Turbulent Skies Fred Olen Ray

Turbulent Skies Fred Olen Ray
Low-budget auteur Fred Olen Ray has been responsible for over 100 films, under a variety of aliases, throughout his 25-year career. You've likely seen bits of Fred Olen Ray films completely by accident, particularly on late night cable. Turbulent Skies is one of seven films credited to Ray released in 2010, and as the saying goes, you can see every dollar up on the screen. Turbulent Skies is a "killer computer" movie, the prototype for which is, of course, HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The homicidal computer in question here is the CD70, developed by a company called Devair to fly planes without the help of pilots, thus eliminating the possibility of human error. Of course, things don't go as planned. Movies like Turbulent Skies are made to look like versions of films with much larger budgets that open in thousands of theatres. They sit on video store shelves, enticing viewers with relatively striking covers, sitting next to the blockbusters that start with the same letter. It's neither outrageously, entertainingly bad, nor a hidden gem that works wonders with its miniscule budget; it just is. Turbulent Skies stars Casper Van Dien, Nicole Eggert and Patrick Muldoon, each doing their level best with a moribund script cobbled together from clichés from other movies, and the great Brad Dourif classes things up a bit in a supporting role. It moves at a decent clip and despite errors in logic and continuity, is oddly watchable, if only because the clichés it uses actually work. But it's also humourless, and for movies like this to be successful they need to have a heightened sense of their absurdity. Mostly, Turbulent Skies is another disposable piece of product, but when you make seven movies a year, you're bound to have a few duds. (Anchor Bay)