New Eden (1994)


USA. 1994.


Director – Alan Metzger, Screenplay – Dan Gordon, Producer – Harvey Frand, Photography – Geoffrey Erb, Music – Blake Leyh, Visual Effects – Fantasy II, Special Effects Supervisor – Randy Tarum, Production Design – Philip Foreman. Production Company – MTE Inc


Stephen Baldwin (Adams), Lisa Bonet (Lily), Tobin Bell (Ares), Michael Bowen (Kyne), Janet Hubert-Whitten (Ashtarte), M.C. Gainey (Thor), Abraham Verduzco (Luke)


A group of prisoners are dumped on Penal Zone 11, a desert planet where Earth’s criminals are sent to rot. There they are immediately attacked by the brutal Sand Pirates. There are only two survivors of the attack, Adams and Kyne. They part ways – Kyne wanting to take over the Sand Pirates, while the idealistic Adams wants to carve a better world. Captured and sold to the nomadic Scavengers, Adams realises that the desert is fertile and sets about building a farm. When the Sand Pirates terrorise the community with Kyne as their new leader, Adams realises he will have to learn how to stand up and fight.

New Eden feels like it has been designed with the intent of trying to combine as many science-fiction/action movie genres as possible. It is a Mad Max 2 (1981) knockoff – the small desert community living amid the rubble of society besieged by wasteland crazies and defended by a single hero; it falls into the burgeoning genre of the sf/prison film begun with Escape from New York (1981) and copied by the likes of the likes of Spacerage: Breakout on Prison Planet (1985), Moon 44 (1990), Wedlock/Deadlock (1991), Fortress (1993) and No Escape/Escape from Absolom (1994); and lastly it is a martial arts film and goes through the martial arts genre’s cliches of the young novice being trained by the harsh and autocratic master.

Despite its apparently derivative hodgepodge, New Eden proves surprisingly watchable. There is no real depth to it – despite his Utopian protestations of a life of non-violence, Stephen Baldwin’s hero learns that he has to fight at the end (a lesson that comes without anything in the way of conscious irony) – but New Eden passes the time likeably. It is rather amusing seeing Tobin Bell, later the sadistic mastermind of the Saw series, as martial arts guru.

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