The big-screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent performed about as expected. Despite it falling short of the opening weekend grosses of Summit’s previous Twilight (2008) opener or parent company Lions Gate’s Hunger Games (2012), and getting lukewarm reviews, the somewhat cynical opinion was ‘result achieved’ as it easily took the #1 weekend position. (Although director Neil Burger will not be returning for future sequels.)

The film did strike more than a few notes of teenage angst-authenticity amidst the rather labored constructs of dystopian allegory. Shailene Woodley’s acting–immersed life serves her well here, and the inspired casting of Miles Teller, her ambivalently-romantic foil in The Spectacular Now (2013), as an adversary adds an extra element of speculative undercurrent that is sadly under-exploited. Divergent’s actual romantic interest for Woodley, Greek-Brit Theo James (Downton Abbey, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger), comes off a bit like a younger, back-tattooed Sawyer (Josh Holloway) from Lost, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Wedlock, aka Deadlock, (1991), available on FilmOn’s free VOD service, is an interesting prototype for this genre from a generation ago, before the demands of the ‘YA’ market took precedence over all. Made for HBO in the wake of the massive success of the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicles Total Recall (1990) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), and later ripped-off in many ways by Sylvester Stallone’s Demolition Man (1993), the film also portrays a more adult version of futuristic Hollywood romance than Divergent does, even as the special effects pale in comparison.

One might be tempted to call it quaint, but not quite. The lead performances by the always surprising Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, Batman Begins) and Mimi Rogers (coming off her post-Tom Cruise, career-best performance in Michael Tolkin’s The Rapture) are remarkably and believably earthy for what in many ways is an over-the-top, sci-fi actioner directed by Lewis Teague (Jewel of the Nile, Cujo, Navy Seals).

Hauer and Rogers’ timelessly genuine quality is supported by all-too-brief cameos by Grant L. Bush (Colors, Die Hard), and O-Lan Jones (The Right Stuff, Miracle Mile, Edward Scissorhands), while the warped and often humorous dystopian element is ably provided by the likes of James Remar (The Warriors, Sex and the City, Django Unchained), Joan Chen (on her Twin Peaks riff), Basil Wallace (Marked For Death, Blood Diamond), an early cameo by Danny Trejo and a rare large (and living large) film part for the hilariously annoying Stephen Tobolowsky (Spaceballs, Groundhog Day, Memento, Glee, Californication).

Topping it off sonically is an interesting early score by Richard Gibbs, who followed Danny Elfman, his former bandleader in Oingo Boingo, into film work. His career highlights besides Wedlock including composing the music to The Simpson’s first season and later, the theme music to the iconic Battlestar Galactica reboot.

Watch Now

You can watch more sci-fi films on Threshold via FilmOn:

For more streaming TV and movies, visit FilmOn.

Follow TV Mix on Twitter: @tvmixusa

Contact TV Mix: