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Black Horizon (2001) – DVD Review

Black Horizon DVD


Written by Steve Latshaw
Directed by Fred Olen Ray
Starring Michael Dudikoff, Ice-T, Hannes Jaenicke, Yvette Nipar


  • Running audio commentary by director Ray and writer Latshaw
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailer

Released by: Artisan.
Rating: R
Region: 1
Anamorphic: No.

My Advice: Avoid It.

[ad#longpost]The Amva space station is corporately financed and Russian built. With this dubious pedigree, it’s no surprise that they don’t detect the meteor storm until the big rocks are smashing into the station and crewmen are being sucked into space. Now the damaged station is falling to Earth and will suffer a fiery destruction. So of course it’s up to the brave Americans of NASA to save them. And of course they just happen to have a space shuttle ready to go. A wrinkle appears when the NSA has a “request.” They want one of their people added to the rescue mission to obtain data on an experimental energy technology on the station. Of course the rescue mission is riddled with complications: a damaged shuttle, trapped crewmen, and locked lifeboats. And of course the codes to unlock the lifeboats is in the hands of an evil CEO who only needs a moustache to twirl. So of course they send Ice-T to kick his butt.

Such is the plot of Black Horizon, a movie with plot holes so big you can fly the shuttle through them. Let’s see, first off: what space engineer installs big plate glass windows in an airlock? When did the Russians develop artificial gravity? Why the hell do lifeboats have locks to begin with?! Why can’t the NSA use the trained officers of the shuttle crew to retrieve the data instead of sending an untrained agent? The answer to all these and many more questions is lazy writing. From an opening scene written merely to have a shootout and a car chase in order to set up contrived situations which in turn produces artificial tension and leads inevitably the cheesy ending, it’s a pity that trees were sacrificed to print this script. It even has the “sacrificing myself to save everyone else” soliloquy.

The acting is uniformly wooden with some of the worst Russian accents I have ever heard. Boris and Natasha sound more authentic. Not even Ice-T can make this movie viewable. I realize this is a low budget straight to video release, but have a little pride in your work. You’re investing time and effort, at least try to put out a halfway decent product. And if anyone even thinks, “It’s just mindless entertainment,” they’re getting the strap right across the backside. There’s nothing wrong with mindless entertainment, but it’s one thing to ask me to turn off my mind–it’s another to ask me to remove it from my brain pan with an ice cream scoop.

There is a trailer and photo gallery included on the disc, but the trailer is not very imaginative and the photo gallery is simply shots from the movie. Both are the epitome of shovelware. Surprisingly enough, there is a commentary by the director and the screenwriter to support this underwhelming attempt at filmmaking. Hearing them talk, you do get the impression they understand they aren’t on the high point of Hollywood when their entire set is a warehouse behind Frederick’s of Hollywood. Moviemaking at this level can make you rather inventive. When the builder for the NASA Control Room suddenly dropped out, the director brought in his own TVs and had to work his shoots to equal the length of the VHS tapes that were playing back to show readouts on them. Still, the commentary is mostly prattling about how wonderful the cast and crew was to work with. With little in the way of a insight or information to babbling ratio, the two just drone on.

With both the commentary and the movie itself being so wearisome, I advise you to skip Black Horizon. There’s many better films out there you can MST3K.

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