Thursday, June 02, 2016

Andron: The Latest Dystopian Death Match

The contestants of this futuristic survival game wake up with amnesia, so maybe they will not remember the similarities their situation bears to The Running Man, The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, Turkey Shoot, The 10th Victim, Death Race 2000 and every other blood sport contest to come down the dystopian pike. We remember though—and the comparisons are not flattering. Nonetheless, Alec Baldwin will serve up some lethal mayhem for the passive proles in Francesco Cinquemani’s Andron (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.

It is time to play the Redemption Games or Andron or the Black Labyrinth or whatever this population-controlling, false hope-instilling contest is called. Just like Highlander, there can be only one, but the contestants do not know it yet. They have woken up in what looks like the abandoned factory from Rob Zombie’s 31, confused yet instinctively wary of each other. However, Anita regains her memories quicker than most. She was once one of the key programmers of the Redemption Game, who uploaded a counter-acting nano-virus into her blood stream. The rest of her colleagues are slaves, who volunteered to play the game in hopes of winning their freedom, as well as the freedom of other slaves who are betting on them. Of course, the stakes are life and death for everyone with skin in the game.

Baldwin is the snotty Big Brother presiding over (and fixing) the game, at the behest of the President, played by a zoned out Danny Glover on auto-pilot. At least Andron gives Baldwin some game show experience before commencing his host duties on the rebooted Match Game. Presumably, people really will win on the network game show relaunch, but it is a different story in the Black Labyrinth. To make matters worse, the first player to die is the most attractive, so just try to explain what Cinquemani was thinking with that one.

Although Baldwin can be a terrific villain (Glengarry Glen Ross, Malice, The Cooler) he totally phones it in just as much as Glover. Skunk Anansie lead singer Deborah Dyer, a.k.a. Skin has some presence as Anita and Korlan Madi’s quick exit is rather disappointing, but the rest of the dozen or so players mostly just wash together.

Even for a grungy dystopian gladiatorial film, Andron is drably disappointing in the visual department. Completely lacking the “wow” factor, it has the look and vibe of made for Syfy movie. Not recommended, Andron opens tomorrow (6/3) in New York at the Cinema Village.