Worst. Vacation. Ever.
This year’s Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to two scientists who were (and still are) paving new paths in the world of optical physics. Man, oh man, I wish they had been involved in this week’s movie. I’m not an expert in the world of physics, but the equation just isn’t balancing. Something ain’t right. And for that reason, I’m going to recap this sucker. You know what that means!
Our movie this week is Termination Point which stars 80’s/90’s heart-throbs, Jason Priestley (of 90210 fame) and Lou Diamond Phillips (of Young Guns fame). Both are way older now so they look less like heart-throbs and more like grown up folks who make questionable airline choices. I digress…
The film opens with a scene in which a jet engine crashes through a barn roof. It’s very ill-timed because it totally interrupts the teenagers rounding 2nd base in the hayloft. Outside, the farmland is littered with debris from what looks like a passenger jet. There’s an emergency door, some charred bodies, and before you can say “Donnie Darko” a singed scrap of paper that turns out to be a boarding pass DATED FOR TOMORROW!!!
The sky turns dark and the clouds open up in a sort of vortex. There are also lightning strikes that act more like Dalek attacks and they cause whatever they touch to vanish. It’s like the sky is screaming “EXTERMINATE!!!”
Cue the opening credits!!! Let me say right here and now that this movie is obviously supposed to be in the science fiction genre, and the filmmakers want emphasis on the science–but not too much! The opening credit segment is in pink. VERY pink…like, um…pink. They are also science-like with images of graphs and charts. There’s also lasers.
Around the time your retinas are burned out, the movie starts back up again. We learn that something called the Alpha String Project (ASP) has gone missing. This immediately throws a variety of covert government/military folks into a tizzy.
Meanwhile at the airport, Jason Priestley boards a plane bound for Mexico City. Priestley plays Caleb Smith: a man on vacation with his family. Lou Diamond Phillips boards too. He is a scientist named Daniel Winter. He’s over the Alpha String Project and works for STC. We learn Caleb is in security. We never really learn what STC is. I’m not even certain if that’s Caleb’s employer or Winter’s. It’s never very clear, and is just one of many details the movie never fleshes out for us.
If you recall, the ASP has gone missing. Guess who gets the call? Caleb! He tells his wife and daughter to enjoy their flight, and that he’ll meet up with them via a later flight. Caleb checks in with his assistant, Allison (who might be at the STC office–I don’t know!!!), and learns that it’s Winter who totally stole the ASP.
Caleb and his security team bust into Winter’s house. The house is clear, but there are crazy person murals all over the place along with a list of aliases for Winter and pictures of Caleb’s wife and daughter–odd. They also find a crazy person video where Winter explains that he’s doing what he’s doing because he has no choice and so on and so forth. He claims the government wants to militarize the ASP and that would “bring about a catastrophe.” Allison runs the aliases and one pops up on that flight with Caleb’s family.
Thank you for flying Sky Wing Airlines. We hope you have a pleasant flight. We return to the plane where the seatbelt light has just turned off. Caleb’s daughter (Sarah) stands in the world’s longest airplane bathroom queue. What did these people eat/drink before takeoff? Some skeezy guy flirts with Sarah and he’s just creepy. Then the air marshal steps in the shuts that down. Ha!
Meanwhile, the pilots are finally alerted to a possible security threat on their plan. They are to standby for a fighter intercept and escort. Great day to go into work! The Captain announces that they are having a mechanical issue and need to turn the plane around. Winter isn’t buying it. He pulls out some strange gizmo and we get a shot of some crate in the hold.
Back on the ground, Caleb is arguing with his boss, Quinn. Quinn had earlier received word from the President that the flight was expendable. Orders have been given to shoot the plane down. We also learn that the ASP is a teleporter.
Quinn issues the orders to fire on the plane. Meanwhile, Winter uses his Blackberry (cause they can dress it up, but that’s what it is) to activate the teleporter. The fighters shoot the plane. At this point, Priestley works up some real tears–maybe. Hard to tell. But he appears very upset.
