I love scifi and horror. Ever since I was a kid even some of the most cringe-worthy scifi and horror films of the 80’s and 90’s remain favorites of mine to this day. From Return of the Living Dead to Night of the Comet, I would watch them all. If they were combined, all the better in my book. Some of my favorites came from a company called Full Moon Video. Full Moon produced such greats as Trancers, Puppet Master and many others providing tons of low budget goodness that you would never see in theaters.
Today’s film, Transit 17 would have fit perfectly in the realm of the direct to video world of the 80’s and 90’s and could have even been distributed by Full Moon themselves. Not because it is a bad film but because it is nothing but pure low-budget goodness. So without further delay, this is Transit 17.
With the world devastated by what amounts to a Zombie Virus, the survivors hide out in secret military cells known as ‘transits’ controlled by a harsh dictator known as General Ratzinger (played by Jean-Paul Van der Velde). However, when a young woman who might be the cure to the outbreak emerges, it is up to a group of ‘freedom fighters’ led by Tex (played by Guy Bleyaert) to get the 15 year old girl to a safe location so a cure can be synthesized.
Also starring Zara Phythian, Silvio Simac, Lee Charles, Kimberly Stahl, Stephanie Joosten, John Glanders, and Lucas Tavernier, Transit 17 a scifi/horror that is perfect for a B-movie night.
With a plot-line ripped right out of the Playstation classic The Last Of Us, Transit 17 is a film filled with nothing but tropes. From the stereotypical ultra muscular 80’s villain (played by martial artist Silvio Simac) to a zombie like plague posing as a threat, it is almost as if the filmmakers set out to pay homage to every single scifi-horror story they could come up with. Even the leader of the oppressive (and hardly used) military faction known as the Sniffers appears as an imposing hologram not unlike a certain other scifi film franchise with oppressive governments as a foe. While the use of these tropes is not necessarily a bad thing on the surface, the fact that every character in the film seem to be plagued with an exposition virus in addition to the ‘zombie’ plague makes some of the scenes carry on a little too long. Sometimes I wondered if they planned to talk the enemies to death.
Using the classic ‘save the cure carrier’ trope , Transit 17 is a very ‘by the book story’ that really feels like the pilot to a failed syfy original series. This is in no way a blockbuster film seeing that most of the cast are just phoning in their roles while playing in quasi-militart gear but it is abundantly obvious that they are having a marvelous time doing it. At best it feels like it is a fun passion project for most of the cast, and just a paycheck for the rest. Interestingly the best actors in the film are that of Stephanie Joosten and Lee Charles both who end up with little screen time and roles that could have been edited out without much notice. Joosten just so happens to have been in the video game Metal Gear Solid 5 in the role of Quiet while Charles has had quite the career always playing a heavy of some sort. You can be sure we will see more of them in the future.
It is obvious that this is a labor of love for a team of filmmakers so I will not be overly critical. They put a ton of work in it with what I am sure with the shoestring budget they had they did their best. Because of this, the film never really becomes unwatchable, just very lampoon-able. Honestly I would be surprised if it didn’t end up on riff-tracks or MST3K at some point. Belgian Actor and Director Guy Bleyaert looks like he really enjoys what he does and, to be fair, this is far better than anything his contemporary Uwe Boll ever put together.
The Bottom Line
Everything aside, this is a prime modern B-film that is perfect for any B-movie fan. There is a lot to like about Transit 17 even though it is not a traditionally ‘good’ film. It really does feel like the pilot to a low budget tv series that never got off the ground and I will be honest, I kinda want to see what happens to the characters afterwards.
As I mentioned earlier, everything about this film is low budget but, had it had a tighter editing, it could have been something pretty solid. There is a decent story in the film that only drowns in the ridiculous amount of dialogue. If you like B-scifi/horror then this is a film for you. It’s rough around the edges but fully embraces it’s flaws like badges of honor. This is a movie that is fully aware that it will never be a blockbuster and it is completely okay with that, so really, you should be too.
You can catch this film on pretty much any digital platform on October 22nd and on DVD in December. Be sure to look for it if you need something fun and silly to watch.
Thanks for reading!
Late To The Game 10/28/2019
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