Review – Convict 762

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Review – Convict 762
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Convict 762
Action, Science Fiction, Thriller
Rating: NR
Prod. Company: EGM Films International
Publisher: Mirimax
1997
Release length: 1:35:10

Convict 762 wasn’t the first film to be written by J. Reifel, though according to imdb.com, it was the last of only four films this person wrote to be filmed. The other three happen to include Timelock, The Apocalypse, and Dark Planet. It also isn’t the first to include an all female lead cast set in a desolate futuristic environment. Luca Bercovici, better known for his work in Dark Tide and Ghoulies among various television and movie cast appearances, handles the directing duties on this work of female heroism tale for EGN Films International that later would be sold to Miramax. Unfortunately, his touch wasn’t enough to help keep it afloat, as it was torn to pieces by critics, fans of the genre, and the general movie going population. Since it’s release, it easily slipped through the cracks and was forgotten about by many. However, thanks to Echo Bridge Home Entertainment picking this up as part of a four movie Action DVD set (eight movie two-disk edition in some areas), you can now see this piece of work for an economic price, if not free through digital streaming websites. But, is this ninety five minutes of survival actually worth sitting through?

The story is centered around the stereotypical butch all-female crew of a ship you can possibly imagine, up to and including full-blown man haters that curse them with their very dying wish out on a mission in the deepest reaches of space. Reno (Tawny Fere) submits an incomplete flight path reading, which sets the whole fiasco into motion. As the ship nearly crashes, they are forced to jetison roughly eighty percent of their fuel supply, causing them to make a stop at the nearest destination, which is a penal colony. Unfortunately, it has been abandoned due to a riot that killed most of the staff and one hundred inmates. One of the inmates, the man responsible known as “Convict 762,” has killed off what inmates and crew were left except for one, a man named Vigo (Frank Zagarino) who warns them about the convict and what he’s done to everyone else. From here, it takes the typical slasher pattern in a far more remote location, but throwing a red herring of one killer, but two men that could possibly be it. Unfortunately, this is about where the upside of the story goes.

The rest of the story just isn’t anything special. The female crew slowly starts dying off, and every once in a while they bump into Vigo, as well as another man on the base named Mannix (Billy Drago), each claiming the other is convict 762. The story itself moves along at a decent pace, and each character does wind up meeting the ladies in a believable scenario, such as when they happen to land snd find two people (Vigo and Mannix) fighting on the suface. It seems comically slow at first, but as you reach the climax, you learn they are wearing iron suits or something similar in heaviness, which is why the speed seems like an unrehearsed fight scene that ends up being the longest, most enjoyable physical confrontation of the film. You don’t even get decent death scenes, as most of the time a cut away shot to another scene is used, or it occurs going in and out between the murder and the rest of the crew going about their orders.

One thing that does work out in the end are some of the shots of footage from during the riot that is uncovered, or just randomly played over the movie itself. It helps to fill in some of the gaps about what took place there, though much of the set doesn’t look like a huge riot even took place aside some damaged rooms with televisions that are knocked over, and the more impressive bodies impaled on hooks that hang down from the ceiling. However, there is footage of Mannix talking about convict 762 spliced into it all, and before he can reveal who it is, it cuts out. These scenes actually foreshadow the events at the end, and if you pay attention you won’t be fooled. Then again, it’s pretty obvious in more ways than the story who the killer is.

As mentioned, the death scenes could have been a lot better. None of the actoresses will make you believe their character was shot, stabbed, or had their throats slit. Even Billy Drago’s brush with death isn’t too believable, and his charred body paint looks horrible. It was like watching a group of people breathe quickly with the lamest disbelief faces imaginable, or just saying things really loud as they die with a look of constipation. It gets to the point where you want them to die quickly so the poor killer point of view camera work will go away quicker and allow the rather bland story to continue. Other than that, the production itself is actually pretty good, and the computer graphics are, for the most part, very nice. Even the CG stands up well both for its time, as well as by today’s standards for a lower budgeted production. They look as though a good amount of care had gone into them, such as when the crew launches a probe to test the shields that may be up, and the end result. They are also not abused in any way, relying more on practical effects. The main problem is that the set itself could have used as much care. Many of the same sets are revisited over and over, or just reused as other rooms shot from a different angle, especially the hallways with the glowing angular door frame that comes in blue, green, red, and unlit.

There are a few hiccups in the editing, however, and many can just be attributed to poor dubbing such as a clean shout from Vigo when they lock him up the first time he meets the crew. As he talks to them, his voice is distorted and deeper, coming through the camera, but one random shout as he approaches it quicker is a lot cleaner, and without that effect. There’s also Sheridan screaming as she cries over Lincoln’s corpse at Nile with the audio not quite lining up with the mouth. When Austin is locked in the air lock’s decontamination room, it hits again as she shouts “No! Just go!” to Nile, but another issue is Nile isn’t supposed to hear her, but after a while it seems they forget that and she acts like she can hear what Austin is shouting. There’s also some rather generic sound effects to the weapons that are lower in volume, or just muffled. Aside these audio issues, there the visual gripes of flashbacks nobody could have seen to go back to. The perfect example is when Vigo joins the crew to turn off the shields. Nile sees a few things that she did see but at a different camera angle, as well as things she wasn’t there to see. Sheridan also has a freakout with visions of Lincoln from when she was being murdered earlier, as well as the footage that cuts in once in a while of a man’s head screaming and shaking that you first see during the opening credits. She saw none of this in the progression of the film. And, as a side note, there is nudity, but it appears to only be Frank Zagarino’s bare ass slightly covered by a blanket during a love scene between Vigo and Nile. Both are nude, but the blanket and camera angles cover everything else aside some cleavage comparable to what you’d see on a woman just walking down the street.

Going into Convict 762 with low expectations is definitely helpful, but overall it really isn’t that bad a film. The only person believable in this film is Billy Drago, as the female cast fits the offensively stereotypical “butch, man hating lesbian working gal” in varying degrees up to and including cursing men with their dying breath, and the only other male lead pumps so much male meathead testosterone into the film you can taste in the back of your mouth, and it’s quite a foul sensation to the taste buds. Other than that, the sets become repetitive, the story just isn’t that great, and there’s only one real thing you need to pay attention to in order to get a thirty minute head start on figuring out who the killer before everyone else. But, in the end, it wasn’t that bad a film despite those issues. If you happen upon it dirt cheap, maybe for one or two dollars, or bundled together in a set, it’d be worth shelling out money to watch if you have nothing better to do one night as a cheap popcorn film you can turn your brain off with and just coast along through the muddy waters of low-grade entertainment with a decent enough production and direction job behind it.


Initial Pressing Score: 4.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.