Directed by: Shane Abbess
Starring: Daniel Machperson, Luke Hemsworth, Grace Huang, Luke Ford, Bren Foster
In the 24th Century, teleport technology called slipstreaming is a commonplace tool but still dangerous. A young man called Whit Carmichael joins the military for a better life for himself and his pregnant wife. However his first mission is a disaster, and he ends up stranded on a very remote mining colony called Infini. When a search and rescue team reach him, they learn that the miners had all gone homicidally insane and killed each other. Carmichael and his rescuers must sit tight and await their teleport window to reopen, but they are suddenly attacked by another survivor and exposed to the same condition that turned the miners...
Infini is an interesting slice of sci-fi with some very interesting ideas, but gets a bit bogged down at times withstandard genre tropes.
Director Shane Abbess is known for his film Gabriel, a stylish low budget action movie starring the late Andy Whitfield (Spartacus) as a gun-toting angel. Shane has retained that sense of style and delivered a thoughtful sci-fi picture with a much bigger budget.
One of the interesting concepts is the Slipstream technology, which is able to instantly teleport you to distant destinations. However, the further away you travel, the longer the disparity in time difference - you may be only gone ten seconds on Earth, but that might be days at your new location. This is illustrated really well early on, when a group of soldiers teleport out, only to return seconds later covered in blood and screaming insanely.
The set up is admittedly a familiar one - our protagonist is backed up by a team of hardened soldiers sent out to a) rescue him and b) shut down the mining facility for good. It turns out the mineral being mined there is incredibly dangerous and would have a devastating effect if it were to be brought back to Earth.
The production values are pretty good throughout. The slipstreaming effect is kind of unnerving and you can understand why people would still be nervous about using it. The mining colony is fully realised, an industrial workplace on the edge of the galaxy that very much reminded me of the film Outland. The depiction of Carmichael's hometown reminded me of the setting for the Colin Farrel version of Total Recall. There is some good CGI work and some decent practical makeup fx work too, making for some grizzly, squirm-inducing moments.
Daniel MacPherson best known for his tv roles on Neighbours and The Bill, makes a great lead. Whit Carmichael isn't your usual protagonist. He isn't a hero, at least not to begin with. His only goal is to survive and get home to his heavily pregnant wife. When trouble starts, he basically runs away as fast as he can. However, he is also the one who is able to figure out what is actually happening and facilitates the possibility their survival. The rest of the cast fill the usual genre characters but a couple of faces do jump out: Luke Ford (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) and Luke Hemsworth (Kill Me Three Times, and younger brother to Liam and Chris).
The script walks an interesting line between what it does and doesn't tell us. There is a lengthy briefing near the start which acts as a major exposition dump, filling us in on details we weren't privy to when we saw the squad of space marines jump out and back earlier. However there are elements where the audience is left to piece two and two together. The tense ending also makes you wonder just how much the Authorities on Earth knew about the minerals in the colony.
To finish, I need to say something about the film score. Whether intentionally or not, the tracks towards the end of the film are very similar (in tune, if not in instrument) to some of those from the Predator soundtracks!
This starts out like a haunted house in space film (like Event Horizon) but slowly develops into something very different, and more thoughtful. This does mean that there is less action than some people might expect, but overall the film is a success.
7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)