFX, Special Effects Supervisor – Tim Riach, Creature & Makeup Effects – Make-Up Effects Group (Supervisors – Paul Katte & Nick Nicolaou), Production Design – George Liddle. Production Company – Storm Alley/Eclectick Vision/Phoentic Images
Kellan Lutz (Sy Lombrok), Daniel MacPherson (Lieutenant Kane Sommerville), Luke Ford (Bill), Isabel Lucas (Gyp), Teagan Croft (Indo Sommerville), Temuera Morrison (Warden Mourdain), Rachel Griffiths (General Lynex), Bren Foster (Charles Kreat), Dwaine Stevenson (The Ragged), Andy Rodorea (Colonel Michaels), Paul Winchester (Mandel), Harry Pavlidis (Hopper Joe)
In the future, humanity colonisation of other worlds has been made possible by the Exor Corporation who have employed prisoners as slave labour. Lieutenant Kane Sommerville serves in the Exor military forces in the base that floats above one of these planets. The base’s commander General Lynex announces that the prisoners have overthrown the prison and are threatening to detonate the nuclear reactor. The only hope is for them to evacuate the planet and leave those in the cities to die. One of Kane’s compatriots informs him that this is a ruse and in fact the ferocious creatures that Exor have genetically bred to raze the native populations of planets have gone out of control and now threaten the capital Osiris City. Kane’s daughter Indi is down in Osiris City and so he steals a shuttle and heads down to the surface before the twenty-four hour deadline. Instead, he is shot down by Exor forces. Parachuting free, he encounters Sy Lombrok, a convicted criminal who escaped during the prison break. He convinces Sy of the urgency of what is about to happen and agrees to get him to shelter inside one of the Exor bunkers. They set out, paying the strung-out Bill and Gyp to give them a ride in their armoured bus. All the while, they face pursuit by the Exor troops and the onslaught of the mutant creatures.
Australian director Shane Abbess first appeared with the angel film Gabriel (2007) and followed this with the science-fiction film Infini (2015). He has also produced other genre works such as Terminus (2015) and Better Watch Out (2016).
If nothing else, you have to commend Shane Abbess on the enormity of his grasp with Origin Wars. First of all, he has announced the film as the first in a series, which is a huge boldness of approach in itself. Moreover, he has named the film after an entire genre Science Fiction Volume One, which is a move that either reeks of a determination to create a work that defines said genre or else of massive pretensions. Even when it comes to the film, which in any less epic a grasp would just be a 1990s B-budgeted sf/action hybrid or perhaps more so a 1980s planetary adventure like Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983) or Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), Abbess has determined to cast as big a names as he can clearly afford – Kellan Lutz from the Twilight series and Rachel Griffiths and Temuera Morrison in supporting parts. The film itself comes with an ambitious non-linear plot that jumps back and forward between different character viewpoints at different points in time.
Not too surprisingly, Shane Abbess fails to pull off the epic he seems to be wanting to make. The main problem is not so much the ambition but that what he produces is a film stuck down around an assemblage of ordinary elements. The plot boils down to being a fairly standard planetary adventure. The imperatives that drive everybody are cliched ones – the hero on a crusade to rescue his daughter; the countdown to escape before the entire planet is razed; the hero turned rogue and hunted by his own side; the prison breakout caper. For all his borrowings, Shane Abbess fails to make the journey exciting enough. When it comes to the action elements, the film is uninspired – a prison brawl, a couple of scenes shooting off against the mutants, another race to get to the shelter while being shot by Exor fighters. What the film should have done, rather than create elaborate flashbacks and storylines, is have been built as a tight and intensive action piece about a group of people racing across a planet while being pursued on every side. All of that said, the film reaches an ending that is undeniably surprising and different, enough to make you think that maybe a Science Fiction Volume Two might be worthwhile.