“Incoming” Film Review
The International Space Station is now a prison – the ultimate black site.
The international space station (looks nothing like the actual ISS) has been turned into a floating prison where a handful of terrorists are being held and the Geneva Convention does not apply. It has been five years since a terrorist attack happened in London and five members of the Wolfpack (not the guys from The Hangover) are being held and tortured in the space station. They aren’t told that there is anyone else with them and are not even told they are on the space station. Due to a bit of exposition at the beginning of the film, we learn that the gravity problem has been solved with the line, “All the stations and shuttles come with a gravity regulator.” Ah yes, the gravity regulator, those things are so handy.
“Incoming” stars Scott Adkins as the ass-kicking CIA agent and Michelle Lehane as the sympathetic whistle-blowing doctor. Once a month a shuttle is sent to the space station for supplies and to provide a medical checkup. This particular visit is a bit different as Dr. Stone (Michelle Lehan) takes it upon herself to inform one of the prisoners, Argun (Vahidin Prelic), that he isn’t alone on the station – information Argun uses to hatch an escape plan.
The movie was directed by Eric Zaragoza and written by multiple people, so you would assume that at some points during the writing process someone would have said, “is this believable” or “would this person actually do this”, or “do we really need this unnecessary exposition”? That is something you would think they would have considered, but after watching “Incoming”, the answer is no, they did not say those things. There are so many flaws in this script that I want to point them out, but if I did, I would end up explaining the entire film. For example, how is Kingsley (Lukas Loughran) who runs the station, so unprepared to deal with an attempted breakout by the prisoners? Or how about the complete lack of knowledge of physics and moving space stations and shuttles in space and the atmosphere? I’m not an astronaut or a rocket scientist but even I know what they are proposing in this film is a bit ridiculous.
As B movies go, this isn’t that bad. The cheesy dramatic music that happens at the end of various lines of dialog for emphasis is laughable, but laughable in a good, B movie kind of way. And I assume the actors had some fun making this film while keeping straight faces with their dialogue for much of the film. The problem is, I don’t think this was intended to be a B movie.
As much as I am making fun of this film for the directing and story, there are some good things to say about it. The set design was really well done for an obviously low budget action film. The fight sequences at the hands of Scott Adkins are also nicely choreographed. Even though they do the quick cut handheld thing that every action film does these days for fight scenes. And I have to say the acting is impressive. Vahidin Prelic’s intensity and conviction for his performance is on a par with the likes of Jared Leto. And Lehane does an excellent job of holding her own in a film where she is the only female character. They even wrote in a bit of a character arch for her as she goes from the naive doctor to a bit of an ass-kicker by the end of the film.
As a B movie, I would recommend this film. While watching it I laughed multiple times at the absurdity of it. As an attempt at a mainstream action film in space, this falls short. Falls like an international space station crashing into Moscow.
Review by Milo Denison, the author of “How to Manage Your Manager” available now.