Retrograde (2004)
Commander
Time Travelers

Nomination Year: 2012
SYNOPSIS:  This movie has all the elements of a great bad movie -- a ridiculous time travel premise, villains with no motivation whatsoever, people getting picked off one-by-one while trapped in the antarctic, a painfully crummy ending, and Dolph Lundgren. Yet, somehow, it never really manages to put them together into a package that's as entertainingly awful as it ought to be.

In the future, a plague has wiped out almost all of humanity. Fortunately, the survivors have developed time travel and figured out exactly where the plague started -- when a meteor-hunting expedition in the antarctic drilled into the wrong meteoroid. A timeship is sent back to stop this, crewed by a bunch of guys in pure black jumpsuits and a bunch of other guys in black jumpsuits with red trim. Presumably, there is some distinction between these two groups other than their sartorial choices but, if so, it's never explained.

However, it seems that the black jumpsuit people are evil and want to thwart the mission because... well, that's not explained, either. I guess they oppose not dying of the plague. Anyway, they mutiny and kill all the red jumpsuit people except Dolph, who bails out in a lifepod. It's a Ludicrous premise, but not in a coherent enough way to work as a Smithee clip. There are lots of things like that in this movie.

Meanwhile, the geologists are doing their space-rock searching thing. Both the timeship and the lifepod crash nearby. The scientists find Dolph and take him back to their ship. They also find the contaminated meteoroid and infect themselves. Some of the scientists are succumb to the disease, others are killed by the black jumpsuit gang for no particular reason. The kinda-hot female scientist nurses Dolph back to health and recovers enough to start acting, although, again, not quite badly enough to earn a Smithee nomination.

The scientist's ship gets blown up, killing almost everybody and, perhaps, stopping the plague. Dolph makes it back to the timeship, defeats the surviving black jumpsuits, and takes the ship even further back in the past, so he can warn the kinda-hot female scientist not to go on the expedition. She doesn't and the expedition sails without her. This means that, while the rest of the movie still happened, it didn't actually happen in the way we saw it. Dolph returns to the future and sits on a softly-lit beach with some woman we've never seen before. This is a very Crummy Ending, but in a way that only makes sense if you've sat through the entire movie. Which, if you're smart, you haven't.

"Whoops!"

Covering all the angles.
Watch the middle X-Ray. It's right-side-up, it's sideways, it's upside-down. All during the same conversation. Maybe they're just covering all the angles....

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Dolph Lundgren Bulgy-bicep action star; supposedly brainy as well as brawny, his Masters in Chemical Engineering sure doesn't show on-screen 
Director Claim to Fame
Christopher Kulikowski also wrote the story for Retrograde 

Greg Pearson

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© 2011-2014 Bryan D. Cassidy, Greg Pearson, Matthew Quirk, and Kevin Hogan. All Rights Reserved.