Syfy’s most recent attempt to extend the Battlestar Galactica franchise was plagued by a constantly changing release schedule and a perceived lack of confidence in the material. All this is a real shame, as Blood & Chrome is one of the best entries in the BSG canon, and would have made a great full-length series.
Following Bill Adama (Luke Pasqualino) on his first assignment, the film has a lot of fun contrasting the Adama we see with the Adama we know.
Pasqualino is great as young Bill, combining the relentlessly cocky attitude of a new recruit with the glacial nerves and inspired tactical lunacy of his older self. It’s a smart performance, and one that a series could definitely have been hung from.
It’s also not alone. Ben Cotton turns in a wonderful, grumpy and twitchy performance as Coker, Adama’s reluctant co-pilot. The pair are one of those double acts that just make you smile the moment you see them, and some of the film’s best moments take place simply when Adama and Coker sitting together in the cockpit of their Raptor, the ‘Weasel’.
Assigned to transport Doctor Beka Kelly (Lili Bordán) on a secret mission, the pair find themselves neck deep in secret Fleet operations, where they meet a surprising amount of BSG alumni on the way. You’ll see a lot of familiar faces in this, and that’s not necessarily a good thing especially as, by the time the third old hand has shown up, you can’t help mentally recasting them as their original character.
However, this, combined with how little Bordán is given to work with, renders several sections of the film dangerously flat.
Thankfully, most of the effects work beautifully. The much-discussed digital sets are frequently brilliant and the battle scenes are fluid and brutal. The scenes set aboard the smaller vessel Osiris are also great, dripping with sweaty palmed tension.
Unfortunately, some of the close-up effects prove to be much less successful. A hand-to-hand battle between Adama and a Cylon is ruined by hideously weak sound effects, and later a digital character is so badly realised that they’re shot standing still, with the camera cutting away when they talk.
Also fairly dreadful is the ‘Cython’, a failed Cylon experiment aimed at combining cybernetics with an alien snake.
Even so, Blood & Chrome’s faults come from trying too much rather than attempting too little. The script’s rock solid, the performances are great and at its worst it’s still a fine addition to the ragtag fugitive fleet of BSG spin-offs.
There should have been more, but ultimately what’s here is just about enough.