The Lost Future (2010)

Welcome to the Apocalypse

Sean Bean is probably England’s most versatile actor. With a stellar career spanning for approximately twenty years, having appeared in every medium — from theater, radio, video games, television and film — it’s only natural that the guy’s genuinely impressive resume would feature a handful of duds. The Lost Future, a South African-German post-apocalypse film, produced by Syfy, essentially sees Bean pretty much replicate his most famous role as Boromir, from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in a desperate attempt to lure in unsuspecting fans of the Tolkien masterpiece. Shot in South Africa and directed by Mikael Salomon, Hard Rain (1998), the flick is set in the distant future, where an airborne virus has apparently wiped out most of the Earth’s inhabitants and reduced others to savage animals. Sadly, the survivors have reverted back to the Stone Age, with most of the planet’s populace living in dirty caves whilst battling prehistoric beats or Orc extras who appear to have wandered off the set of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films.

The picture is set in a post-holocaust America and opens on a group of scantily clad men and women, who live like Ewoks and run an organized tribe, led by Uri (Tertius Meintjes), in a primitive society without technology. These primeval cave folk dwell in a small village in Grey Rock National Park, speak articulate English and are surrounded by creatures that transmit a disease, which transforms its victims into mutant-zombies who resemble Orc or Uruk-hai rejects from Jackson’s epic fantasy flicks. We eventually learn that beast tracker Kaleb (Sam Claflin) and his sister Miru (Eleanor Tomlinson) are the population’s only literate survivors, with their late father, Jaret, having convinced them that others might exist outside of the park.

Whatever floats your boat!
Whatever floats your boat!

When a bunch of pesky Uruk-hai invade Uri’s hamlet, trapping the majority of townsfolk inside a crumbling cave, Kaleb, Savan (Corey Sevier) — the tribe’s best hunter and Uri’s son — and his woman, Dorel (Annabelle Wallis) — who Kaleb is secretly in love with — must venture off into the unknown wilderness in search of a cure to stop the humanity-killing virus from decimating their town. Along the way, they stumble into Amal — played by the ever-reliable Sean Bean — who resides on the outskirts of Grey Rock. Having known Kaleb’s father, Amal reveals that Jaret had discovered a yellow powder, which provides immunity against the infection, however, the all-important substance had been stolen and locked away by the ruthless warlord Gagen (Jonathan Pienaar). Together, the troupe set out to find the tyrant and reclaim the yellow dust in order to save their tribe … and their world.

Given its paper-thin plot, viewers can basically wander off at any given moment of the film, to perhaps fix some snacks in the kitchen or take a dump, without ever losing the general gist of things. Admittedly, The Lost Future gets a couple of things right. While cheap and nasty, the picture’s digital effects are pretty nifty, particularly the decaying cityscapes which can be seen around the South African locations, whilst an early battle against a giant CGI sloth is rather impressive — and reasonably convincing — standing as the picture’s only notable high point. With the film’s entire effects budget blown in the first half-an-hour or so, make-up is used for the remainder of the picture and unfortunately doesn’t fare up quite as well as the film’s digital effects; most of the feral Uruk-hai zombies look a lot like cheap Lord of the Rings knockoffs who have spent too much time mucking about in a mud pit.

Ladies love a beard
Ladies love a beard

The Lost Future lacks geographical accuracy and feels as though it should have been a mini-series; get this, in about ninety minutes, our heroes discover a larger world outside of their village, meet new allies, find out about, and recover, a yellow MacGuffin, defeat a mighty oppressor and basically save the world. What should have been an epic journey across a vast unexplored land only lasts a mere few minutes. Furthermore, the film is poorly conceived and lacks coherent reason or logic; a prime example of this stupidity lies in the flick’s attitude towards reading. The Lost Future highlights the crucial importance that literature has on the future of mankind — with Kaleb being one of the only people who knows how to read — yet, when the group stumble on an enormous library, a book is simply used to knock out a guard … and then the library is entirely forgotten about and never referred to again. Additionally, the Uruk-hai mutants — who constantly threaten the land — possess incredible agility and can somehow leap through the air with ease. Last but certainly not least, the villain of the piece, Gagen — who pops up way too late in feature’s second act — is a stubborn, unreasonable goon, who’s more comical than threatening, resembling a goofy, decrepit Alan Rickman of sorts.

According to The Lost Future, this post-apocalyptic era doesn’t look half bad as the lion’s share of cave women are well-groomed, scantily clad and pretty attractive. Mega-babe Annabelle Wallis, Annabelle (2014), spends the entire duration of the movie walking around half naked while Eleanor Tomlinson, Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), who plays Kaleb’s sister, is rather eye-catching, although she’s sadly wasted as the majority of her scenes take place in a dirty, dimly lit cave. Heck, even Gagen’s daughter Giselle (Hannah Tointon), whose ‘look’ screams Eighties glam metal chick, is fairly hot, even if her actions — she betrays her mighty leader without much convincing — make little to no sense. Then we have Sean Bean, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), hamming it up as Amal, probably enjoying a hefty paycheck for little work and possibly only a few days of shooting — his character turns up about a quarter of the way through the film and is sidelined for the bulk of the third act with the younger leads carrying out most of the action. Guess Bean must have needed the extra cash. If this is supposed to be Armageddon, sign me up, pronto!

Professor Snape clearly hasn't aged well!
Professor Snape clearly hasn’t aged well!

Okay, there are probably worse, schlockier Syfy movies around, but as a whole, The Lost Future isn’t very good. Thankfully, the picture has some decent eye-candy, a couple of fun tongue-in-cheek moments and Bean is relatively entertaining but the film’s flaccid storyline feels way too rushed to resonate on any emotional level, resulting in a messy picture that pretty much goes nowhere. I guess it’d probably be a service to mankind if The Lost Future were to remain buried and ‘lost’ forever.

1.5 / 5 – Poor

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

The Lost Future is released through Pinnacle Films Australia