Movie Review: Wing Commander (1999)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1999 science fiction movie starring Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Synopsis: A pair of replacement pilots joins the crew of the space carrier Tiger Claw during an interstellar war with an alien race known as the Kilrathi. They arrive just as the Kilrathi gain a significant advantage that will allow them to attack an almost defenseless Earth and it is up to them and the rest of the Tiger Claw’s crew, to find a way to delay the invasion to give their own fleet a chance to stop it.


I’ve seen this movie before, but it had been a while and, as a result of that, I decided to watch it when I had the house to myself for a little while this weekend.  The movie, as it turns out, was better than I remembered it being. But, unfortunately, still isn’t quite as good as it has the potential to be.

I’ll start out by saying I do like the plot of this movie. I never played the video games it is loosely based off of and, because of that; I don’t know how much of it is inspired by those. But, I found I liked the idea of one human-led space ship up against an armada of warring aliens, simply because it created so much potential.

Another thing I found I liked about this movie is there wasn’t much downtime. There was some, enough to give us a chance to learn who the major characters were. But, there was more than enough action to balance that out, with quite a few decent battle scenes.

I think my biggest complaint about this movie is it doesn’t take full advantage of a decent ensemble cast. This is the type of film that works much better as a team effort, us against them. However, while there is an attempt to do that in small doses, the movie largely centers around one pilot (Prinze, Jr.) and that focus does force the filmmakers to keep the teamwork stuff to a tight minimum.

Not helping this movie was the whole “Pilgrim” concept. I understand the basics of what that was about and the fact Prinze’s character is descended from them does play a role. But, the movie does seem to have to spend a great deal of time introducing and elaborating on that subject, something that, once again, keeps it from reaching its full potential because that time isn’t being used elsewhere.

Final Opinion

It’s an OK action movie. But, if the writers would have focused on keeping it an ensemble effort rather than making one pilot the central character, I think it would have been much better.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 05/31/2016, StevenHelmer
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