AGE OF TOMORROW
Age of Tomorrow was released four days after the Tom Cruise science-fiction film Edge of Tomorrow (2014), which featured Cruise as a rookie soldier caught in a timeloop experiencing the same day over and over as he attempted to repel an alien invasion. Most of The Asylums mockbusters are derived from high-profile properties that are either adapted from a known work or remaking another film meaning that the basics of the plot are easily able to be copied. Edge of Tomorrow must have been somewhat of an unknown for them as the only thing in common between the two films is that they both feature an alien invasion. There is no equivalent of Edge of Tomorrows central timeloop theme here, for instance.
Exactly what type of film Age of Tomorrow is is a good question much of the show leaves you trying to get a handle on it. The initial scenes in which an individualistic crew of roughnecks launch in a shuttle to plant a nuke to divert an oncoming asteroid start out seeming like a riff on Michael Bays Armageddon (1998). Certainly, the scenes on the asteroid, relayed on one of The Asylums cheap budgets, seem to be being conducted with vastly more ambition than there were ever the resources at hand to adequately convey them. With the discovery of the aliens on the asteroid, the film then seems to be heading in the direction of a film like Battle of the Worlds (1961) or Within the Rock (1996) with explorers encountering aliens on hollowed-out asteroids. However, rather than stay with that, the film jumps off into two plot strands one of these takes the roughnecks through a portal to fight the aliens on their home planet. Another seemingly unrelated plot strand involves fireman Lane Townsend and his crew fighting across L.A. dealing with alien spheres that obliterate everything that seems a threat where you feel like the film is channelling The Asylums earlier Battle of Los Angeles.
None of this seems to work. The flying alien spheres come with some competent effects but the venture to the alien world is a cut-price planetary adventure where the alien planet they are exploring is so civilised that all of the outdoor scenes appear to be taking place in a park with manicured garden paths. Nor do the two story strands have much to do with each other and it is only at the very end that the two merge, before the story reaches an inconclusive cliffhanger that feels as though it were intended to spawn a sequel. Much of the rest seems action-movie posturing fashionably unshaven heroes heading into action with resolute purpose. Lane Townsend even sets out with the declaration Im going to find my daughter.
The only recognisable names are top-billed Kelly Hu, who has a minor role as a NASA scientist who joins the shuttle expedition, and Robert Picardo who plays the military general on Earth, where both only play secondary parts in either story strand. There is some bad science, including the roughnecks managing to conduct a cross-galactic radio signal with a mere military radio backpack (something that in reality lacks even the ability to broadcast beyond the borders of a terrestrial country). At another point, Kelly Hus astrophysicist talks about finding the epicentre of the asteroid a term that actually means the origin point of an earthquake when you get the impression she means the centre or the core.