by Bret W.
A rudimentary sci-fi war flick at best, Wing Commander is still at least mildly entertaining for the duration. The fully-competent cast helps to make this flat storyline come to life with personality. In short, where the plot fails, the performance wins and propels this lackluster film out of the realm of the mediocre.
It is the 27th century, and the Human race is at war with the Kilrathi, an alien race bent towards universal domination. The Kilrathi steal the Federation’s most valuable posession, an artificial intelligence module that can calculate precise angles of trajectory into jump zones, which are gravitational anomalies akin to wormholes that can instantaneously propel spacecraft from one end of the galaxy to another. With the AI module, the Kilrathi can get to Earth in no time, and their fleet is moving to do just that.
Only one Federation ship is available and stands between the Kilrathi and the jump zone, and they must move into place to stall the Kilrathi until the federation fleet can find where the jump zone is targeted. The fate of the Human race is left in the hands of a half-breed renegade, a maniac pilot, a civilian scout, and a jaded wing commander. They must learn to overcome their differences and come together to defeat the Kilrathi fleet.
The story is lost at times in the incidentals, such as the love affair between “Maniac” and Rosie, and the tragic end to the affair. Everybody seems to be going through the motions and the film constantly stops to focus on some one-on-one confrontation between crewmembers. It’s just plain lame.
What saves this film is the acting and the effects. The effects are certainly much better than another film that Saffron Burrows appears in (Deep Blue Sea), and are much more realistic and believeable. The dogfight scenes are pretty exciting and tense, and there are other scenes where the suspense is thick and keeps the audience riveted. But again, the story is not great, and the ending is just way too contrite and sudden, almost as if they ran out of ideas and decided to end the film right then and there. Plus, unfortunately for us, it left the door wide open for a sequel. How much do you want to bet…?
Regardless, fans of sci-fi may get a big kick out of this, but its a flash in the pan. There are much better films than Wing Commander to be sure, and they are not too hard to find.