An addled morality play in science-fiction mufti, NEW EDEN features peace-loving good guys who learn that the only way to start your own farming community is to cream your opponents. One of the many post-apocalyptic action pictures that crowd video shelves, NEW EDEN features a proficient
cast, some muscular action, and no evidence of any aesthetic vision.
In the year 2237, after the "War of Eight," two men of vastly different natures are bound for a prison colony in outer space. What recidivist felon Kyne (Michael Bowen) and ex-engineering student Addams (Stephen Baldwin) don't know is that Penal Colony Alpha is a vast sandscape where prisoners
are dumped to be slaughtered by Sand Pirates. Out of dozens of inmates, only these two outwit the marauders and survive. Braggart criminal Kyne rides off to prove himself to this evil desert band, while Addams drifts along until he's captured by a nomad warrior, Ares (Tobin Bell), who tries
selling him to the Scavs (scavengers) as a storyteller. Bought instead as a slave by kind-hearted Lily (Lisa Bonet) and her foundling son Luke (Adam Verduzco), Addams persuades Lily that her tribe's life could be markedly improved by irrigation and agriculture. Meanwhile, volatile Kyne has killed
his way into the good graces of the Pirates and ascended to power by eliminating the consort of Queen Ashtarte (Janet Hubert-Whitten), who has now taken a shine to him.
Disaster strikes Addam's Utopia when Kyne's troops storm in and coerce the Scavs into agreeing to grow their crops for them. Destroying equipment to demonstrate they mean business, the Pirates vow to return for their harvest. Although his fellow farmers vilify him for cowardice, the pacifist
Addams actually journeys to Ares's lair to train as a warrior. When he returns, Addams has a difficult time drumming up support. Luke is nabbed by the desert buccaneers when he tries to spy on them, and Kyne demands that Lily fight Ashtarte for the boy. The Queen is gunned down by Addams after she
refuses to accept a fair defeat at Lily's hands. Addams challenges Kyne to a winner-take-all combat. During the bout, Lily gets shot for interference, the Scavs fight back, and Addams eventually blasts his moral opposite Kyne into oblivion.
Though the action sequences and efforts of a hard-working cast should satisfy hardcore genre buffs, NEW EDEN is unlikely to appeal to less specialized moviegoing tastes. The agricultural interludes are dull, and the parallel storylines that follow brutal criminal Kyne rising to power and
upright, intellectual Addams reclaiming the future are clumsily intercut. The taking-back-our-streets message is overly familiar, and the sequences dealing with Addams' crash course in self-defense are shamelessly lifted from THE KARATE KID. In the end, the moral seems to be that pacifist Addams
is a jerk until he loses his scruples and fights dirty, just like the loathsome Kyne. That NEW EDEN holds one's attention at all is a testament to the dynamic staging of the attack scenes, Baldwin's boyish charisma, and some tough supporting performances, notably Bowen as Addams' moral antithesis,
Bell as the seen-it-all warrior, and Hubert-Whitten as a Tina Turner/MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME clone. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, extensive nudity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: An addled morality play in science-fiction mufti, NEW EDEN features peace-loving good guys who learn that the only way to start your own farming community is to cream your opponents. One of the many post-apocalyptic action pictures that crowd video shelves… (more)