The Sender is business as usual for Richard Pepin. Most Pepin films start by leaping into the midst of action sequences without any concern or explanation of what is going on. This opens, in typically Pepin-esque manner, with an extended action sequence a chase scene with a truck slamming vehicles in front of it, exploding through other vehicles, a fight on the flatbed and an improbable sequence with Michael Madsen having to shoot out the trucks brake cable in order to stop it. It seems that Pepin works to a formula that mandates an explosion every five minutes and every second one of these involves a truck or an RV crashing through another vehicle in slow motion. This time Pepin has a modest budget at his disposal, which allows him to create some elaborate action set-ups highway chases and explosions, copters and UFOs shooting out, and such like.
While Richard Pepin certainly delivers on the action angle, The Sender fails abysmally as science-fiction. As with several Pepin films, there is the recurrent theme of the government covering up the truth regarding UFOs. However, in terms of its ideas, The Sender is even more frustrating and vaguely thought out than previous Pepin films. The talk about sender genes, the abduction of Michael Madsens father by a UFO and government coverup is sketched in vague terms without much connection or explanation. These ideas come with a laughable banality the ethereal woman from the stars with great powers soon turns out to be no more than an ordinary action movie heroine running around amidst the action like everybody else, while the wondrous UFO from the stars is easily damaged and shot down by the Air Force.
The Sender stars Michael Madsen. With his ruggedly macho handsomeness and languid ease, Madsen seemed on the verge of becoming a major star after Reservoir Dogs (1992) but never did. Instead, Madsen ended up headlining B video action films such as this. For unfathomable reasons, he also took an Associate Producer role on The Sender. R. Lee Ermey has yet another role in which he plays a bawling military officer. Dyan Cannon has an unconvincing cameo as an admirals wife involved in the coverup.
Richard Pepins other films of genre note are: Cyber Tracker (1994), Firepower (1994), Cybertracker 2 (1995), Dark Breed (1995), Hologram Man (1995), T-Force (1995), The Silencers (1996), Y2K/Terminal Countdown (1999), Mindstorm (2001) and Caved In (2006). PM Entertainment has produced some 80 plus films, almost all being action films. Their other genre productions include Death By Dialogue (1988), Hollow Gate (1988), The Art of Dying (1991), Alien Intruder (1993), CIA: Code Name Alexa (1993), CIA II: Target Alexa (1994), The Power Within (1995), Steel Frontier (1995), Rage (1996), Sutures (2009), as well as the childrens films Storybook (1995), Two Bits and Pepper (1995) and Little Bigfoot (1997).