Oblivion (1994) / Oblivion 2 – Backlash (1996)

In the future, on a different planet, lies the small Western Town Oblivion. In the first part of Oblivion, The alien bandit Red Eye and his gang kill the Sheriff, take over the town, and terrorize the townspeople. When the Sheriff’s lost son Zack Stone return to Oblivion for his funeral, he teams up with a few other heroes to fight Red Eye and his gang. In Oblivion 2 – Backlash, cosmic bounty hunter Sweeney arrives to Oblivion. He seeks to capture the sexy bandit Lash, a former associate of Red Eye’s gang, for her past crimes. Lash receives help from unexpected sources, and a struggle between the Sheriff and Sweeney erupts that will determine Lash’s fate.

Oblivion and its sequel Oblivion 2 – Backlash were produced by Charles Band’s production company Full Moon Entertainment. The 1990s can be considered Full Moon’s last decade where they regularly produced entertaining B-movies. Since then, the quality of their productions has degraded incredibly, with a very few exceptions. Fortunately, the two Oblivion movies are still decent affairs. Both movies can be categorized as Space Westerns. This genre enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the 1980s with animated TV series such as BraveStarr, Sabre Rider and Adventures of the Galaxy Riders. Western tropes were utilized before in Sci-Fi movies, most notably Westworld and Outland, but also in space sagas such Star Trek and Star Wars. Oblivion is the first one to use a traditional live-action Western setting, and mixes it with some Sci-Fi elements.

The two movies are relatively slow-paced affairs, and have a fairly standard Western plot. There is occasional action and campy humor, but you’ll need some patience to sit through them, I’d argue. Shot cost-effectively in Romania, the outdoor sequences and the street scenery of the Western town actually look pretty good. The ensemble cast consists of many well-known B-movie and TV actors such as Andrew Divoff (who can only play bad guys, but he’s just very good at it) Meg Foster, Isaac Hayes and many others.

The set designs were done by Full Moon regular Milo, who I considered always very skilled in creating cute and wacky sets on a budget. As with many Full Moon productions we’re also treated with some super cheap, but strangely charming stop-motion effects of giant desert scorpions and killer frogs. The story passes through all the western cliches and tropes the screenwriters could come up with. Throw in some aliens, a cyborg, some advanced tech like ATM’s, and we get Full Moon’s attempt at producing a Space Western. The Sci-Fi elements are relatively sparse, so it’s not really an equal blend or particularly clever entanglement of both themes.

Oblivion and Oblivion 2 – Backlash certainly do not set the benchmark for Space Westerns very high, but are reasonably entertaining to make them worth a watch, and in any case are two of Full Moon’s better productions.

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