Recon 2020: The Caprini Massacre (2006)
By: Markus Zussner on March 23, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Maverick (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.66:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 5.1. 90 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Christian Viel
Starring: Anderson C. Bradshaw, Kevin Kelsall, Patrick Sabongui, Gillian Leigh, Valerie Wiseman
Screenplay: Christian Viel
Music: David Findlay
Country: Canada
Remember, in space no one can hear you scream. Unless it is the war-cry of a space marine. Recon 2020, initially called Power Corps, is the latest entry of soldiers in space kickin ass. This one's definitely for the Aliens and Starship Troopers fans, as well as Hammer Horror film fans. Recon 2020 is a low budget shake and bake Sci-Fi action flick from writer/director Christian Viel; an underground Montreal filmmaker who has his own production company called Movie Seals Productions, who has already directed several horror flicks, including Evil Breed and Deaden amongst others.

Ok everyone, lock and load! The Earth now resembles a scorched radioactive tennis ball. Humans have left wasteland Earth and headed out into space to combat the Ma'hars, an evil alien race hell-bent on putting us on the endangered species list. Anderson Bradshaw (Gothica and Taking Lives) is Sgt Sharp, a veteran space marine who leads a group of elite marines, or 'Power Corps', on a suicide mission behind enemy lines. The marines head to Caprini to investigate who or what is behind the mysterious activities going on in the disused and abandoned colony factories. Reports have indicated possible Ma'har enemy activity on the planets surface. The marines land on Caprini's surface via dropship thanks to the competent flying skills of Fooks (Gillian Leigh from Evil Breed) and begin their patrol of the abandoned Caprini factories.

The marines soon discover that the Ma'hars are indeed up to no good - they have created new bio-weapons based on our fears of mythological creatures like Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and Monsters, and the humans that have been attacked by the Ma'hars have turned into these mythological monsters. The Power Corps almost immediately begin to engage in battle with these creatures - if they aren't fending off an attack by vampires, they're blowing away werewolves or zombies - and If that isn't enough, they are constantly beseiged by unstoppable cyborg assassins. There's also a large war robot that's gone haywire that the marines have to deal with as well. But wait there's more! Just like a shopping infomercial, not only do you get zombies, vampires, werewolves, cyborgs and crazy war robots; you also get one disgruntled ex-marine who now leads his own band of scavengers and works for the Ma'hars to boot, who will do anything to make sure our heroes never make it off Caprini alive. But wait that's not all! What's a movie like this without a huge freakin' dinosaur wrecking havoc and looking for marines to eat for lunch? Yes I jest not; a huge Ray Harryhausen freakin' dinosaur. What can I say but, Wow! Talk about an overdose of antagonists. Sgt Sharp's motto is "We leave no one behind". The question is will they go home alive or leave Caprini in body bags? Watch Recon 2020: The Caprini Massacre and place your bet on who lives and who dies.

Viel cooks up an ambitious fusion of classic sci-fi, action and horror. It's amazing how much he has put into this movie considering the small budget. If anything one of Recon 2020's major flaws is that it is over-ambitious. Viel stretches his miniscule budget to get the most out of it and throws in everything and anything he can. It's amazing how much Viel has crammed into the movie, but Recon 2020 could have been better off using the 'less is more' strategy.

The script is very basic. It's not bad, but it's not that good either. More than a few of the Sgt Sharps lines seem to have been lifted from Aliens like "watch those corners!", "remember, short controlled bursts", "Keep it tight" plus a few more. I should know; I practically know the script for Aliens off by heart. These lines are delivered in such rapid succession that sometimes the dialogue feels and sounds like it was lifted straight from a computer game audio track. Maybe Viel is using this as an audio effect to pay homage to the movie Aliens, I'm not sure. Another problem is keeping track of where the characters are, especially when the action hits. At one stage after a fire fight a whole bunch of the characters just disappear. It takes some time to realise that they all died in the fire fight, but it's not really apparent during the fire fight scene itself. Sometimes a character will go off to do something but it's not worked into the editing, so I find myself going, "where the hell did that marine go? He must be dead?" then about 10 minutes later he'll rejoin the group. Also the marines tend to all look alike in their combat gear so it's hard to differentiate characters, but I must say the combat gear looks awesome and comes across as very believable. In the role of Sgt Sharp, Anderson Bradshaw is very capable in leading the cast of unknowns and slips into the role with ease. Bradshaw must by a busy little camper because he is also the Production Designer as well as associate producer on Recon 2020.

Great use of hand held and point-of-view shots and good use of filters. Special Makeup FX and CG are balanced out well. Veil puts in just enough of these ingredients in all the right places to create some great visual action sequences.
Video
Recon 2020: The Caprini Massacre is presnted in an non-anamorphic 1.66:1 aspect ratio. There is a little bit of grain here and there that gives away the films low budget, but considering the budget, the visuals are quite stunning.
Audio
The 5.1 sound is crystal clear. No audio hum so this is a good one to turn up loud. There are lots of good explosions, lasers, bullet rounds and ricochets going on here. Nice sound for when the characters talk to each other over intercoms. The sound lends better to the ears with a set of good quality headphones.
Extra Features
Audio commentary from Director Christian Viel: He sounds pretty tired or he's under the weather or something, but this is a good audio commentary especially for budding film students. Christian Viel goes through the movie, giving insight on how he and his team made Recon 2020 and reveals some of the tricks of his trade. The dropship scene was actually shot in Anderson Bradshaw's apartment. Talk about some innovative set dressing. The commentary also reveals that some of the CG effects were done in Australia as well as other countries. Funniest thing that Viel reveals in the commentary is that they would paint parts of the Factory for certain scenes. They would shoot the scene and wrap for the day and the next day there would be graffiti tagged all over the freshly painted walls.

We also get trailers for Horrors of War, The Brink, Mr Hell, Slip, Creepies, and The Locator.
The Verdict
We're in the pipe, 5 by 5. This isn't Aliens; the entire budget of Recon 2020 would cover one days catering for the entire Aliens cast and crew, but what a tasty little dish Recon 2020 is. Full of ambition, effort and enthusiasm. We have vampires, werewolves, zombies, cyborg terminators, tyrants and hungry dinosaurs coming at you from all directions with a cyberpunk vengeance. Veil has squeezed every ounce of energy into making this film work and to be the best that it can be. Despite its main flaws, that it is too ambitious and that the script didn't get the attention that it really required, Recon 2020 is nevertheless fast paced, relentless and unforgiving. A labour of love, Recon 2020 delivers and once it starts it goes off like a snowball in hell.
Movie Score
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