0 out of 4 stars
There are numerous threads on the Internet that allege that Toxic Skies was “banned” from American theaters because of its controversial plot about giant drug corporations intentionally causing the world’s population to suffer from diminished immune systems (via contaminated commercial airline “chemtrails“), thereby increasing their dependency on the drug manufacturers’ product.
I’ve got news for you, guys. Toxic Skies isn’t the first film to suggest that Big Government, The Military and/or Big Business are out to get us. See: every movie ever made for more examples of this. And no, it wasn’t “banned” because it hit a little too close to home. It wasn’t released because it is terrible. Hollywood had to atone for the sins of Transformers 2 and part of the penance included holding back at least one travesty from wide release.
The biggest problem with Toxic Skies–apart from wooden acting, unnatural dialogue and a shitty script–is that it doesn’t have the good sense to be outrageously over-the-top in the way that any halfway decent disaster film demands.
Netflix’s synopsis includes mention of actor Kevin McNulty in a starring role, an inclusion that is misleading in that I selectively read it to mean Jimmy McNulty of The Wire. I spent a solid 45 minutes waiting for Dominic West to appear sloshing around the screen in a denim blazer and sharing his intel on Avon’s crew’s next re-up. Didn’t happen.
McNutty’s absence is one of many, many, failures on the part of Toxic Skies, a film so dull that it admittedly doesn’t deserve the gift of my–or anyone else’s–ire. Toxic Skies doesn’t understand that it is garbage and therefore fails to live up to embarrassingly low expectations.
Here’s the thing: making a good bad movie is an art form. It’s also akin to a game. A little self-awareness (see: Spring Break Shark Attack) ensures you’ll get it in the goal most of the time, but too much winking at the camera (see: Legends of the Bog.) and you’ll be so distracted with self-appreciation that you neglect to follow the rules of the game and wind up sidelined with a game-ending injury.
A bad film that vaguely senses somewhere deep down inside itself that it is terrible but tries to forge ahead with a straight-faced delivery of an Important Message is like a pitcher that intentionally wails softballs at the spectator’s face for 92 consecutive minutes. It’s not a pretty sight, particularly when the viewer refuses to get up from the game and at least dampen the assault on their frontal lobe.
I was that viewer while watching Toxic Skies. Bound by some masochistic duty to “see this thing through to the end,” I suffered through the entirety of the Anne Heche star-remaking vehicle. I sat (and fidgeted and sorted laundry) waiting for some redeeming quality to emerge; something to justify this wasted Wednesday evening.
Alas, there was nothing more than a conspiracy thriller that takes seriously its job to point a shining light on the greed, malfeasance and wanton corruption of the government, military and big pharmacutical companies. And also, the alarming frequency of parking structure car chases.
Toxic Skies is a boring failure most likely because the filmmaker honestly believed in the subject matter. Sincerity is a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. See: Boot Camp for examples of this.
Or better yet, don’t.
– Rental Rehab review by Tricia