A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Conceivably there's a 13-year-old boy somewhere for whom the words "post-apocalyptic thriller" have a ring of startling novelty. Perhaps living in remote Lapland, or under a bridge in Baltimore, this culturally deprived lad may well find "The Colony" a marvel of jaw-dropping innovation and heart-pumping excitement. For the rest of the movie-going world, who have endured innumerable trips to the other side of civilization's demise by now, the film is more likely to taste like a dish reheated far too often.
Kind of a mash-up of standard-issue dystopian sci-fi and basic zombie-movie tropes, the film can claim a couple of solid performances by veteran actors and is well-executed at a technical level. Its innumerable wide-angle shots of terrified people (or their ghoulish pursuers) dashing pell-mell down dark underground corridors are nicely photographed, no question about it. The problem is that the filmmakers' aversion to any hint of storytelling originality means that the main impression "The Colony" leaves is one of almost stupefying over-familiarity.
As in most films of its ilk, it doesn't much matter what made Earth's civilization collapse like a botched soufflé. It's gone, that's all. It's the year 2045, the planet's surface is an icy waste and the only folks left alive are cowering and shivering in underground colonies. In Colony 7, a draconian regime is in force. Since some sicknesses can kill, anyone who gets ill is placed in quarantine. If they don't get well, they're given a choice: get shot or take a long last hike into the colony's Siberia-like surroundings.
But even that harsh order is breaking down thanks to the paranoia and snarling wrath of the colony's sergeant-at-arms, Mason (Bill Paxton), who's begun to decide on his own when executions are in order. The film opens with him gunning down a choice-deprived sufferer like one of nastier Nazis in "Schindler's List." The main purpose of this character, obviously, is to give the film a cheap source of bloody mayhem from the get-go. Never mind that his presence makes the story's main action even more implausible than it would be without him.