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Star Trek: Renegades – Review


Release Date: 1 August 2015 [USA]
Director: Tim Russ
Writer: Ethan H. Calk - Sky Douglas Conway - Gene Roddenberry - Jack Treviño
Cast: Adrienne Wilkinson - Walter Koenig - Sean Young



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Posted August 31, 2015 by

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Star Trek: Renegades Review:

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. These adventures of humans in the 24th century, along with Doctor Who, is one of the longest running science fiction franchises in history. Over 50 years fans have enjoyed five live-action television series, one animated series, 12 feature films, a billion books, a host of terrible video games (Star Trek Online mostly excluded), and countless other things. There is absolutely no shortage of love for Star Trek in the world, and the desire to make more of it is stronger than a Klingon’s desire to die in battle. Some of those Klingon-like fans joined forces to make a movie and tell a new story based in the Star Trek universe called: STAR TREK: RENEGADES.

A quick disclaimer before I proceed: I am a huge Star Trek fan. The Original Series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine are three of my favorite shows ever. Star Trek, in general, encompasses what I love best about science fiction: It’s thought-provoking, character driven, and usually saves its whiz-bang fancy effects for key moments rather than drowning the viewer in special effects. While I admire JJ Abrams for trying to reinvent Star Trek for modern audiences, I also want to gnaw his legs off until he apologizes for INTO DARKNESS. I am also of the mind that Star Trek (not unlike Doctor Who) could use a break for a decade or so.

With that not-as-quick-as-I-claimed disclaimer out of the way, I am now prepared to share my thoughts on Star Trek: Renegades.

The best of Renegades is found in its basic concept. The vengeful leader of an alien species is destroying dilithium-rich (think: gasoline for spaceships) planets with a mysterious device and his main target is Earth. Starfleet (Star Trek’s version of the United Nations) is aware, but not taking action. Original series character Pavel Chekov, now 140 years old, an admiral, and head of Section 31 (a spy/black ops agency within Starfleet) suspects there are traitors aiding the planet-destroying enemy. Chekov, along with Voyager’s Vulcan Tuvok, both played by their original actors Walter Koenig and Tim Russ (who is also producer and director), gather a team of villains and vigilantes on a secret mission to save the day. All that right there is a great setup for a science fiction story.

Renegades has (mostly) beautiful space-related effects. Ship models are great, movement at times is a little off, but otherwise pretty solid. The makeup is pretty good too and quite a few classic Trek species are included either directly or hanging out in the background. I give them a lot of credit in effects and makeup considering they aren’t working with a hundred-million dollar budget. However, some of the interior shots done on green screen or just some of the lighting of interior scenes is a little off too. It takes a second sometimes to adjust from very clean space battles or a well-lit interior to Chekov’s office which looks like it’s fading back into the 1960s.

Where Renegades falls apart the most is in two key areas: writing and directing. What Renegades needed to do, even more than having the fancy space graphics, is establish their cast of deliciously unsavory characters. We should be invested in them a lot more, yet, oddly, what we learn is very scatter-shot, and is often interrupted by an action sequence as if the writers felt like audiences might be getting bored. Well, since the writing is rushed and a bit hollow, they’re right, it is boring! A little bit anyway. Renegades also lacks a bit of creative directing. I understand that the crowd-funded project didn’t have a giant budget, but there is very little camera motion (i.e. tracking shots) during interior scenes which sometimes makes the film come off very stiff and crowded. This film-in-a-box feel also hinders the actors some, though the LARGE cast does a decent job with the material.

The production team behind Star Trek: Renegades wants to pitch the movie to CBS to be made into a new show. Putting my distaste for remakes/reboots aside, I could see it working. The concept is strong and could be made to fit into the Star Trek Universe very nicely while attracting new audiences who want more action and a team of Han Solo’s instead of plain, old, one anti-hero at a time. An upgrade in the writing could result in some very interesting long-term characters and stories.

Corin Nemec plays Starfleet Captain Alvarez with a history tied into that of renegade’s leader Lexxa Singh (Adrienne Wilkinson) who herself is related to Kahn from the original series. Edward Furlong, who looks like he’s handling a severe meth addiction quite well, plays Fixer, the Renegade’s engineer who has a twist backstory which is intwined with that of character Dr. Lucien played by Sean Young. And if you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of experienced actors involved with the project. That ties back into what I said earlier about how much love there is out there in the world for Star Trek.

Is Star Trek: Renegades any good? In a word, yes. It’s fun, has a lot of great elements, some decent acting, better-than-expected effects, and is overall very entertaining. If you’re a fan of Trek or just science fiction, you will most likely enjoy the ride, that is, if you set aside things like production values or Hollywood-level action sequences. Star Trek: Renegades, like its motley cast of characters, is kind of always on the verge of falling apart, but manages to hold on long enough to keep the mission, and the movie, together all the way to the end.

Star Trek: Renegades was originally shot in parts as a web series and has recently been released as a 90 minute “pilot” which is available on YouTube by clicking this link right here.


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Ruben R. Diaz
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