That's the problem with Wing Commander, based on the bestselling computer game series created by Chris Roberts. Roberts helms the film, too, having previously directed "cinematic" sequences for the game, starring Mark Hamill from Star Wars, no less. But a feature-length story is something else again. Maybe gamers will find something to enjoy here, but that sets the rest of us adrift.
There's war between the Terran Confederation and the evil Kilrathi, who are so evil they want to destroy the whole universe. (They probably aren't thinking that through very clearly. But then they're evil.) They've stolen the Pegasus Navicom A.I. device that enables them to "jump" behind enemy lines and destroy the Earth part of the universe. Freddie Prinze Jr. stars as Blair, a Pilgrim, which means he's hated by everybody for having this film's answer to the Force. His pal Matthew Lillard plays Maniac (his usual role). So you've got two guys with a Top Gun complex, bent on preventing the Kilrathi from destroying Earth. You'd expect lots of action from these combat-ready flyboys. But there's scant little of that, and lots of static dialogue scenes, including one cinematic quote of Howard Hawks's classic Only Angels Have Wings to explain how pilots handle the death of one of their own. Presumptuous. All it would have taken to make this film a success is a series of action set pieces and a thin plot to hang them from. What director Roberts needed was a Navicom device to help him "jump" behind Hollywood lines. That and a decent script. --Jim Gay