Meltdown: Days of Destruction (2006)

Rating: D

Dir: John Murlowski
Star: Casper Van Dien, Amanda Crew, Venus Terzo, Ryan McDonell

There is some confusion here, with claims this was written by John Carpenter. Not so: while he had plans for a film called Meltdown, starring Van Dien, it was about a nuclear power-plant, not an asteroid which knocks Earth off its orbit toward the sun. So, different movie. The title here describes Casper’s career too; since Starship Troopers, he’s appeared in more low-budget genre entries on the Sci-Fi Channel than anyone else. [Well, save Dean Cain] And this won’t exactly rescue his career. He plays a cop, struggling through LA as temperatures relentlessly rise, aiming for the airport and a flight to sanctuary. He has with him: his girlfriend; his ex-girlfriend; his daughter by his ex-girlfriend; and the shady boyfriend of his daughter by his ex-girlfriend. Where’s Jerry Springer when you need him?

It’s pretty bad. Despite the alleged heat, everyone wears long sleeves and trousers; that’s because it was shot in a Canadian winter. The eight million inhabitants of Los Angeles are largely absent and we learn that cars explode in the street when it hits 120 degrees: living in Arizona, we laughed like drains at that. And if it’s so incredibly hot, why does anyone go out during the daytime at all? Apart from being badly thought-out, this is mostly tedious. None of the characters are even moderately interesting, and they don’t do much to resolve the crisis, Armageddon-style. The budget falls well short of depicting global apocalypse too: the initial asteroid FX were not bad; it was all downhill from there though. Much the same can be said of the film as a whole, I’m afraid.