Genre: Sci Fi Thriller
Director: Michael Hurst
Writer: Michael Hurst
Cast: Zoë Bell, Malik Yoba, Adam Huss
When I scanned the streaming titles and stumbled upon this film, the rating advised that there was a 53% chance I would like it. I’m not one to adhere to such limitations, so I rolled the dice, and watched it anyway. Well, what can I say? I’ve learned my lesson. The Netflix Overlords were correct in their assessment of my viewing pleasure. This movie was painful to watch, but to my surprise, it also possessed some redeeming qualities.
I imagine that the pitch for this film went something like this: “Let’s take Back to the Future and The Usual Suspects, smash them together, but make it a sci-fi horror.” I’m just going to leave that right there for a minute, so that you can wrap your brain around it.
This story follows a group of engineering geniuses, with questionable pasts, who have come together to build a time machine. They are all in it mostly for the money and prestige, but their leader Mr. Landau, played by Malik Yoba, is the only one who truly knows the magnitude of the success of the project, and the impact it will have on the future. My initial interest in “Paradox” was piqued, due to the fact that one of it’s starring roles belongs to Malik. The brother has an undeniable smolder. You know it’s true. Don’t judge me! Believe me when I say Mr. Yoba’s appearance in this film, is the only reason why I continued to view it. Let me break down the reasons why I liked and disliked this film.
- Aside from the other actors, Malik Yoba held his own. He even managed a fairly convincing British accent.
- There is at least one character that has a genuine, emotional motivation to build a time machine.
- There are a couple of good choreographed fight scenes, with renowned stunt double and actress, Zoë Bell.
- The characters drop the F-bomb multiple times, so this movie could provide the proper fodder for a rousing drinking game.
- The performances from the lesser known actors are, how should I put this…abhorrent. I kid you not, I realized this within the first 45 seconds of the film.
- All but one of the characters is cliché. The dialog and soundtrack fall under that category as well.
- The set that included the time machine was too minimal. I wasn’t convinced that what looked like a rock concert stage rig, could send anyone into another place in time.
- Special effects? It was a low budget film. You get what you pay for.
All of that said, this was a well written story! It started right in the action, which was wonderful, as it draws the viewer in quickly, and holds their attention. “Paradox” also did an impressive job of circumventing the story, and answering all of the questions it presented along the way. The pacing was great for the most part, except for the ridiculous and sappy lover’s interlude, that always seems to come about, as they’re on their way to do, or stop something that could save lives. I completely understand why those kinds of moments are written into stories. It is meant to create a sense of urgency in the minds of the viewers, but seriously? All it ever does is leave people screaming at the screen, “Yeah, yeah, we get it. You love each other, but this is not the time for that! People are dying!” I implore all of you filmmakers out there, new and seasoned, to cease and desist with the use of this trope. It’s maddening!
I have to take ownership here. Being a filmmaker myself, I should have known that a Michael Hurst film would yield these results. Campy, B movies are his shtick, and “Paradox” is just another hash mark for his consistency. Even with that knowledge, I was perplexed as to why the “execution” of this story involved the use of a proverbial guillotine.Then again, when you consider Michael Hurst’s entire filmography, it becomes quite apparent that this is just the way he gets down.
I’m glad that I forced myself to watch this film. It was a reminder that sometimes in life, there is good within what we believe is bad. The story is strong enough, that I would welcome a remake of this movie that would do it justice. As it stands, If you’re itching for a reason to wince and face-palm throughout an entire film, “Paradox” is calling your name.