Title – Astro Loco (2021)
Director – Aaron McJames (feature debut)
Cast – David Argue, Dasha Naumova, Frank Handrum, Hayley Dallimore, (voice of) Jon Reep
Plot – On a multi-year journey through the galaxy, an increasingly unhinged collection of crew members onboard a space ship have to deal with the evolving nature of their ships A.I Hetfield (voice of Jon Reep) who is trying his best to understand the odd creature that is humanity.
“They just need some space”
Review by Eddie on 06/09/2021
For his first feature length film, released recently via Amazon Prime across the globe, Australian writer/director Aaron McJames channels his inner Dark Star to create a micro-budgeted sci-fi/comedy oddity that relishes in its rough around the edges delivery to produce an outing that is sure to find a nice place amongst the cult circuit of independent films that are adored by film fans seeking out something very far from the mainstream.
Seemingly a passion project for McJames, who clearly knows his genre entries with Astro Loco featuring a number of throwbacks and winks to films such as 2001: A Space Oddity, Aliens and Sunshine but despite his film feeling indebted to these type of science fiction classics (as well as John Carpenter’s DIY sensibilities that served him so well over a number of decades), Astro Loco does feel like its own beast as we follow a motley crew on a more than likely doomed mission across the galaxy on the request of a money making focused organization.
Marking the return to screen for Australian actor David Argue, who made a name for himself in key appearances in classic Australian films like Gallipoli, BMX Bandits and Razorback, Astro Loco features a willing cast inhabiting our vessel who find themselves bickering and clashing with one other over various occurrences that is exasperated by the ever present presence of the Jon Reep voiced A.I Hetfield, who is starting too showcase worrying signs as his intelligence and understanding of humanity begins to evolve.
Reading the films synopsis or watching the films trailer may make one think they know what they’re in for when they sit down to watch Astro Loco but thankfully McJames ensures his film takes enough unsuspecting twists and turns and features a wonderfully pitch black comedic sensibility that you often feel as though this dialogue heavy outing, which puts characters above spectacle (both due to budgetary reasons and narrative purposes), is a surprising and imaginative affair.
Undoubtedly held back by its financial restraints, casting necessities and some punchlines and emotional beats that don’t quite stick the landing, when taken for what it is, Astro Loco is a fine example of getting things done with the bare basics and signals a director who deserves more chances to apply his trade on a more fiscally backed outing.
Final Say –
A fun and inventive feature length diversion that is sure to find its fans in the cult film world, Astro Loco is a sci-fi comedy that has enough heart and imagination to be worth your time.
3 games of squash out of 5
Astro Loco can be rented/purchased from Amazon now! CLICK HERE