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Shockwave

Directed by Jay Andrews

Written by Jay Andrews, Bill Monroe

Starring Joe Lando, Josh Coxx, Michael Dorn, Bill Mumy

Produced by Paul Hertzberg

Rated R

94 minutes

**

Another Sci-Fi Channel Original Picture comes at our video store shelves via “Shockwave,” the story of automated defensive droids gone horribly wrong on a deserted island. A pack of Navy SEALS is dispatched to shut off the robots, and you almost certainly saw it coming long before you put the DVD in the case that it wasn’t going to be easy to do just that.

Never mind that “Shockwave” is heavier on the Star Trek alumni than James Doohan’s funeral procession, containing Worf, Sulu, and the Emergency Medical Hologram from “Voyager.” Never mind that these super-destructive robots both look and behave, almost verbatim, like the tripods from “War of the Worlds” right down to the heat rays they mount on their fronts. Never mind that the concept of Original Picture in the title Sci-Fi Channel Original Picture means less and less by the movie. Never mind that the effects in “Shockwave” are so monstrously cheesy that they have to resort to lousy CG to take off a human’s head, and that somehow, all firearms seem to contain limitless supplies of ammo because I never so much as saw anybody changing a clip on camera.

You know what? I changed my mind. Mind it. Mind ALL of it. This kind of godawful filmmaking is ruining the video stores.

I’ve got a whole laundry list of objections to this ninety-minute misery, but I have to be fair. If you’re okay with a pretty derivative sci-fi action movie then you’re going to be all right with “Shockwave.” That’s what it is, basically…from the seen-it-before supervillains to the valiant and woefully outgunning United States Military team sent to stop them, everything about this cookie-cutter actioner is so familiar that you’ve practically seen it already.

I will say this for “Shockwave,” though…I like that the machines are learning machines. It’s a new and somewhat unexpected wrinkle that the machines are out to get off the island, even as the SEALs try to get off the island themselves, and leave the machines behind.

The ending features at least one interesting surprise, and one pretty derivative twist, so it all averages out to blah in the end.

The special features include audio options, Spanish and English subtitles, and trailers for “See No Evil,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” and “Komodo Vs. Cobra.”

All in all, “Shockwave” is barely a ripple, a low-grade and highly derivative yawnfest that’ll make you wonder why you even bothered. Though there’s little specifically wrong with it, there’s also very little specifically right with it, and this kind of cookie-cutter, formulaic drivel just is not worth your time.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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