The Colony – 2013

Director Jeff Renfroe
Screenplay Jeff Renfroe, Svet Rouskov, Patrick Tarr, Pascal Trottier
Starring Kevin Zegers, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan, Dru Viergever, Atticus Mitchell, John Tench, Lisa Berry, Julian Richings, Laurence Fishburne

The Colony is a movie I bought once I saw Bill Paxton yelling and firing a gun at bad guys within the trailer. It didn’t hurt that Laurence Fishburne shows up, and some guy (Zegers) who looks like Zac Efron. Suffice to say the film meets my expectations, which weren’t high at all.

The story starts in 2045 when the machines humans made to combat climate change have broken down and the world is now an ice cube, divided into tiny colonies comprised of underground bunkers. The big scare in this environment is disease, to the point where if one gets the sniffles they are quarantined. If they don’t recover they get two horrible choices.

Paxton is Mason, the head of security for Colony 7, and he’s ramping up the paranoia. Meanwhile, Zegers’ Sam is part of a team along with earstwhile leader Briggs (Fishburne) and another kid heading to Colony 5, from which they just recieved a distress signal. While there they discover two things: a message from a thawed out zone needing seeds to plant with and a pack of cannibals that wiped out most of the colony.

The rest of the film is a tension between the troubles of Colony 7, represented by Mason, the possibilities of the thawed out zone and the effort to escape the cannibals. Unfortunately the film is more dedicated to the chase than the other stories. If there was any flexibility to the storytelling it might be interesting than a curiousity.

Paxton is in grouch mode here. He lacks all capacity for reason until reason does him no advantage. Unwisely, the moment he becomes interesing is the moment his character disappears from the screen. If the filmmakers only knew what they had there. Maybe they should have watched Traveller, Frailty or even One False Move.

What’s more, they almost completely waste Fishburne. One can only hope he was there to enjoy a nice vacation nearby.

Zegers is a bland leading man for a bland film, but he is not helped out at all by the director, his co-stars or the screenplay. It’s hard to believe it took four writers to compose a story that has so little going for it, character wise or story wise. If you need a fix of Paxton and Fishburne on cruise control, you could do worse. Just not much worse.

(** out of *****)

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