Homegrown science fiction adventure film Arrowhead brings a lot of ambition to the table but little else. For fans of the genre, it’s a bold step forward into disappointingly familiar territory.
Directed and written by Jesse O’Brien, the film follows Kye (Dan Mor), a prisoner of war between two interstellar factions locked in political conflict. Kye is rescued from a prison camp and offered the chance to earn his freedom by participating in a secret mission. Thing so south, and Kye ends up stranded on a seemingly-deserted moon.
It’s unfortunate that the complex and morally-grey civil war of the film’s backdrop becomes sidelined for a more individual story of survival. The worldbuilding in the earlier sections of the film does a great job of drawing you in. The story of Kye’s survival doesn’t. The film doesn’t invest in the logistics or details of extraterrestrial colonization and as a result, it’s hard to become invested in the challenges he faces.
It all drags on a little too long. The special effects initially appear impressive but quickly becoming tiring. Same goes for the film’s locations, which all feel too similar and it doesn’t take long for a lack of creative direction to grate at the attention you’re giving the film.
Mor does a reasonable job of carrying the film but doesn’t bring a lot of personality to the role. Shaun Micallef injects some fun into the film as the AI persona REEF but aside from that, the performances feel little pretty stale. The characters are always pushing the plot forward but the script never looks back long enough to let us learn about and bond with them.
Arrowhead is an impressive feat of filmmaking by young Australian director Jesse O’Brien but it makes for a pretty underwhelming watch. There are some interesting ideas lurking in the backdrop of this film but, for the most part, it’s a forgettable slog. Arrowhead keeps things too simple and pays the price.
Review Score: TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Arrowhead is available on DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray.