Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Sean Bean, Sam Claflin, Annabelle Wallis, Corey Sevier, Eleanor Tomlinson
Directed by Mikael Salomon
Alternate title: Post-Apocalypto
The key to saving mankind… Well, not actually saving mankind as a whole. More like saving a couple dozen remaining members of humanity with the possibility that there could be more to be saved in future generations assuming these few inbreed enough to keep the human race going. Anyway, the key to saving those people is a mysterious yellow powder that when inhaled will make that person immune from transforming into whatever the hell these cannibal-rasta-were-mutants are that populate the forests and attack like feral zombies. I don’t think you’ll find a movie with this many references to the word “powder” or people fighting over such a substance outside of Scarface.
Some sort of apocalypse has occurred. I say “some sort” because the movie never makes it abundantly clear what exactly this apocalyptic event was or precisely how long ago it happened. Whatever it was has left the remaining generations of humans living the prehistoric (neohistoric?) life of a primitive forest-dwelling hunter-gatherer society. They live like Ewoks and feed on giant sloths left over from pre-apocalyptic society’s flirtation with Jurassic Park genetic engineering. Sorry, no T-Rexes. Only hairy mammals in this film — that includes the unkempt hair and scruffy facial follicles of nearly every male character.
The whatever apocalypse resulted in a virus that mutates ordinary people into Island of Dr. Moreau-ish zombies that leap through the air with incredible agility while looking like werewolves that have spent too much time in an African mud pit. They are a constant threat to the surviving humans, not just because they attack like restless natives, not just because they might want to dine on your bones, but they’re also highly infectious and it doesn’t take much for one to join their ranks.
That’s where the powder comes in. Sean Bean of Lord of the Rings is the lord of the backstory, an outsider with knowledge of how the future became lost and how a great man invented a powder that when huffed makes one immune from the disease that turns man into muddy zombie animal men.
That’s where futuristic caveman Kaleb comes in; it was his father that created the powder only to be murdered by a jerk who stole the powder for his own ill-gotten gain. How much gain can truly be gotten in a future where everyone lives like an extra from Yor, The Hunter from the Future?
What makes Kaleb truly special is that he can read. We’re never quite sure how long it has been since this apocalypse occurred, but by this point you show a young caveperson (neoanderthal?) a book, and they have no idea what a book is let alone how to read it. But Kaleb’s dad taught him to read using the works of Mark Twain, and apparently basic literacy also means you can easily comprehend chemical equations with ease. Better believe Kaleb and his closest companions are going to jump on a raft and trek down the river to the ruins of a once major city to meet with the warlord that double-crossed his dad and stole the powder to make himself the king of nothing.
Sean Bean described the man who stole the powder as a completely unreasonable person. A completely unreasonable person doesn’t quite make for a compelling villain in a post-apocalyptic setting. Let me give you the gist of how Kaleb’s first meeting with bad guy goes.
“Can we have some of the powder?”
“My people are dying.”
“My friends and I are also infected.”
“I can make more of the powder but it will take more time than I have.”
“Better hurry then.”
In terms of post-apocalyptic villainy, we’re not exactly in Lord Humungous territory here.
This tyrant, who looked and sounded so much like the haggard twin brother of Alan Rickman’s Professor Snape from the Harry Potter films it’s almost comical, is more of a stubborn, selfish jerk than the Ming the Merciless of this lost future. But just like Ming this not-Alan Rickman dude has a super hot daughter suffering from a serious case of Eighties glam metal hair willing to betray him for the sake of what’s left of humanity.
I began to lose track of which impeccably well-groomed post-apocalyptic blonde girl was which after a while. Would it have killed the producers to hire a brunette or a redhead?
The Lost Future feels like a miniseries that’s been squished down into a 90-minute running time to such a degree you have too many characters and dangling storylines to keep up with in a tale too rushed to resonate on any emotional level, and it can’t cover for these shortcomings with spectacular action because the entire special effects budget appeared to get blown in the opening half-hour. What you would think would be a treacherous trip down the river taking days only lasts mere minutes. A shame this production suffers from such crippling issues because production-wise this was a classier piece of cinema than the typical schlock Syfy produces.
All is not lost in this future, but there’s not much to be gained from watching it.
2 out of 5
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