Bob Peck goes for a ride in a plane with Bill Paxton and along the way the pair go on a personal journey and discover who they really are. Oh and Mark Hamill chases them in his airplane as well. Its one hell of a hot mess, with confusing plot lines, unstated character roles, and mentions to major plot hubs that never get flushed out. But its still a pretty fun ride.
Somewhere in Slipstream is a good movie. There some really cool science fiction ideas, gorgeous aerial footage, questions raised about what life truly is and solid concepts about life in a post-apocalyptic world. This really could have been a movie that people respected and possibly not cost Gary Kurtz his movie career. We don't think that it ever would have been a really successful film but a good ol' muligan may have turned this into a pretty popular film.
Unfortunately, there are some serious problems here. Firstly, the easy one to spot is Bill Paxton. If you are familiar and/or love Paxton like we do, you'll know that his charm is not in his acting skills. This film (much like Cage in Wicker Man) is the role Paxton was born to play. The Paxton is turned up to 12 here. It's great in a terrible way. His character is just a total knob and Paxton is the only guy that can really nail knob unintentionally. He just won't keep his mouth shut at any point and he's always got something snarky to say. But the snarky lines that come out of his mouth are so dumb. If you encountered this character in real life, no matter the situation, you would have to stop and laugh at him.
The second problem is the hugely confusing plot that primarily stems from one problem: who are these people and what are they talking about? There's so many mentions of places and events that seem to really be important in character decisions but you have no frame of reference for where or what these things are. It's pretty hard to really stop scratching your head in confusion.
Lastly, the biggest mistake here is that the standard "main character/good guy/bad guy" archetypes appear to be in the film but you can't tell without serious investigation who these roles are filled by. Who is the main character? Is it Bob Peck's Byron who is the focus of both Matt Owens (Bill Paxton) and Tasker's (Mark Hamill) flight along the Slipstream and who easily has the most trans-formative experience in the film (unless you count Tasker who *Spoiler* goes from alive to exploded)? Or is the main character Matt Owens who is the last character you see before the credits and is the closer by getting his dreams fulfilled? Is Tasker just doing his unfortunate job by killing people (who are breaking the law usually) or his he a sociopath who kills people because they are standing in his way?
Despite all of this, Slipstream is a really fun time for bad movie lovers. Its alot of laughs (mostly directed towards Paxton's acting) with some really weird and wild sequences. There's plenty of laughable matte effects and ridiculous action sequences. We all really liked it and is completely worth watching, maybe a few times to get a handhold on what it is about.
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Crazy theory here: I think Tasker was also an android. He gets hit by the plane and doesn't blink. He has similar pseudo-religious talk to Byron. Despite being left out in the desert where he should have died, he is apparently just fine. Also, we assume that he dies in the wreck, but we don't get to see his body. Finally, there are a few blatant references to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", including Paxton actually saying those words. So, although not well executed, I think the intention was for a big reveal or maybe to leave the audience wondering. That's my theory, anyway!
That's a really good theory! It really falls in with the endless amounts of questions that this film creates. Is there just a ton of poor execution for a really good story? Or are we just drawing conclusions because of poor execution?