Sunday, January 01, 2006
by Caballero Oscuro
Let's review the basic concepts of Cleopatra 2525.
Hot chicks? Check.
Skimpy costumes? Check.
Sci-fi with lots of action? Check.
Exec produced by Sam Spider-man Raimi? Check.
So on paper, this series would appear to have the basic ingredients needed to satisfy most adolescent and mentally adolescent male viewers, right? Surprisingly, the answer is a resounding no.
The show focuses on the futuristic adventures of a pair of sexy freedom fighters who discover a girl who's been cryogenically frozen for 500 years, thaw her out, and get her to join their merry band of warriors. Their only problem is that she's a ditzy, annoying exotic dancer with no fighting skills...ok, really no skills of any kind. It's absolutely mind-boggling that these two tough, focused fighters would bother to keep Cleopatra around for more than 5 minutes without summarily dispatching her back to the freezer, especially when she regularly lets out high-pitched shrieks at least once an episode. She is so clueless and so lame that it actuallycomes as no surprise when she proves to have no exotic dancing skills in a pole-dancing episode.
Cleopatra aside, the other two leads are convincingly babealicious and really the only semi-decent reasons to watch this show. They shoot guns, get in fights, and perform some dazzling stunts that make them believable in their tough roles. Apparently one of the girls gets their mission instructions from a voice named "Voice" implanted in her head, and they all have no problem following her orders even though they really don't seem to know anything about the Voice.
All we know is that flying robots have taken over the surface of the earth, forcing humans underground to fight for survival. The episodes are mostly self-contained plots (using "plot" very loosely here), so viewers can usually jump in at any episode without fear of missing out on backstory.
Although this was originally a low-budget Sci-Fi Channel show, the effects and sets are subpar for even the low expectations set by similar campy fantasy shows like Mutant X, Andromeda, and Farscape. The limited CGI creatures are blurry and boring, the costumed creatures look like leftovers from Land of the Lost, and the sets look suspiciously like converted Public Storage units.
The DVD collection contains the whole series, which isn't much since it was apparently cancelled within a year of its debut. The series ends on a semi-cliffhanger, but there's really not much that needed to be wrapped up in future episodes so there's no danger of feeling cheated at the end. The barely-there extras are brief outtakes and deleted scenes, as well as an episode of another forgotten show called Earth2 in case viewers were desperate for more bad sci-fi after finishing this series.
Cleopatra 2525 could have been a cult hit, but with a terrible lead actress, horrendous stories, and completely unbelievable effects, there's really nothing therefor anyone to appreciate.