This 1994 Full Moon Production directed by Sam Irvin and co-written by Charles Band, on the surface at least, looks like a lot of fun. There's potential with the concept of setting a western in a sci-fi setting - after all, that's basically what Firefly was and isn't Han Solo really just a cowboy when you think about it? Eighties cartoon junkies will fondly remember BraveStarr. Sadly, despite an interesting cast and a lot of potential, Oblivion (also known as Welcome To Oblivion, isn't interesting, funny or exciting - it's just bad.
The film is set in the future of 3031 on a distant planet with a sparse population. It follows a space cowboy guy named Zach Stone (Richard Joseph Paul) who has to return to his Podunk town of Oblivion because his father, Marshal Stone (Michael Genovese) has been shot dead in a shoot out with a bad guy named Red Eye (Andrew Divoff). See, Red Eye is a lizard like alien and he and his cronies intend to turn the town into their own personal breeding ground. They go about terrorizing the various inhabitants, including the fine female employees of a brothel run by Miss Kitty (Julie Newmar) and generally make a nuisance of themselves.
Zach and his pal, Buteu (Jimmy Skaggs) are lead to the town by an undertaker (Carrel Struycken) just in time for the funeral and, after doing what they need to do, wind up teaming up with Deputy Stell Barr (Meg Foster), a cyborg, and a friend of the late Marshal's named Doc Valentine (George Takai), a raging drunk. Together they aim to run Red Eye and his men out of town for good.
How much you get out of a movie like Oblivion is really going to depend on your tolerance for Star Trek jokes and novelty casting, because God knows the acting and storyline aren't going to save it and the fact that it's more or less a kid friendly movie means that we're not going to get the typical Full Moon violence, gore or nudity to help cover up the movie's many shortcomings either. Takai's entire purpose in the movie, the whole reason he's in the film in the first place, only seems to be so that he can ramble off more bad puns related to his past life as Mr. Sulu than you'll care to count, with most of the other dialogue coming off as forced and corny, ham-fisted to the extreme.
In terms of the performances, only Meg Foster and Andrew Divoff have got much to talk about. Divoff, best known for his roles in the Wishmaster films, has got an instantly recognizable voice and while he's buried under some V style lizard man make up, those familiar with his work will know right away when it's him as soon as he speaks. He's not bad in the role, and you can see why the filmmakers cast him here. Foster, she with those icy blue eyes that seem to have launched an odd B-movie career, plays a cyborg well as she's always had a certain coldness to her that makes her suitable for parts like this. As far as the rest of the cast? Well, Carrel Struycken is kind of cool as the undertaker character but isn't given enough screen time to make much of a difference while Richard Joseph Paul is just plain goofy in the lead, not really leading man material if this performance is anything to go by.
Wrap all of this up in a script that contains pretty much every cliché in the book (and sure, that's on purpose and it's supposed to be that way, but that doesn't mean it works) and throw in an odd cameo from Isaac Hayes and a lot of bad, low budget effects and costumes and you can start to get a feel for why Oblivion ranks pretty low. This could and should have been a fun B-movie as the cast had the potential to save things despite the shoddiness of the script, but it never takes off, it never succeeds in making us laugh so much as it does in making us groan, and not in a good way, more in the 'make it stop' sort of way.
The 1.33.1 fullframe transfer is identical to the previous DVD release from Full Moon, it's not been improved at all and looks like it was taken from an old tape source. The picture is interlaced and in spots very soft looking. Colors come out looking alright and there are no compression artifacts but this is a dated and unimpressive transfer.
The only audio option is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track, no alternate language or subtitles are supplied. While range is obviously limited by the source, the track sounds clean enough. Dialogue is always audible and the levels are properly balanced.
Extras? Surprisingly there are none, only a static menu with a 'play' option.
Oblivion isn't a very good movie and surprisingly this release from Shout! Factory isn't a very good DVD. It's barebones, the video quality is soft and it is quite easily one that you can safely live without. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.