Plot: What’s it about?
As the world goes about its usual business, the crew of the Nemesis Missile Station are in orbit around the planet, with nuclear weapons at their fingertips. The crew consists of two men and a woman, who are charged with keeping control over the onboard nuclear weapons and of course, being able to use them if and when that time should arise. Soon enough, the world below them explodes into World War III and this is one heck of a battle, to be sure. The population is decimated, nuclear war reaches full tilt, and when all is said & done, the world has been ravaged and turned into a massive wasteland. The Nemesis Missile Station remains above it all for some time, but eventually it begins to head back to the surface, but not in a normal landing pattern, not by any means. The device is set to crash land back on Earth and of course, this could mean bad news for the crew. But all three manage to survive the crash and once they land, they realize what a barren, dangerous place the world has become. The three were able to make it through a rough landing and stint in space, but will they be able to survive whatever is roaming this giant wasteland?
This movie has a good premise, but lacks the budget to deliver on the promises, which left me disappointed. I’d seen this movie on cable a few times and wondered if some bits were cut for broadcast, but most of the film remained intact, which was a let down. I think a film like this can be made without massive special effects and such, but you have to have great writing and acting to do so, neither of which Def-Con 4 has. In truth, the writing here is pretty average and fails to live up to the premise, while the acting is downright vile at times, not too cool. The cast is a pretty unknown lot, but I suppose under the conditions, no major stars would take on the roles, which I can totally understand. I wanted to like Def-Con 4 to be sure, as I love a good “end of the world” flick, but this one just never takes off and seems tied down from the start, thanks to what looks to be a very limited budget. The acting is bad, the writing is average at best, and the production values don’t keep pace with the material, all of which leads me to dislike this picture. But if you’re a nut for these kind of movies, then give this a rental and judge for yourselves.
Video: How does it look?
Def-Con 4 is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The image here isn’t reference level by any means, but I never expected Def-Con 4 to look this good. The print used has some flaws, but never to an extreme degree, although some scenes do show more grain than I’d like. Even so, the basic elements don’t suffer much and as such, I won’t complain too much about those small problems. The contrast is starker and more refined than expected, while colors remain bright, not as dated as I had counted on. This is a very solid treatment for this 1985 flick, which most studios would have just rushed out, if they released it at all, that is.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track is dated and limited as you’d expect, but it gets the job done and that’s what counts here. The audio is a little thin at times, but as far as mono goes, I was pleased with how this option turned out. The various sound effects were clean and well placed, but held back due to the mono limits, though not to an extreme degree. I suppose a few scenes could use a surround sound boost, but I think this mono option is adequate, on the whole. No serious problems with the dialogue either, as the vocals come through in clean and always easy to understand fashion. This disc also includes English captions, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.