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Video games are interesting because they're interactive, and movies because they aren't. In a video game, you're the actor; moviegoing depends on your connecting with those people up on the screen;. There's really no easy crossover.

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

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CastJürgen Prochnow, Matthew Lillard, Tchéky Karyo, Saffron Burrows, Freddie Prinze Jr.
DirectorChris Roberts
Genre:  Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Screen WriterChris Roberts, Kevin Droney
DVD Release Date:  July 6, 1999
Runtime:  100 minutes
Studio:  20th Century Fox
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review by . October 11, 2010
Too many times in moviedom does a movie take a precious work of genre and, well ruin it.  Whether it's us stupid viewers not appreciating "their" vision or producers we hear not shelling out for something that could have been the difference between a good movie and a bad one.  Sometimes it's casting, often it's the story and usually it's the characterization.      Thats what makes Wing Commander such an enigma.  The director is Chris Roberts …
Quick Tip by . October 11, 2010
Some real stupid moments really hamper what should have been an epic space action movie based on the popular PC games.
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