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Director: Francesco Cinquemani
Writer: Francesco Cinquemani
Stars: Alec Baldwin, Michelle Ryan, Danny Glover
There is no denying that a majority of movies piggyback on the success of those that come before. In fact, some, inspired by the works of others often improve upon the title that influenced them. But not always. When a film becomes a hit, it is regularly followed by a host of inferior knock-offs that attempt to tap into the trending interest. Currently, that interest is young adult films centered on dystopian-like worlds forcing them to compete or escape some larger arena that has greater meaning. The Divergent series, The Maze Runner franchise, and The Hunger Games films are the leaders of this dense pack.
Now we have Andron, or Andròn – The Black Labyrinth, an Italian film made in English that tries hard to be a bit of all of them and with no uncertain terms, fails. Production, performances, direction, visual effects, all fall short in a muddled, confusing mess that simply can’t find it’s footing, mostly due to its refusal to be anything original.
It starts with ten contenders unwillingly participating in a competition called the Redemption Games. You can see right away where it’s going. Inside what is meant to be a round labyrinth (it steals with such blatancy it’s nearly comical), where curiously every wall is flat, they all awake with amnesia but an inherent sense of mistrust of each other. One by one they meet up with each other and try to figure out who they are and why they are here, but more so, who is chasing them. They argue but cling together, and meet a bald-head girl named Anita (Deborah Dyer) who seems to know a little more then they. She attempts to explain they are are in a game with others on the outside betting on who will make it out alive. They decide to band together but it’s not long before walls shift and groups are separated and eventually, little by little, they begin getting killed off. Roaming the straight, narrow hallways of this circular maze are armed thugs out of a cheesy 80s straight-to-video action movie. But also something far more sinister. But not really.
Controlling all this is maniacal over-lordish type sitting in a well-lit glossy room with lots and lots of holographic computer screen things reminiscent of Steven Spielberg‘s Minority Report. He’s played by Alec Baldwin and with all the enthusiasm of a video game cutscene character. Clearly ‘acting’ in a green screen room, he doles out silly one-liners as he tweaks the CGI panels floating in front of him. But he’s not the only recognizable name snared in the catastrophe. Playing the President is Danny Glover, who of late has popped up in a number of low-budget fare. In this movie, compared to Glover, Baldwin is like Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire as the normally very watchable actor basically sits behind a sterile looking desk and barely breathes his few incomprehensible lines. It’s disheartening.
Written and directed by Francesco Cinquemani, this is a tepid, misguided film that offers nothing to the genre, but worse, isn’t even fun. Low budget movies can be a good time and often are jumping off points for real talents, but this is clearly a cash grab trying to take advantage of the blockbusters it steals from. While it might look shiny based on the marketing, this is anything but and is not recommended.