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Movie Review

Futuristic fighter pilot Lt. Christopher Blair joins an interstellar war to fight against the evil Kilrathi who are trying to destroy the universe—specifically Earth. Based on a video game, Wing Commander merges copycat Star Wars imagery (space fighters, mother ships, light-speed travel) with Hunt for Red October-esque submarine-warfare (at one point, despite the fact that space is a vacuum through which no sound travels, our heroes creep quietly around their ship in the hopes that the stalking enemy won't hear them).

Positive Elements: While not deeply developed, racism is exposed for the simple-minded bigotry that it is. Blair is a half-breed (half Human, half Pilgrim). The dying Pilgrim race is both revered and reviled for its innate ability to navigate the dangerous reaches of asteroid fields and quasars. This skill was honed by years of space travel. The Pilgrims were, in fact, the first to explore space. Blair has never understood why people treat him differently than his peers. Other positive elements include the nobility of standing up for what you believe in (in this case, Earth) and learning the value of remembering those who have given their lives for the "cause."

Sexual Content: Todd "Maniac" Marshall has "implied" sex with a female fighter pilot. Visually, it appears that the two have merely been "making out," but their conversation afterward indicates more involvement than a casual kiss or two. Sexual innuendo abounds, including references to masturbation and "having balls."

Violent Content: Sci-fi space fighting generates explosions galore, but very little explicit violence here. A scene or two of hand-to-hand combat provides some intense moments, but again, nothing extreme transpires. Todd's girlfriend crashes her fighter on the runway and is killed.

Crude or Profane Language: Multiple uses of the s-word. Oddly enough, other than that distinctly distasteful word and a half-dozen uses of h---, very little profane language arises.

Drug and Alcohol Content: The flight crew drinks scotch on one occasion.

Summary: Any movie based on a video game is immediately doomed to the level of arcane amusement that the game itself renders. Fans of the game will no doubt race to see its spawned film. But even they may come away disappointed. The rest of the world needn't even bother. Wing Commander's flimsy, retread plot competes with excessively shallow character development to sabotage its mission: an exciting and enjoyable movie experience. Lameness notwithstanding, families should use discretion because of the implied sexual content and foul language.

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