In space, no one can hear you drop the soap in the prison shower! Incoming, a Serbia-lensed (and most obviously, Serbia-budgeted) film features a concept so stunningly stupid, you’re amazed it took all the way until 2018 for a bottom-feeding action movie to come up with it!
You know how we got all these terrorists running around these days? And how we need information from the ones we capture about their future plans and organizational structure? But since they’re hard core fanatics, they usually aren’t willing to provide any useful intel even when we offer sweet deals such as reducing their sentence from 114 life sentences to 99 life sentences?
We also can’t go all Jack Bauer on them because everyone with a conscience starts screaming about the Geneva Convention! Heck, it’s gotten so bad on the terror fighting front that people even complain when we call torture “enhanced interrogation” instead! Damn, when did everyone get so sensitive?
What’s a freedom loving country to do when wimpy judges and politicians handcuff our boys from protecting us against the vermin who take a giant dump all over everything we hold dear, like the Super Bowl, hip mega churches and all night gourmet cookie dough stores? Enter the black site, an off-the-books detention facility hosted in secret by friendly countries who don’t mind if Uncle Sam has to roll up his sleeves on some terror turds.
But for the Wolfpack, a gang of eastern European terrorists who blew up Big Ben in London, not just any black site will do. This one not only has to be off-the-books, but also off the whole damn planet! That’s right, the always enterprising intelligence community realized that the International Space Station was the ultimate black site they could use to torture the Wolfpack until they gave up their leader, Alpha! Why? Because it’s in space dude! We all know everything is ten times more awesome when it’s space! (Test it out with your own movie pitch: it’s like Kramer vs. Kramer… but in space! It’s like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective… but in space! Is it too early to reserve my tickets to that double feature?)
What’s really great about how Incoming uses the ISS as its space prison is how the fact that the prison is on the ISS contributes absolutely nothing to the actual extraction of information from the prisoners. There’s just five guys in separate cells and the single staff member of the ISS tortures them periodically from his command center. (Sometimes a movie is so low budget that it can’t even legitimately hide the fact it simply can’t hire a few warm bodies to at least attempt to pretend otherwise. Incoming, with its “one guy running the ISS” absurdity is just that type of film.)
Reiser (Scott Adkins from Close Range and Ninja) is the CIA agent who travels to the ISS with Dr. Stone (Michelle Lehane in a career-killing role that will only be remembered for the silly yoga pants she wore on the trip) and shuttle pilot Bridges, a character saddled with lots of dialogue in a desperate effort to make sense of the dodgy plot for the audience.
Dr. Stone is to conduct the regular medical exam of the inmates, while Reiser is expecting to submit a report based on her findings to recommend closing the ISS black site prison. In five years, no progress has been made in cracking any of the terrorists as to who Alpha is. Except Reiser and the CIA have known who Alpha is for the last 3 and a half years! Dang! Did we forget to email you that? Sorry bro.
Sure, we could whine that Reiser saying that the whole point of the ISS black site was to enable some type of global surveillance system to be put into place sounds a bit like saying that the whole point of me having a dog is so that I can buy a new car! What does one have to do with the other? But you ‘ll have to have that deep philosophical debate by yourself because that bleeding heart Dr. Stone has gone and accidentally caused a jailbreak of all the terrorists! I knew yoga pants in a prison was nothing but trouble!
And guess what? One of them can pilot a shuttle! And he does what any of us would in that situation does – he immediately comes up with a plan to use the shuttle as a power source to launch the whole ISS like a missile straight at Moscow! Why Reiser didn’t just light up a stogie and fist bump that dude for that plan, I’ll never figure out!
Periodic battles between the prisoners and Reiser’s crew break out with the terrorists slowly killed before everyone retreats back to their respective parts of the space station. (I think there’s like four sets in the whole movie, including the hilarious mission control set on earth that appears to be taking place in some nerd’s tiny basement.)
Somehow despite having a decent notion of what I was in for with Incoming, I was left terribly disappointed by it. Surely, a simpler story that didn’t waste so much time in a feeble attempt to unravel itself would have left more opportunities for some high quality action scenes from Adkins. He did eventually have some fights but because of the limitations of the ISS (or at least the ISS sets) they were all pretty much the same knife, punch, choke stuff.
Worse though was that if your movie is starring Scott Adkins and absolutely no one else (Aaron McClusker, Vahidin Prelic? Really?) why make Adkins such an unlikable interstellar douche? If you are intentionally watching Incoming, it’s to see Atkins kick ass.
And for the story to require that his character somehow be killed in a fight with the doctor, after he killed most of the terrorists by himself is easily the least believable (aside from the throwaway line purportedly explaining why none of this is taking place in zero gravity) part of this whole B-movie black hole. Incoming never achieves lift off, its dumb and unpleasant characters abetted by a story and action scenes equally lacking in anything resembling entertainment in this or any other galaxy combine to make it nothing more than a launchpad disaster stretched out over 90 numbing minutes.
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