‘Red Faction: Origins’ Syfy Channel TV Movie Review

by on June 5, 2011

in Entertainment, tv reviews

The quick of it:  Red Faction: Origins TV movie that aired on the Syfy channel, was better than most of the Syfy B-movie projects we see on the net, and interestingly enough, better than some bigger budget video game movies we’ve seen on the big screen.

Red Faction Origins

Red Faction: Origins, directed by Michael Nankin (CSI, BSG) opens with a great little run down on the immediate past of the franchise, showing us the first battle where Alec Mason (Robert Patrick) led the Red Faction rebels to take Mars back from the EDF (Earth Defense Force).  We are then shown that Alec is a bit of a drunk, on the downward slide from hero to zero.

He starts a bar brawl that is ended by being arrested by his own son, Jake Mason (Brian J. Smith), who is now a officer of Red Faction.  Jake isn’t very enthused by how his dad has spiraled downward in his life.

We later follow Jake and his squad as they head into hostile territory to investigate the wreckage of a warship that recently fell out of orbit.  This ship was destroyed in the first war, but as his team gets to the ship, they find marauders in white suits, the White Faction so to speak, raiding it.  Jake attacks one of them, but it turns out that he thinks it’s his sister Lyra (Tamzin Merchant), who he thought has been dead a long time.

Jake makes it his mission to find her.  He ends up taking the quirky smart Tess De La Vega (Danielle Nicolet) on the trip…  even though he tried losing her earlier by ejecting her out of his flyer.  She’s persistent.

From there it’s all Jake, pursuing his sister, his dad, discovering that the EDF is still on Mars, discovering truth of it all and in the process, saving Mars.

First Thoughts

Aside from the already mentioned cast, the movie also starred Kate Vernon, Devon Graye and Gareth David-Lloyd.

The story itself delivered much of plot and to be honest, I felt that Red Faction: Origins could have been developed into a 4-hour movie event for the Syfy channel.  But instead they had to pack much into a 2-hour TV movie event and I think that hurt the flow of the story editing a bit.

I was a bit disappointed that Kate Vernon didn’t have as large role as I had hoped, yet was enlightened to see Gareth David-Lloyd again.  Though I don’t believe we were delivered his character’s exact motivation for why he ended up changing targets in the maniacal manner that we saw. (Nope, if you DVR’d it, I’m not giving things away.)

I enjoyed the Jedi-like skills of Leo (Devon Graye) and his dad, Corvallis (Gordon Kennedy) but again, limited by time, editing took a hit in trying to portray their conflicts with the white-suited EDF (I swear, the first time I saw the EDF, I thought Storm Troopers).

In the end, the Mason family resolution overshadowed the bigger action of the story, but justly so.

Cinema Static Opinion and Rating

As a Syfy Channel Saturday Night Movie, Red Faction: Origins felt a little bit familiar, with somewhat predictable angles and snarky humor yet was enjoyable enough and was a refreshing change of pace from the Asylum knock-offs we sometimes get hit with.  Some of the effects were on par with Syfy channel projects and yet it wasn’t bad and it helps that the movie had a decent cast (Smith, Patrick, Nicolet, Merchant) to deliver the story to the viewers.

If you think about it, compared to other big budget movies based on video games, it was better than some of those.

Syfy TV Rating Score 08On my Syfy Channel Score scale, with a great story that was compacted down into a 2-hour presentation, I’d give Red Faction: Origins a ‘Syfy Channel 8’ score.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Simmons August 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm

No problem Debbie… I encourage folks to stop by and speak their minds in a safe and fun environment to do so! Thanks for coming by!

Debbie August 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

ok . I’m done now. I just had to get that out. Thankyou.

Debbie August 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

What happened to Destination Truth? Huh? It needs to be back on the air. My whole family loved that show. It was our very favorite. We need more “real” paranormal shows. Destination Truth was the VERY best ever. I miss you Destination Truth!

Debbie August 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

We need some new episodes of Destination Truth. This show was so awesome. I can’t believe it’s not on anymore. I loved that show. How bout it guys. Please put it on the air again.

Debbie August 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm


Bruce Simmons June 15, 2011 at 10:57 am

George, Thanks for the ratings numbers… I wasn’t having much luck finding them. -Bruce

George Williamson June 15, 2011 at 9:14 am

Totally agree this deserved a two-parter at a little under 170 minutes with commercials to more substantially develop characters and fill in the blanks of the back stories. The film version of “Dune” which had about that much time on the theater screen also suffered by skirting through the concept story line in the beginning of the film (an attempt to repair it with a new cut was as lame as a the proverbial duck). “Dune” deserved a three movie, like LOTR, and incorporate most of the subsequent books by Herbert. This had all the ingredients in the collaborative process to deliver an even better product with more time. NBC/Universal/Comcast/SyFy once again are gun shy and come up with a bang when it should have been a boom. I liked the movie, especially the actors, and although the real time ratings are just over one-million (DVR ratings not in yet) and not impressive, it has the potential of at least a mini-series (Battlestar Gallactica style). There was some inspiration from Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Philip K. Dick and could easily out-strip the dud Mars movies from the past decade or so (what, nobody remembers those?) Considering so many films derived from games have not been good, I give this three stars with a giant E for Effort.

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