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Solar Attack

Lionsgate Home Entertainment // PG // December 5, 2006
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted February 1, 2007 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

Is there a component of weather that has NOT yet received its very own (and inevitably cheesy) movie? Twisters, tsunamis, ice ages, tidal waves, meteorites and asteroids... Hell, just a few weeks ago I saw the generic old sub-genre dusted off for a movie about forest fires ... so I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised when faced with something called Solar Attack. I guess Sun Spots wouldn't be intimidating enough.

Stop me when this sounds familiar: A "maverick scientist" (Mark Dacascos) is given permission from the president (Lou Gossett Jr.) to dig deep into what's causing all this durn heat these days. Turns out it was some sort of solar explosion that's leaking white-hot intensity all over our beloved ozone layer, or some such pseudo-scientific hooey like that. It's all about as fascinating as a half-stale PB&J sandwich.

Aside from a few poorly-lensed scenes in which space stations, satellites or airplanes get zapped by solar evil, there's really not much of a risk factor here. Even putting aside the fact that the science used here is specious and silly, the first hour of Solar Attack consists of people staring at computer monitors, talking about solar this and ozone that, or bickering at each other in board rooms or hallways. By the time the flick gets down to some actual mayhem, you'll be too busy chuckling at the FX to take much notice.

The acting is as wooden as the screenplay is cheesy. All the dialogue has a simpering "aw shucks" quality to it, which makes the end of every scene feel a little like a sitcom act-break. Dacascos (to call him a poor man's The Rock would be a compliment) delivers all of his lines in an earnest and robotic cadence; even playing the president, Lou Gossett looks embarrassed to be appearing in this type of cable network filler. Basically, stuff like Solar Attack is the bottom of the Disaster Flick barrel; all the good disasters have been done already, and the new ones just aren't as interesting.

Or maybe they are; it's the filmmakers who aren't trying as hard.

The DVD

Audio/Video: Lionsgate delivers the vanilla-flavored flick in a fairly solid anamorphic widescreen transfer, with audio delivered in your choice of 5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo. Either is fine; the flick is 94% chit-chat. Optional subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

Extras: Just a bunch of trailers.

Final Thoughts

There's only so much large-scale mayhem you can deliver on a budget the size of three sitcom episodes, but there's no excuse for an allegedly "thrilling" disaster movie to be so swollen with aimless banter, uninteresting characters, and lackluster special effects.

Plus the action bits are pretty darn woeful.

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