This murkily photographed hybrid, a combination sci-fi yarn, prison flick and sea saga, steals from several genre classics without managing one distinctive moment of its own. The time: The 22nd century. Inactive sea dog Sean Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell) welcomes the chance to pilot a dilapidated ship called the Clarion cargo through the hurricane belt to Nigeria, unaware that devious Proxate Inc. executive Martine Quiller (Gwynyth Walsh) has very special reasons for hiring a washed-up captain for the job: The Clarion is actually a prison ship. Martine's on-board representative is boy-toy Tarkis (Michael Pare), the floating prison's warden. As the leaky tub sets sail, Murdoch must contend with convicts itching to escape and an outmoded navigation system hooked up to a "fetal neural" linkage (basically, a baby-in-a-bottle database)! Before long, the prisoners have begun committing acts of sabotage and it dawns on Murdoch that Proxate never intended the Clarion to reach its destination: Proxate flunkies have hidden embarrassing barrels of toxic waste aboard, counting on the prisoners to break out and insure that the ship winds up safely at the bottom of the deep blue sea. Tarkis eventually comes around to Murdoch's way of thinking, as the Nigerian government refuses Clarion entry even as the ship is taking on water at an alarming rate. To top things off, Proxate has stashed a cybernetic killing machine (Daniela Nolano) in a crate in the hold. Once activated, the cyborg-assassin follows its programming to terminate the crew. Can Murdoch undermine Proxate's perfidy, given the arsenal of high-tech weapons the corporation has arrayed to scuttle the Clarion? Although the gloomy lighting produces sporadic jitters, the film's thrills are compromised by sluggish pacing and long stretches of technobabble-heavy dialogue.
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: NR
- Review: This murkily photographed hybrid, a combination sci-fi yarn, prison flick and sea saga, steals from several genre classics without managing one distinctive moment of its own. The time: The 22nd century. Inactive sea dog Sean Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell) welc… (more)