Among the sea of average and bad Netflix movies, Spectral stands out as original and fairly entertaining addition to the science fiction genre. It symbolizes the end of the Zombie movie craze as this time the army will be fighting ghosts instead of them. Spectrals, to be more precise. First of all, the entire movie looks fucking awesome. This is not a surprise since Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop created futuristic weapons while Weta Digital worked on the visual effects. The end result is comparable to the best movies in the genre. I especially liked how the Spectrals look and move and the vehicles. Also, those futuristic-looking vehicles were nice and sturdy. When you add to this impressive sets and outdoor locations, you get an eye-candy of a movie. Spectral plays out like some AAA video game with a nice and juicy progression ending in a grand battle finale.
The story is relatively good with the usual motives and elements. There are some cliches, especially when you look at the cardboard cutout characters. However, the main story is pretty creative and authentic. Plus the pacing is good and with all the shooting going on you won’t have time to think about plot holes. This is supposed to be a fun action movie with ghosts and I think it achieved its goal. This is sure as shit not Edge of Tomorrow, Aliens, or supernatural Black Hawk Down, but it will do just fine. It fits in nicely with the rest of the mediocre Netflix movies with a supernatural element like The Old Guard, Bright, and Project Power. Although I must admit I really liked how the whole military angle worked. The movement of units, handling of the weapons, and dialogue all seem realistic.
In a near future, a bloody war is going on in Moldova, an east-European country under the rule of a brutal dictator. US troops are deployed equipped with all the latest gadgets and technology. Because of this, they are able to see some strange things using their hyperspectral imaging goggles. Unable to figure out what are they seeing, the US military sends Dr. Mark Clyne who invented them to figure out what’s going. However, when he gets there things start escalating, and Mark along with the rest of the troops find themselves in imminent danger.
The most important thing about Spectral is the fact that it doesn’t try to be some science fiction masterpiece. It knows exactly what it is and cleverly focuses on its strengths. Above all, a hefty $80 million budget. And considering just how many movies with almost the same ideas are out there, the original story featured here is refreshing. The acting was solid with some familiar faces like Bruce Greenwood and Emily Mortimer. Too bad Clayne Crawford, who played flawlessly Riggs in the Lethal Weapon television show, didn’t get a bigger part. Finally, I also have to mention the dark atmosphere amplified by the war-torn and imposing post-Soviet locations. Moreover, they radiated despair and sorrow, making the story and atmosphere feel more authentic.
Director: Nic Mathieu
Writers: Ian Fried, Nic Mathieu, George Nolfi
Cast: James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood, Max Martini, Cory Hardrict, Clayne Crawford, Gonzalo Menendez
Fun Facts: Tatra from The Czech Republic created the APC’s.