Oblivion (1994, directed by Sam Irvin)

In the far, far future, Earth has set up colonies all across the universe.  One of those colonies is the dusty town of Oblivion, which looks just like an old west town except the deputy is a cyborg and there’s an ATM outside the saloon.  A humanoid lizard named Red Eye (Andrew Divoff, covered in green scales) comes to town and kills the marshal.  Red Eye and his gang take over Oblivion, planning to turn it into their own personal pleasure palace.

The marshal’s son, Zack (Richard Joseph Paul), comes to town for the old man’s funeral.  Everyone thinks that Zack is a coward because he refuses to avenge his father’s death.  Zack, however, is no coward.  He’s just an empath who can’t handle the negative emotion that are generated by violence.  But seeing as how his father is dead, his best friend Buteo (Jimmie F. Skaggs) is being tortured in the town square, and lovely Mattie Chase (Jackie Swanson) wants Red Eye and his gang to get out of town, Zack knows that he’s going to have to do the right thing and conquer his empathy.

Oblivion is a haphazard mix of comedy, science fiction, and the western genre.  Some of the ideas come close to being clever but it never makes sense why an Earth colony in 3031 would resemble a one-horse town from a singing cowboy movie.  (The film probably would have worked better if it had been about Red Eye invading an actual Old West town in the 1800s instead of a colony designed to look like one.)  Andrew Divoff is entertaining as he hams it up as the main desperado but, as far Old West charisma is concerned, Richard Joseph Paul is no John Wayne or Henry Fonda.  Quite a few familiar names were somehow roped into appearing in this low-budget space oater, though most of them only appear for a few minutes and don’t contribute much to the overall story.  George Takei plays the alcoholic town doctor.  Julie Newmar is Miss Kitty, the owner of Oblivion’s “social” club.  In a nod to her most famous role, Newmar hisses at Red Eye and his gang but that’s all she gets to do.  It feels like a waste of a cameo.  Isaac Hayes and Meg Foster also make appearances, though again neither really gets to do anything interesting.

The idea of a space western isn’t a bad one and there actually have been a few good ones.  (Outland, for example.)  But Oblivion can never escape the drag of its low budget and its bland lead.

One response to “Oblivion (1994, directed by Sam Irvin)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 1/30/23 — 2/5/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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