2 out of 5
Directed by: Joey Curtis
I think, like me, you will assume this to be a bad movie. It’s got a DTV-esque title, no real star power, clear budget limitations, and a gritty, gritty voiceover narrative from lead Bishop (Paul Sidhu), who likes to talk about Hell freezing over and whatnot, spitting grit from ‘tween his grit teeth. It’s setting of a wasteland, winter-torn Earth on which we now live underground, spoiled by the servant class we created – white-skinned ‘Humanoids’ – will come across as a knock-off of any given blend of Mad Max / Blade Runner traits. All of this is fairly accurate. And while writer/director undeniably is pushing things at a 100 minute runtime, 2037 isn’t exactly a bad movie, avoiding some predictable pitfalls and offering up a small handful of tolerably okey-dokey characters.
Bishop is a washed-up solider who’s unwashed-up by cigar-chomping General Trajan (Brad Potts) and told to go fetch some rogue Humanoids who’re leading a rebellion somewheres on the cold surface, in ‘The Dead Zone.’ He’s saddled with a crew of ready-to-kill marines, and they start their journey, with Bishop constantly haunted by dreams of his wife, killed by a Humanoid…
…And me recounting further details won’t dispel thoughts of this being a bad movie. It’s absolutely constructed from known bits and pieces of generic action and sci-fi flicks; its inevitable twists and turns are, well, inevitable.
But: despite Bishop’s eye-rolling inner monologues, he’s otherwise not written in the usual best-of-the-best format of the fallen hero; he’s something of a regular guy, and a regular leader. The problematic teammate (because there always is one) reads Mein Kampf, seemingly unaware of the legacy of its author, and applying it to anti-Humanoid propaganda. The other members, knocked off relatively quickly, nonetheless get brief moments to sound like actual characters. We don’t waste time on inter-squad scuffles; they mostly accept Bishop as being in charge, and the film mostly takes a similar approach to staying on task, avoiding easy outs for low budget – sticking to corridors, sticking to one location – and keeps us moving. (Excepting annoyingly repetitious dream sequences, primarily used to hit that 90 minute mark…) When we finally get to confront our Humanoids, there’s an expected bit of plot that’s seemingly been telegraphed that… doesn’t happen, nor is it left dangling. Again, we still get a predictable resolution, but I appreciated that they didn’t go all in on cliche. And maybe one of the most important things for a DTV joint: Curtis didn’t write up anything that he couldn’t achieve with lens filters and some green screen. There are no gregarious CG shots that stick out, and he livens up the light fight choreography with some good, well-handled gore. Know your limitations and work with them.
I’m not screaming 2037 FOR LIFE from the roof anytime soon, but this is exactly the kind of Afternoon flick you might’ve caught on USA or HBO back in the day and shrugged off as an acceptable use of time.