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Assault on Dome 4 (movie review)

When I’ve started Rubber Axe, I’d decided to write positive reviews only. I don’t want to put people’s efforts down just because I don’t like something. So I would rather not review some stuff than to write bad stuff about it.

But that personal rule of mine basically applies for underground musick, stuff you can find posted by artists or labels responsible on Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Youtube, Bandcamp and the like. Why? Because it’s either free or cheap enough to get and even if one doesn’t like what they’ve got, it’s not so much a damage, and it’s not really fair to put those artists and small labels down just for trying.

But if you have to cough up a lot of moolah for Cds/DVDs/vinyls, books, comics, what have you, it becomes quite a different game. So, well, yeah, if you expect me to hand over my money, you better do a good job with your stuff.

And why am I writing all of this? Well, I haven’t watched (and therefore haven’t written any review of) any Die Hard rip off for a long time now and I think it’s it’s almost criminal, lol. And because the writing bug is here again, let’s celebrate in style with a not so great Die Hard rip off called – yes, it’s in the title – Assault on Dome 4.

Now, I’ll tell you this is a TV movie from 1996 from The SciFi Channel and I guess that should tell you everyting you need to know about it to lower your expectations and excitement. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of “so bad it’s good” movie category.

Plus, as I’ve said above, it’s a Die Hard rip off, and quite true to the original one, only boring as hell. But let’s start from the very beginning.

Our hero, Chase Moran (Joseph Culp)

Peacekeeper (which is some kind of a UN police officer of the future) Chase Moran (played by wooden-as-a-broomstick Joseph Culp) is on a surprise visit to his wife Lily (played by beautiful Jocelyn Seagrave), a scientist stationed at Dome 4, when the said colony is attacked by our main villain Alex Windham (cult movie actor Bruce Campbell) and his crew of felons liberated by Windham after his successful escape from his captivity.

His plan? To get his hands on the raw materials to make a bomb with which he can threats the Earth to give him some planet to rule. Excuse me, I’ve forgotten the name of it, I was never good in astronomy. But it doesn’t even matter.

Anyway, as you might expect, our wooden hero has to rescue his wife and the Dome 4. And all of this we are told in a flashbacks of Chase Moran before the court martial.

And unlike my habit, I will tell you that – and that’s expected as well – our hero succeeds and I salute him to put me out of my misery of watching this flick.

Directed by Gilbert Po. Considering is IMDB directorial credits (which contain two directorial cuts for this one and Dou for fan ching), it’s not surprising that he probably chose a little different career after this (and afther directing “Assault on Dome 4” in 1996 his next – and so far the last – movie credit is from 2009). So, from the top down, not really impressive start.

One would say you don’t need anyone to write you a script when you carbon copy another movie, but we have a scriptwriter here, folks, by the name of Hesh Rephun. And the credentials? Well, practically in the same league as the director Po, 3 scripts total, last one from 1999.

Let’s talk about the cast a bit. As I’ve already mentioned, our main hero, or Bruce Willis wannabe, is Joseph Culp. And yes, his performance is wooden. I suspect for many actors jobs like this one is just a paycheck to collect and forget-about-it stuff, but still. Partially it might be caused by the director and the way script was written, but I guess even in such a case you can put at least some self-parody of the genre. But nope, Culp is deadly serious in his role and – sorry to say – he fails flat. Totally.

Before watching the movie I’ve thought Bruce Campbell would be the hero, as the DVD capitalizes on him, placing him on the cover… but a hero he is, sort of. Good thing is, he has some nice one-liners, bad thing – not enough of them. And, of course, the script sucks donkey’s ass, so most of the movie I was like “what the hell am I watching” anyway. As much as I like Bruce, even he can’t save this turkey.

Main villain Alex Windham (Bruce Campbell) is not being nice to Lily Moran (Jocelyn Seagrave). Despite R rating, no nudity, no sex.

Chase Moran’s wife Lilly is played, as I have mentioned previously, by beautiful Jocelyn Seagrave, who mostly acts in TV series, and she is probably one of the actors here who do their job as expected.

Cool as hell James Lew in the role of Alex Windham’s right hand, Quaid.

And I need to mention one more actor here, who actually stays in my mind as memorable, and that’s James Lew in the role of Bruce Campbell’s Alex Windham’s henchman Quaid, and with his filmography you can bet he can act. But I guess his acting talents haven’t been used here neither.

So, to sum this movie up – unoriginal script, boring camerawork, wooden acting main hero, actors who doesn’t give a damn and Bruce Campbell trying to save the day. Some turds just can’t be polished.

Yes, if you are into Die Hard rip off movies, see this one just to tick it off. Otherwise, don’t bother. Really.

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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