YBLTV Film Review: ASTRO
If you haven’t had a chance yet this Fourth of July, celebrate with watching ASTRO. Imagine if someone like Richard Branson just boarded one of his rockets and disappeared into space, without letting NASA, or any other government agencies that he was going. That is the the situation we find ourself in at the beginning of Asif Akbar’s film ASTRO.
The Retired Life
Jack Adams is a retired soldier living out on a ranch, a quiet life. When two black sedans arrive on his property, he grabs his shotgun and meets them at the gate. Some old co-workers have come to entice him with a vacation and a new job opportunity.
Jack and his daughter return home that night, only to be awoken by the broken glass from gunfire. Someone from Jack’s past has decided to take Jack and Laura out. Jack and Laura are able to fend off their attackers, but not without taking a toll on Laura. Her asthma goes unchecked and causes a scare on top of things. Jack and Laura are able to get away from the house, and on the run until they can determine what is going on. This leads Jack to take Alex up on his offer of an exciting new opportunity.
“What would you do if you could travel through a blackhole and find alternate universes?” –Patrick Mackey, @mackeyp42 YBLTV Writer/Reviewer
We learn that Alex is in league with a couple of interplanetary beings that answer to a governing council themselves. They typically do not intervene with our world, unless there is something universally drastic at stake. Following a battlefield injury, Alex was left in what would be a quadriplegic state. Two unusual characters showed up, offering an alternative. Cut to twenty years later, Alex is a billionaire and wants to hire Jack. Or at least that’s the cover story he gives. We’ve seen an additional interplanetary being randomly throughout the film that apparently has a DNA relation to our protagonist, Jack.
As Alex is introducing Jack to his world of science and discovery, they discuss living on Mars. What would you do if you could travel through a black hole and find alternate universes? Alex and his team have found a way to manipulate the gravitational pull of the sun and planetary orbits. Alex shows off a spaceship, claiming he has already been into space, even beyond Mars. The mysterious interplanetary being we have been seeing may be an alternate universe version of Jack. Jack’s DNA is the only that they have identified on this alternate planet, and they need him to join the team, as a common denominator. Or so they lead him to believe.
We know that there are interplanetary beings, that occasionally steer Alex’s actions. Whether they want him to depart, or if it was an inconsequential mistake on his part, we do not know. The presence of Victor and Vivian is minimal, and almost confusing amidst the plot. We see them for moments at a time, but never learn much of substance from them.
The jumping timelines of ASTRO took me a bit to get used to. Once I got past that, this was a unique take on aliens and space travel. It may not have the big budget sequences that Hollywood can muster, but it definitely deserves a watch. It’s not a stretch that we could have tycoons that have alien technology that we are not allowed to know about. This is the basis of the Area 51 conspiracies. The army has these things, and buries them away until they know what to do with them.
But what would keep us from being manipulated by the technology, or those that created it. If you get down to it, ASTRO presents the viewer with a philosophical question: Just because you have the ability to travel to other planets, should you do so? Every person would be tempted, but it makes me think of Nietzsche’s quote “if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” Vivian gives Laura a stone that is supposed to answer all of her questions, but we are left to come to our own conclusions as to what happened with Jack, Alex and Subject A.
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Starring: Gary Daniels, Marshal Hilton, Courtney Akbar
Directed By: Asif Akbar
Disclosure of Material Connection: YBLTV Writer / Reviewer Patrick Mackey, received a digital copy of ASTRO for screening from Sony Pictures Entertainment in consideration for a Product Review.