Old 06-14-2003, 05:19 PM
Video Capsule: "Def-Con 4" 4/10

"Def-Con 4" 1985


Directed by: Paul Donovan and Tony Randel ("Hellraiser II")

Written by: Paul Donovan ("Tomcat: Dangerous Desires")

Starring: Tim Choate ("Ghost Story") Maury Chakin ("Cutthroat Island") Kevin King ("Iron Eagle") Lenore Zann Kate Lynch ("Meatballs")

Plot: World War III erupts with a nuclear exchange that wipes out most of the world. Three astronauts circling the globe in a secret missle station crash-land on what is left of Earth. The astronauts must battle different factions such as diseased cannibals, a makeshift army, and a heavily armed hermit in the post-apocalyptic world simply to survive. The spaceship holds many provisions but also a deadly secret....

Review: I decided to give this film a try after seeing the movie box numerous times at my local video store growing up. Being too young at the time to rent a "R" rated film I could only wonder if a video baring the likeness of a ruined New York City fronted by a skeleton in a spacesuit could be any good....

Def-Con 4 gave me a slight surprise. I suspected typical 80's crap and it was slightly better than that. Mind you, I'm not declaring this as great cinema but simply a different and sorta fun film look at the post-apocalyptic world.

The pace of the film works in its favor. The film has only a 85 minute running time but once the space station lands, Howe (Choate) is confronting three different factions almost immediately. Vinny (Chaykin) captures Howe early on and has a disturbing conversation with him about Howe's companions nipples (Lynch). Interesting dialogue.

We then get to visit an army lead by a pompous high-schooler. A scene in which he taunts a scientist with a broken back under his control is particularly memorable. Something about a guy foaming at the mouth while being held upright by a car seatbelt was just a bit disturbing.

The acting was pretty standard with Chaykin turning in the best performance of the lot. Special effects and score were nothing special. Pretty run-of-the-mill but entertaining enough to keep you occupied for 85 minutes.
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