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Mortal Engines


Stars: Robert Sheehan, Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Stephen Lang, Leila George, Caren Pistorius, Colin Salmon. Patrick Malahide

Director: Christian Rivers

Mad Max meets Star Wars in this mega-budget sci-fi epic set in the 31st (you read that correctly) century.

Earth has been laid waste and is now terrorised by predator cities on giant tank tracks, who pursue lesser towns and, destroying them, take their citizens on board the conqueror. These mobile metropolises are fold-away, Heath Robinson-style contraptions that have a distinctly Australian feel, underscored by the fact that 'London', the giant mobile city at the centre of the action, is bossed by Aussie Weaving, practically the only recognisable name in the cast.

At the height of his powers, however, he is attacked and stabbed by scarfaced Hester Shaw (Hilmar), whose mother - and sometime mistress - he had killed while stealing something so precious as to make Gollum green with envy.

Pursuing Hester after the deed, downstairs underling and expert in retro tech Tom (Sheehan) sees her plunge from a height, only to be pushed down into the same abyss by Weaving, who is developing a massive kill weapon beneath the dome of a reconstructed St Paul's, and plans - guess what? - world domination.

Lots of sky-high action and bizarre supporting characters (not enough of these) follow on.

Irish actor Sheehan, reminiscent of 'Carry On' stalwart Jim Dale, is a personable hero, but Icelandic actress Hilmar is a trifle weak as the butt-kicking heroine. Other actors barely register, but chances are that it's the action and monumentally detailed sets at which you'll be gasping.

David Quinlan

USA/New Zealand 2018. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
126 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Dec 2018