Let me introduce you to Joshua at the STC (???) office. He has the best job in the whole movie. He gets to tell us what the plan is. He’ll pop up from time to time. I just thought you ought to meet. Joshua announces that while we all saw the explosion in the sky, the hit was not confirmed. Then we learn that the plane’s transponder is in a debris field (the farm) and Caleb is on his way. Fun fact: the debris field farm is over 100 miles away from where the plane was shot down. You do the math.
Caleb checks out the wreckage on the farm. He finds his daughter’s purse and asks where the bodies are. An agent working the site says the bodies were moved hours ago since the debris was found the day before. But per Caleb the plane just exploded within the last hour or so. Odd.
Quinn arrives and gets a talking to from Caleb. Quinn says there’s an odd chance that his family is still alive. They go into the situation tent. To review, the ASP is a teleporter and we see footage of a test on a lab rat. It works. Rat is teleported 3 feet. Wow. I’m sold.
We are also lectured on wormholes and null-space. A character I’m naming Young Assistant tells Caleb that they confirmed Winter took the machine and put it on the plane. Quinn’s theory is that Caleb’s family is existing in another dimension. Everyone totally goes with this theory. There are no questions; there are no naysayers in the field. The plane’s passengers–not all, but some–are still existing but they are outside of space and time for right now. And everyone’s cool with it.
Meanwhile, we cut back to the Schrödinger’s plane. Claire (Caleb’s wife) and Sarah are having a small freak out. The plan is half-empty. They look out the window and it’s all dark and lightning-like. They wonder what happened to the others. A popular theory is that they are all dead and this is what Hell must be like. Also, the pilots are missing, so the plane is sort of flying on its own.
Back on the farm, science equipment detects an atmospheric anomaly. This is so lame. Helicopters witness the swirling clouds of the vortex. Joshua asks one pilot if he needs to abort. When there’s no reply, Joshua does what everyone in movies on phones do when they don’t get the response they want. He stands up, and then leans forward with his hands on his desk and asks again in a more stern fashion. Like that makes a difference. Vortex lightning takes out the helicopter.
By the way, Joshua and everyone else refer to the vortex as the wormhole, so I will too. New theory. The wormhole that teleported the plane is too large to close, and is getting larger. Cue the disaster music!
We learn that there were two controllers for the machine. One was that Blackberry. The other is missing. It is thought that it’s with Winter’s girlfriend, Jasmine. Caleb and some guy show up at Jasmine’s place. There are cops inside only they aren’t really. They are hit-men. Caleb shoots one of them dead, but the other gets away. The nameless partner, however, is killed in the crossfire. Caleb locates Jasmine who is in dire need of medical attention. She is barely alive. but we manage to learn the other controller is in the bank.
Suspicious that there were hit-men at Jasmine’s place, Caleb worries that might be a mole in the organization. He relays this to Allison. Also, there is a new plan. The science folks want to use an EMP on the wormhole in hopes that it will shut it down or something. I’m really confused. I love science, but these folks keep jumping from plan to plan. I think they have no actual plan.
Back on the plane, air security guy and skeezy guy (who might actually also be air security) ask to speak with Dr. Winter. They accuse Winter of stealing sensitive equipment and activating it. Huh? How did they know what was on board? Something doesn’t smell right.
“This plane has been teleported into an alternate dimension.” If you want to read that sentence again you can. Cause that’s totally what Winter explains to the folks left on the plane. Folks who were seated nearest to the teleporter get to hear this explanation, because those who were not as near are now dead. Oh, and also, the wormhole is once again referred to as “vortex.” I wish people would make up their minds! AND, if the plane gets pulled into the vortex, they will be crushed to death. Awesome.
By now you might be saying, “well, let’s just teleport out of there and go home! Maybe Everybody Loves Raymond is on somewheres.” Ah, but you see, the power cells are damaged in the device, so now it’s fixing time. Sarah is the smallest so she gets to be the one to climb down into the hold and open the crate. Winter drops the handy info that the power cells are very unstable and could she refrain from jostling them too much. Otherwise, ka-boom. I
We also learn that air security guy and skeezy guy are evil henchmen hired to steal the ASP from Winter who literally just stole it from his workplace. I just want to make sure you are following.
