Despite the shiny sci-fi veneer, Supernova is an entirely soulless affair devoid of both story and tension.
When a deep-space medical vessel, the Nightingale 229, receives an emergency distress signal, the crew rush to answer the call. After the signal leads them to a mining facility with a single man on site, they promptly bring him aboard. Unbeknownst to the crew, however, the stranger has a mysterious alien artefact in his possession that has a sinister purpose.
Supernova‘s plot fails to generate much interest from the viewer due to the deeply uninteresting characters. This comes as a surprise considering the bevy of competent actors involved, notably James Spader, Angela Bassett and Lou Diamond Phillips. It’s a waste of a perfectly good cast to have them play such forgettable people.
Scene after scene of boring dialogue and the absence of an interesting parable make this a real chore to get through. Not only are the characters dull, the scenario they find themselves in lacks any real tension. Even the slick sci-fi presentation acts as nothing more than a thin layer that fails to gloss over Supernova‘s many shortcomings.
By all accounts Supernova was severely hampered during production. It’s clear that studio interference, budget cuts, script rewrites and a revolving door of directors was not conducive to a quality end-product.
The bulk of the film was shot with Walter Hill in the director’s chair. A filmography consisting of The Warriors and 48Hrs would suggest that Hill is a very capable director, it’s just a shame that he was hamstrung by such a woeful production here. Having left the project at one point due to disagreements with the studio over budget and time constraints, it comes as no surprise that Hill’s director credit went to the pseudonym “Thomas Lee”.
What emerged from this calamitous production process was an incredibly bland sci-fi snooze-fest that neither the strong cast nor the director could salvage.