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The Airzone Solution

UK 1993
produced by
BBV
directed by Bill Baggs
starring Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Nicola Bryant, Bernadette Gepheart, Alan Cumming, Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee, Heather Tracy, Nicholas Briggs, Michael Wisher, Emma Hill, Quentin Rayner, Gary Russell
written by Nicholas Briggs, music by Alistair Lock

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Documentary filmmaker Alan (Peter Davison) breaks into the headquarters of the Airzone Corporation, a corporation that promises to save humankind from pollution but seems to have more sinister motives. Alan is shot dead trying to gather evidence, but he helps Rachel (Heather Tracy) escape, who the corporation has experimented on.

Mysteriously, Alan appears to popular weatherman Arnold (Colin Baker) after death, whom he causes to start  to investigate against Airzone and even use one of his weather shows as a political editorial. Eventually, Arnold teams up with enviromentalist Stanwick (Sylvester McCoy) to get more dirt on Airzone, and the two of them even get their hands on Rachel, but then an armed-to-the-teeth battalion of Airzone itself relieves them of her.

Finally, Airzone wants to reveal its solution in a big press conference, with the company's head Robin (Bernadette Gepheart) acting as keynote speaker, but Arnold has by now gone so off his hook that he pulls a gun on her and tries to force her to reveal all the crooked goings-on in the company to the public instead - which she is far to experienced to spill even under threat though. Thing is, her right-hand-man (Alan Cumming) is actually an undercover secret service agent, and he has seen to it that Stanwick gets his hands on Rachel after alol and brings her to the press conference - where it is found out that Airzone's solution was not to reduce air pollution but genetically alter man to adapt to it. When this is found out, the corporation is dropped by everyone who once supported it ...

Jon Pertwee plays Alan's mentor, a role not essential to the film's plot but written into the film at his request, Nicola Bryant plays Arnold's colleague and lover.

 

At first glance, this can of course be seen as a Doctor Who cash-in that coincides with the series' 30th birthday and features no less than four actors who have played the part over the years. On closer inspection though, it's much less so: None of the Doctor Who-actors involved play their parts as they would play the Doctor, and in story this is (apart from the finale) more an (totally earthbound) enviromental thriller than science fiction. And as such, it's actually a pretty ok movie, one that's strong on content and characters rather than special effects, and that features a pretty good cast to carry it. Sure, the directorial effort is a bit stagey, but at the same time, director Bill Baggs understands to get the most out of his meagre budget, and the whole thing never once looks embarrassingly cheap.

Pretty decent movie, actually.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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directed by
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written by
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