On the ground, a pulse bomb has been sent into the wormhole but it does NOTHING except make the magnetic field stronger. Oops. Also, some character has now deduced that the vortex could destroy the plane. How they know that the plane is on a collision course with the vortex is anyone’s guess.
Caleb requests clearance to get into the bank vault of the now destroyed town of Eastboro. Just one scene earlier, the crazy vortex lightning took out everything in it’s path except for the bank. Very convenient. Caleb and the bank manager work to find the correct safe deposit box, but when they open it, it’s empty. Also, the fake cop hit-man from earlier shows back up to shoot up the place. Now Caleb is sure there’s a mole, but who??
We learn that the vortex is still growing. At this rate, it will keep growing until infinity, and then the entire universe will cease to exist. Bummer.
Stupid, well-meaning Allison tells Young Assistant guy that there might be a leak in the office’s security. Young guy tells her that Quinn is the leak which is pointless, because as soon as he and Allison walk out in to the hall, he kills her. So I guess he’s Evil Young Assistant guy now.
Back on the plane, fake air marshal and skeezy boy manage to shoot the flight attendant. The resulting scuffle causes Winter to drop his Blackberry and break it. So even though the teleport has been repaired and refueled, there’s no way to operate it. Oh, and that vortex is getting closer.
At this point, fake air marshal and skeezy boy are holding everyone captive. Since they are getting closer to the vortex, I guess time is out of joint or something. Ghostly images of two hours ago start appearing. So for example, that recently deceased flight attendant has shown back up as a ghost in First Class.
Regular Movie rule: The vehicle in which our hero drives can outrun any natural disaster. As Caleb drives all willy-nilly around the destroyed area, he has a brainstorm. He has a flashback to his daughter saving up for their vacation and realizes that the bank dying Jasmine spoke of, was a piggy bank in her room. While collecting the controller from Jasmine’s house Caleb gets to go through another shootout–this time with Evil Young Assistant guy. This time the vortex joins in and kills the evil assistant dude.
Joshua the all-knowing believes that they can erase a timeline. This is like the third new plan he’s come up with. They’ll open a wormhole (that’s right! They are calling it “wormhole” again) on the plane with the 2nd controller, and somehow that makes things better.
Back on the plane. A small wormhole appears in the bathroom. It’s Caleb to the rescue. He unties his wife and has her untie the other passengers. Skeezy goes to check out the noise. Caleb attacks and knocks him out. Fake air marshal shoots Caleb’s wife. At this point, the vortex lightning now gets into the plane and takes out a side of it. Skeezy gets zapped. Good riddance. Then Caleb utters “have a safe flight” to fake air marshal and kicks him off the plane.
Okay, here’s what happens next that really burns my biscuits. Caleb sends himself a text message explaining how Evil Young Assistant is evil, and that Winter will be stealing the device. Um…it’s a teleporter, not a time machine. This makes no nevermind since they manage to teleport back to their original timeline just as the plane enters the vortex/wormhole.
So, let me get this straight. Caleb sends a text from a timeline that will cease to exist once the teleporter activates and sends them back to where they started which means that he was never able to do all he did in world saving and good-deed doing and shooting because he never needed to since it never happened! [deep breath].
This obviously doesn’t matter, because as we witness Caleb and family board their flight, Caleb gets that text of all that is to come. He’s able to stop Winter, and we see Evil Young Assistant guy get arrested by Quinn. Also, Allison is still alive. Since Caleb has somehow averted imminent doom, he and his family get to go to Mexico City on the company jet. Hooray!!!
Yeah, so that’s Termination Point. It was an exciting movie to watch. The twists and turns with events were paced well so the movie never slowed down too much. But there was obviously a lot of crazy. I found myself going “huh?” many, many times while watching the movie. Is the movie worth checking out? I suppose if you have nothing else to do, then go for it. But consider yourself warned. There is no ASP device to teleport back to before you made that movie-watching decision, and as far as I can tell, there’s no way to text yourself from the future. Good luck!