'Andron': Film Review

ALEC BALDWIN Clean -Publicity-Momentum Pictures-H 2016
Coutesy of Momentum Pictures
Hot twentysomethings fight for their survival in a mysterious maze ... sound familiar?

Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover star, sort of, in this dystopian sci-fi thriller.

It's too bad that ordinary moviegoers don't have the opportunity to read the press notes that are routinely sent to film critics. They're often far more entertaining than the films themselves — case in point, the ones for Andron, the new sci-fi thriller set in a (what else?) dystopian future in which a group of young people (who else?) are forced to (what else?) battle for their survival.

The notes proudly inform us that "the screenplay was written in eight cities around the world," which mostly begs the question: Why should we care? They also proudly state that "it is a film written by instinct, perhaps so unconventional, that is not afraid to embrace different genres," which suggests that something was lost in translation. It's also noted that the film was shot in Malta and Italy; that at least explains the presence of Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover, who got a European vacation out of the deal.

Their work Andron certainly doesn't amount to much. In this story — set in 2154 (why so specific?) about 10 young people who wake up in a dark, and I mean dark, warehouse maze, with no knowledge of how they got there and are suddenly engaged in a desperate struggle to survive called, wait for it, the "Redemption Games" — the veteran actors are phoning it in. Playing Adam, who supervises the competition from his desk in an office roughly the size of Versailles, Baldwin observes the action on video screens while muttering such comments as "Now things will get interesting" (well, no, actually they don't); "Let's give them something else to think about" (definitely not referring to the audience); "Let's liven things up a little" (again, not really); and my favorite, "Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends" (wait, where have I heard that one before?).

Meanwhile, Glover, playing "The Chancellor," mainly barks out orders and chews out Baldwin now and again. (Ironically, the actor whose character famously muttered "I'm too old for this shit" in the Lethal Weapon movies when he actually wasn't, now really is too old for this shit … or at least, too good.)

Although viewers won't likely be awake for it, it's eventually revealed that there was a "big catastrophe" that killed no fewer than nine billion people, after which a small handful of corporations took over the planet. And they apparently have nothing better to do than to pit hot twentysomethings (including one played by British singer/DJ/model Skin, an arresting presence in her first acting role) against each other and bet on their survival.

Directed and scripted in boring, incoherent fashion by Francesco Cinquemani, Andron brings new meaning to the word "derivative." Come back, Hunger Games, all is forgiven.

Distributor: Momentum Pictures
Production: Ambi Pictures
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Michelle Ryan, Danny Glover, Leo Howard, Gale Harold, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Gaia Scodellaro, Clara Pasieka, Marysia S. Peres, Jon Kortajarena, Margareth Made, Alex Martin, Skin
Director-screenwriter: Franceco Cinquemani
Producers: Monika Bacardi, Andrea Iervolino
Executive producers: Danielle Maloni
Director of photography: Gherardo Gossi
Production designer: Giada Calabria
Editor: Benni Atria
Composer: Riccardo Eberspacher
Costume designer: Piero Risani
Casting: Bruno Rosato, Edward Said

Rated R, 96 minutes