At the edge of space, patriotism and terrorism are about to cross the line.
Quick Blast Review:
The Scorpio One is an orbiting research station and it's just been sabotaged, leaving all the occupants dead. NASA has no idea what has happened so sends up a new team lead by Commander Wilson (Steve Kanaly), Carter (Robert Carradine), Pilot Hutton (Michael Monks, Hijack) and Shannon Brey (Robin Curtis, Saavik from Star Trek III and IV), with the assistance of a squad of marines captained by Jared Stone (Jeff Speakman) and Till (Brent Huff). After docking the shuttle with the doomed Scorpio One, the rescue team board and are immediately attacked, leaving one member dead. An attempt is then made on Stone's life but he manages to escape and inform Commander Wilson that one of their own team is responsible and trying to steal the scientific research from Scorpio One. That's when Till and his allies take over the shuttle by force, demanding the research computer discs or hostages will start dying and ships start exploding!
You can rely on Royal Oaks to deliver a decent 90 minute time-waster as much as you can bet on Nu Image and PM Entertainment. In that regard, this was pretty decent, even a bit more cerebral (only a bit, mind you) then I was expecting. It's not often these made-for-TV actioners involve political intrigue and espionage, but this one did. We also got two separate sources of action that tied up both ends of the story, which itself is also unusual, but appreciated. Whilst the by-the-numbers Die Hard on an Orbiting Space Station goes on (ala Fallout), down on Earth a deadly plot implicating a Senator in the Scorpio One sabotage is discovered by CIA Director Wilfred Parlow (George Murdock, adding some class to the picture), who sends a small team of two to break into a security facility to gather evidence, and random Agents being knocked off with a roll-on deodorant that makes your heart explode.
The special effects in the film are rubbish (probably the worst shuttle model I've ever seen, and why are these people firing lasers in 1998?) and the science offensive - in one sentence Brey says that the space station's artificial gravity is functioning perfectly, but that there is a gaping hole in the ship that has sucked out all its atmosphere - but it moves at a fast pace and is enjoyable enough. Huff doesn't do much for 45 minutes except drink coffee, but once he shows his true intentions (beginning with ejecting one of the astronauts into the airlock and depressurising it, blowing him into chunks) he appears solidly for about twenty minutes being a bad guy. Speakman only gets two quick hand-to-hand fights but he gets to remind the audience that he is good at this Kenpo thing and can swing a roundhouse-kick or two - one of them pointed at Huff's head.
Special mention has to go to the pointless but highly entertaining ten minutes at the beginning that sees Speakman rescuing a soldier in Iraq from captors in a bloody melee, then being choppered away while yelling "Nooooo!" to his man left behind. And I've not mentioned Carradine much in this review because, well, despite his top billing he really doesn't do anything.
The Final Fifteen:
Hutton (who turned bad) has run off with the space shuttle after Stone kicked Till into the airlock and into outer space. With Scorpio One rigged to blow, the only option is the single escape pod. Back on Earth, Speakman has found out that Director Parlow is just as corrupt as the Senator and gives him the option of a trial or driving his car off the top of the building - he chooses the latter.
I found this on VHS at a charity shop for 20c. You can get a DVD as well in most territories.