Film Review: The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One

A father searches for his little girl on a blasted future planet in this wild mishmash of human and inhuman monsters.
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Where many science-fiction/action moves have too little plot and too many high-octane action sequences, the loftily titled, Australian-made The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One suffers from the exact opposite. There's a prison planet wracked with plots to escape and fiendish efforts to break men's minds and souls; hard-drinking Kane Sommerville (Daniel MacPherson), a father trying to atone for the bad things he's done by rescuing his little girl, Indi (Teagan Croft); a horrible plot to create monstrous turtle-men for some ghastly reason; a corporate project to build a new world from the ground up; tattooed, space-redneck step-siblings Bill and Gyp (Luke Ford and Isabel Lucas); a monstrous manmade virus wreaking havoc on a planet that's just been colonized; ex-con/nurse Lombrok (Kellan Lutz); steely General Lynex (Rachel Griffiths), who's just following orders, and much, much more… Osiris Child could easily be a multi-chapter serial and it's actually structured like one, with the ultimate goal being to take shelter in a deluxe bunker in the middle of nowhere before all hell busts loose.

There's a whole lot of the later Mad Max films in Osiris Child's look and action, but with a refreshing lack of cynical nihilism. Characters come and go, but on the whole they look out for one another and the acting is surprisingly polished. They're not all sterling examples of humanity, but most of them are better than Indi's cynical observation that "my father always said you could never trust a person who needed something from you." And the practical creature effects—imagine monster shell-less turtles—are pretty great. The more you try to parse the plot, the less sense it makes; there's just too much going on crammed into too little time. But if there's one thing The Osiris Child isn't, it's boring…if anything, it's a bit overwhelming, as though director and co-writer Shane Abbess (with Brian Cachia) were afraid they were never going to get another chance to realize their ideas and tried to cram them all into 99 minutes of screen time.

Overall, The Osiris Child is surprisingly smart and polished, though overpraising it would be a mistake; it's the kind of movie best discovered without fanfare and hype, the way Mad Max was. That kind of surprise leaves viewers clamoring for more rather than wondering what all the fuss was about and makes room for a bigger, flashier sequel like, say, The Road Warrior.

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