Film Review: Ultimate Limit / Deadly Skies

Take a good look at the cover art (I know the image is small). See that wonderful destruction going on? None of that happens in the film. Nothing even vaguely close to that happens in the film! I feel cheated. Welcome to the lunacy that is Ultimate Limit (Deadly Skies in the US)…

The Premise

A meteor heading for a near miss with Earth is hiding another smaller meteor behind it that will play peekaboo and hit the Earth. As you are reminded throughout, its a matter of life and death!

The Disasters Faced

Incoming meteors and the risk of dying of old age waiting for Michael Moriarty to complete a sentance.

The Execution

Another TV movie pretending to mix it with the big time, the UK release felt a little bit confused and choppy in places. It wasn’t until I actually researched about it afterwards I found out why. Ultimate Limit (UK release) see’s our man man and lady Antonio Sabato Jr and Rae Dawn Chong end up falling for eachother in a very clumsy two scene way. Deadly Skies (the US version) see’s Antonio’s character gay with his lover being Michael Boisvert, who suddenly appears with a “he’s with me” half way through the UK version and has his character all but chopped out! Suddenly random fades and scene cuts, long shots of Chong driving a little red car about and missing pieces suddenly slot together as the scenes are all re-edited to change the characters arc. Having now seen both versions, Deadly Skies feels a much more rounded and complete experience and should be the one you opt for. How strange though, that in this day and age, the company felt the need to film practically two films, with two endings. If you need to comprimise, then recut the sex scene Sabato and Boisvert have and remove the nudity. It left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth knowing that the film had been so altered.

Aside from this, the “action” all takes place in the opening credits. I’d geared myself up for a good TV movie and then watched as pacing, script and hammy acting took over. Hammy acting actually makes the film infinitely more watchable and Rae Dawn Chong obviously is taking everything at face value and just enjoying the silliness of it all. It’s Michael Moriarty’s character Dutton however that takes the biscuit, slowly… deliberately… barely… saying… each…word… at…a….time! It’s no where near as awful as some classics but its so offputting in what’s meant to be a race against time, surely everyone would have had an hour to spare if he just talked faster!

After the meteor is discovered and no one listens, the film basically ends up a low budget sneak in the military base movie and while it doesn’t really do anything awfully, there’s nothing that surpasses or goes beyond anything any other TV movie has done before, leaving the film easily forgotten.

The Effects

There is one explosion of a car (complete with foreign “oh my god!”) and a few passable shots of a meteor making its way to Earth. Apart from that, I had to say the finale set in the lazer room looked quite impressive in scale.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Watch both versions to see how manipulative the whole ordeal is. The acting varies dramatically from scene to scene which makes for some amusing moments, plus there’s some interesting fade to black usage in the early parts of the film which don’t fit in at all. If you can get the US version, its a novelty to have gay action heroes and not have some massive game changing plot line too, for which the film can be commended for.

Best Death

No one human dies… just a poor giraffe!!! In the best special effect shot, a giraffe looks up to see a small piece of space rock plunge down onto it! RSPCA beware!

Favourite Character

Rae Dawn Chong does cheesy b-movie with such gusto she wins this one.

Weirdest Moment

Giraffe should win the award but some of the over-the-top delivery from Michael Moriarty is helerious. He should be hired to do movie trailer voice overs if he doesn’t do them already!

Conclusion

All the bits that set the film apart in Deadly Skies ends up being castrated in Ultimate Limit (a title that has no relevance to the film at all). Absolutely mediocre, devoid of any real disaster at all and runs so much on rails (“try the card agaiiin!!!” screams Chong as we have a 5 minute panic scene of someone swiping a secruity pass) it manages to fall in every TV movie trap available. Not awful enough to warrent compulsive viewing, no way near good enough to recommend. For disaster enthusiasts only.

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