What Not To Watch: The Journey: Absolution
Sometimes the toughest part of writing a review is coming up with a good opening line. It can set the tone for the entire review and it can be the hook that convinces the reader to check out your review even if it is a review for an obscure sci-fi/action film they probably never heard of like 1997’s The Journey: Absolution.
The first line I came up with was The Journey: Absolution is one journey you won’t want to go on.
My second option was The Journey: Absolution is absolutely something you won’t want to watch.
I’m not sure which line I like better, but I know what I didn’t like (and that is putting it mildly)…
- The Hero: Mario Lopez plays Ryan Murphy, a soldier who is sent to an arctic military colony known as New America (most of Old America was destroyed by an asteroid 30 years prior) to investigate some strange disappearances. The most recent disappearance being Murphy’s buddy Liles (Charles Mattocks in his third and final acting appearance). If I were to rank all the great movie characters named Murphy, Charles Bronson’s Jack Murphy from Murphy’s Law and Peter Weller’s Alex Murphy from Robocop would be neck and neck for the #1 spot. Meanwhile Mario Lopez’s Ryan Murphy would be somewhere around #37,925. There is no denying that Lopez has a camera friendly look, but this movie does nothing to stop the audience from seeing Lopez as A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell. I was half expecting him to call one of his fellow cadets “preppy” or Jaime Pressly’s character “momma”. No effort was made to make Lopez seem any darker, edgier or tougher than he did back at Bayside High. Maybe that’s because they were too busy making Richard Grieco seem darker, edgier and tougher than ever before…
- The Villain: Yes I said Richard Grieco, who much like Mario Lopez, once won the hearts of teenage girls everywhere while portraying Dennis Booker on 21 Jump Street and later the Booker spinoff. Grieco plays Sgt. Bradley the man in charge of New America and a character that is not only described as a hard ass, but the hard ass of the century and a nightmare of a hard ass. In his first scene of the film Bradley establishes that he doesn’t like retards, yankees, mama’s boys, bed wetters, sissies, smart ass little pussies, regular pussies and last but not least beatniks. He has a scar to prove he’s a tough guy. He is also a history buff and likes to talk to a picture of Richard Nixon for advice. For some strange reason towards the end of the film he sniffs Ryan Murphy’s towel and boxer briefs. Oh and Bradley also admits to being an alien. They tried really hard with this character… I would say too hard.
- The Story: I’ve already established that we have a weak hero and a weak villain, but The Journey: Absolution goes for the trifecta and gives us a story so convoluted and nonsensical that literally no one watching will understand. We learn that Bradley is pumping a select group of hand picked cadets full of steroids in anticipation for the “Day of Reclamation” where a portal from his alien world to what is left of Earth will open allowing the aliens to take over. Why Bradley needs the assistance of a squad of elite soldiers if a whole race of badass aliens is coming is beyond me, anyone else who suffered through this one, and I’d bet even Chris Chaffin who wrote this (and only this) movie.
- Promotional Consideration Paid for by the Following: If you told me that Fruit of the Loom had some sort of financial stake in The Journey: Absolution I would not be shocked since a good chunk of the movie features the cadets in boxer briefs. In fact this movie seems to look for any excuse to get the male cast members shirtless. But the guys aren’t the only ones going shirtless in The Journey: Absolution…
- Hot Momma: Jaime Pressly plays Allison Wade. Allison sneaks into the barracks with her whore of a friend Katie. Allison has no interest in the guys… with the exception of (you guessed it) Ryan Murphy. The two become fast friends and eventually lovers. She even gets his ass out of the brig. If you told me the reason Mario Lopez accepted this crappy role was because he was told he had a sex scene with Jaime Pressly I would not be shocked nor would I blame his logic and reasoning.
It is funny… Grieco’s Sgt. Bradley is counting down and waiting for the “Day of Reclamation” for the entire movie. That is what everything is leading up to. All the crappy dialogue. All the naked torsos. All the piss poor performances. It is all about the “Day of Reclamation”. And here I am, after watching The Journey: Absolution, looking for about 94 Minutes of Reclamation.