Colonials Poster

Colonials (2023) Review

One should be careful of what they name their company because seeing “A Bland Production” at the start of Colonials wasn’t exactly a good omen. Even if it refers to Joe Bland (Ellipse, Sudden Death) who co-directed Colonials with Andrew Balek (The Fuse) and co-wrote it with Cyrus Cheek and not the film’s content it puts the wrong idea in people’s heads, especially in a genre like low budget sci-fi which has a reputation for underperforming.

Colonials opens with Silas (Greg Kriek, Condor’s Nest, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell) sleeping through his alarm. As a result, Spark (Jon Provost, Lassie, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes)the film’s obligatory cute robot, wakes him up by pissing on him. Who knew robots were into golden showers?

Silas’s father, Tobias (Daniel Roebuck, John Dies at the End, Dead Night), a big shot in the Martian colonial government calls to remind him that not only will the mission he’s about to undertake determine the fate of humanity, but whether or not he and his two companions Jessie (Katy Purnell, An Actor Prepares to Turn 30, Vice Principals) and Allie (Cass Huckabay, Outsiders, College Professor Obsession) become full-fledged Colonials.

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I found it hard to get into the film’s opening minutes as the trio look like models, and are dressed and act like frat/sorority kids on their way to Basket Weaving 101 rather than trained pilots about to undertake an important scouting mission. If everyone on board has the same attitude towards their job that may explain why they fly into an ambush and only Silas and Spark manage to escape. Thankfully this only takes up about fifteen minutes and then the film starts to improve.

Once on Earth, Colonials’ plot follows a reasonably familiar plot, one that I recall from more than one made-for-TV movie and series back in the day. Silas, who has amnesia due to his crash landing, is rescued by the resistance who aren’t sure if they can trust him. On the other hand, the villainous Exiles led by Grom (Mike Ferguson, Breakout, The Devil’s Heist) and Raven (Allie Ayers, No Way Out) know who he is, and who his father is. And they’re determined to capture him at all costs.

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Much of Colonials was shot in front of a green screen and the results are all over the map. Some of the spaceship interiors look impressive while others, such as the scenes with them in the ship’s hanger, are incredibly cartoonish looking. The effects don’t get any better once Silas crashes on Earth. The Terminatoresque wasteland is sporadically convincing but a chase between a drone and a vehicle driven by Zoey (Jamie Bernadette, All Girls Weekend, The 6th Friend) frequently becomes a blurry mess.

Other scenes on the Exile’s space station have a look to them that put me in mind of TRON and TRON: Legacy with their intentionally computerized look. It doesn’t have the same relevance to the plot as it did in those films but it still looks cool after all these years.

I give the filmmakers credit for being ambitious and trying to give the audience the kind of effects they want from a sci-fi adventure film. But it’s obvious that Colonials’ budget wasn’t up to the task of delivering a mini blockbuster. They would have been better off scaling the number of effects down and making the rest better.

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It’s too bad because if you can get past the first few minutes and the variable visuals, Colonials is an entertaining film, with some decent action scenes and a fair amount of nostalgic appeal, especially if you grew up with, or have acquired a fondness for 70s and 80s made for TV science fiction. Or the low-budget attempts at theatrical sci-fi that occasionally popped up before Star Wars revolutionized the genre.

Colonials is available on VOD and Digital Platforms from Epic Pictures, you can check their website for more details. In the UK it will be released to Digital on April 17th. If you’re looking for more films like this, FilmTagger can offer some suggestions.

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1 thought on “Colonials (2023) Review”

  1. bukar muhammad manjeri

    just a waste of my time and data the movies actors are not good at acting and their graphic is very poor

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