J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Stasis: Back in Time to Fight the Future

Entitled teens today do not know how good they have it. Fifteen-year-old Ava is a particularly obnoxious example. Even when a drug overdose causes her to relinquish her body to a time-traveler, her remnant remains as petulant as ever. However, the time-traveling rebel agent will appreciate the little things about our world when she is not battling to prevent the apocalyptic dystopia of the future in Nicole Jones-Dion’s Stasis (trailer here), which releases today on VOD services.

Forget Skynet. The Cabal nuked over the world and now oppresses the cinders. It is not practical for the resistance to operate in this environment, but the past is a different matter. The world is quite messy in 2017, but in a good way. Who would really notice a handful of standoffish people? Their method of time travel necessarily helps them blend in. Basically, when a dying spirit exits, the time traveler moves into the empty “skin,” while their "up-time" body goes into "stasis." 

The only hitch is the randomness of the process. Obviously, it is less than ideal when Seattle moves into Ava after she OD’s at a party and Lancer, her partner in romance and covert operations assumes control of a twenty-ish college student after a hazing incident. However, Ava might not have fully died. Although nobody can see her, she haunts Seattle and Lancer like a ghost.

It takes an awfully long time for the film to get to this point, like fortysome minutes. Still, the mixture of science fiction and woo-woo elements is a fresh wrinkle. Unfortunately, Stasis can never get out of the long shadow cast by the Terminator franchise, especially when the Cabal sends back a “Hunter” to track Seattle and Lancer.

Not to belabor the point, but there are some awkward performances in Stasis. On the plus side, Richard Lippert stands out again in a B-movie for his commanding presence, this time playing the rebels’ “down-time” commander, Captain Suthers. Based on his work in Stasis and The Covenant, he could become something like the next Michael Ironside. The others you might say are more hit-and-miss.

Yes, the premise has promise, but the execution would serve better as a TV pilot, because after all that happens, hardly anything changes. Seriously, they have to move the ball further down the field than this. For a thematically-similar, but more character-driven time travel film, check out Alexis Boling’s Movement + Location instead. We wanted to feel more for Stasis, but it is just totally underwhelming. For time travel sub-genre fanatics, Stasis is now available on VOD platforms, including iTunes.

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