DVD
Cleopatra 2525
Volume 1

Starring: Jennifer Sky, Gina Torres and Victoria Pratt
Carlton
RRP 15.99
37115 10213
Certificate: 12
Available now


Cryogenically frozen in 2001 after her boob job goes wrong, exotic dancer Cleopatra is revived in 2525 to find that the world has become a very different place. Humans have been driven underground by sinister beings known as Baileys. Cleopatra joins forces with a pair of freedom fighters, Hel and Sarge...

Watching the action-packed eye candy that is Cleopatra 2525 is like having a superhero comic book on your TV screen. The scantily-clad heroines would not look out of place between the covers of a DC or Marvel publication, while the recurring villain Creegan (Joel Tobeck) resembles a cross between a glam rock star and Batman's arch nemesis, the Joker.

The 22-minute length of each instalment is also coincidentally reminiscent of the typical page count of an American comic. This brief duration results in some frequently breakneck pacing. It is therefore advisable not to take your eyes off the screen for more than a second or two, in case you miss any of the splendid stunts or special effects.

The first two episodes - Quest for Firepower and Creegan - seem particularly rushed in terms of plot. So much so that you may, at first, experience some difficulty in getting to grips with the premise of the show. One would be forgiven, for instance, for initially wondering whether the subterranean realm inhabited by Hel (Gina Torres) and Sarge (Victoria Pratt) is a physical location or a virtual simulation - I confess that I was a little confused the first time I watched the programme. The viewer is also left guessing as to the nature of the Voice (Elizabeth Hawthorne) inside Hel's head until the second episode, when a few clues are finally offered to us. The episodes Flying Lessons and Run Cleo Run are far more comprehensible by comparison.

At the other extreme, the storyline of Mind Games is rather slight, even for its brief duration.

It comes as no surprise that the strongest plot amongst this collection of seven episodes is that of the two-part tale, Home and Rescue (which have been edited together for this volume). The double-length duration allows for a weightier story to be developed in between the usual whiz-bang action sequences.

Throughout the series, the creative influence of Executive Producer Sam Raimi - and others who previously brought us Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess - is clearly in evidence, not only in the glamorous action and adventure, but also in the tongue-in-cheek humour. Take, for example, the reason why Cleopatra (Jennifer Sky) got frozen in the first place, or the character's constant spouting of 21st-century slogans and words of wisdom, which are familiar to us but not to Hel and Sarge.

There are sadly no special features on this DVD, but nevertheless this volume offers plenty of escapist fun.

Richard McGinlay

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