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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Slipstream
Slipstream
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // November 8, 2005
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted December 30, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

It sounds like a movie you'd just make up to be silly:

"Uh, let's say Sean Astin stars as a brilliant physicist who invents a cell-phone that, when activated, can throw you backwards in time ... but only ten minutes backwards! And since we need a bad guy, let's use, oh I dunno, Vinnie Jones as a vicious bank robber who gets tangled up in the temporally-challenged goofball's shenanigans."

And yet, that's precisely the movie that Slipstream is. (Don't mistake it for the Mark Hamill / Bill Paxton sci-fi dorkathon from 1989.)

First-time filmmaker David van Eyssen (his only other credit is as "creative consultant" on those mega-flashy BMW mini-flicks) clearly has style points to spare, what with the non-stop slo-mo camera trickery and his perpetually spin-happy dolly spins, but they can't deliver enough slickness to hide Slipstream's half-baked concept and frequently horrific dialogue.

As the mild-mannered scientist noodnik with a cell-phone/time machine, Sean Astin is just plain old out of his element. With his stellar work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mr. Astin has more than proven himself a solid actor, but his presence and presentation are constantly at odds with Slipstream's ever-changing tones. Is it a tongue-in-cheek caper flick? Is it a brainy sci-fi flick with lots of pointless explosions? Is it the germ of a really cool Twilight Zone concept stretched out over 80-some meandering minutes?

All of the above, unfortunately, which means that this curious little chestnut, which debuted on the Sci Fi Channel, has just enough meat on its bones to attract the devoted genre fans, but not nearly enough nourishment to keep those movie-watchers particularly excited or enthused. It's not an awful high-concept experiment, but Slipstream feels like a movie that was conceived, green-lit, shot, and released on one half-clever sci-fi concept, a gimmick that wears thin by minute 30 and is then replaced by stupid slo-mo effects, tons of techno-babble, and (of course) lots of pointless explosions.

Still, Vinnie Jones is always a hoot and a half to watch, and the guy is clearly having a pretty good time chewing through the Slipstream scenery.

The DVD

Video: It's a fairly fresh anamorphic widescreen transfer, although the picture quality is a little soft for such a highly-stylized little production. Plus there are some rather annoying pieces of source-muck, which prove to be even more distracting than the director's eterno-whirly visual style.

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0, with optional subtitles in English and Spanish.

Extras: Just a bunch of trailers for War of the Planets, EarthSea, The Dead Zone S3, and Lord of War.

Final Thoughts

If you're a big fans of Sean Astin, Vinnie Jones, or clear plastic cell-phones that send you ten minutes back in time, feel free to consider Slipstream a lazy Sunday rental. It's not particularly brilliant in any way, but neither is it boring ... and it's a whole helluva lot better than most of the movies bearing the "Sci-Fi Network" banner.

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