Action Movie Fanatix Review: Generation X

Generation X banner

A New Generation Of Superheroes.

Starring: Matt Frewer, Finola Hughes, Jeremy Ratchford, Heather McComb, Agustin Rodriguez, Randall Slavin, Bumper Robinson, Suzanne Davis, Amarilis

Director: Jack Sholder

1996  |  88 Minutes  |  Not Rated

“What kind of freak am I, mom?” – Jubilation Lee

1996 was about the peak of my comic book fandom and the X-Men comics were my forte.  Every week when I unjustly received my $12 per week allowance I went to my local comic book store and loaded up on as many X-Books as I could get my grubby fingers on.  Generation X happened to be one of those titles I picked up especially since it had such an awesome looking metallic covered first issue.  So, of course, I was extremely excited when I saw a poster for an upcoming TV movie at said comic shop.

The comic book version of Generation X featured Banshee and White Queen leading a young group of mutants while they learn to use their powers and combat lower level mutant threats.  The team included the aforementioned Banshee and White Queen as well as Jubilee, Skin, Mondo, M, Chamber, Penance, Husk and Synch.

The movie version of Generation X keeps the same basic premise but drops four of the members and adds two made for TV members.  It also does away with any sort of mutant threat and inserts a weird dream invasion revenge story that I would like to say would never happen in the comic books but… worse things have happened.

The movie Generation X team looks a little like this

Sean Cassidy aka Banshee (Jeremy Ratchford) is able to scream at a level that causes physical harm to his enemies.  Thanks to actor Jeremy Ratchford he is also able to speak in a horrible Irish accent.

Emma Frost aka White Queen (Finola Hughes) is telepathic and HOT!!!

Jubilation Lee aka Jubilee (Heather McComb) is able to shoot fireworks out of her hands.

Angelo Espinosa aka Skin (Agustin Rodriguez) has stretchy skin… that’s it.

Mondo (Bumper Robinson) can become as hard as any object he touches.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

Monet St. Croix aka M (Amarilis) is virtually a perfect woman – superhuman strength and speed, telepathy, flight, nigh-invulnerability, healing abilities, etc., etc., etc.

Kurt Pastorius aka Refrax (Randall Slavin) can shoot radiation from his eyes making him the Cyclops ripoff of the group.  He also believes that he will eventually be able to see through walls, doors, clothes, etc.  Not creepy at all.

Arlee Hicks aka Buff (Suzanne Davis) is a super strong chick.  Apparently her body is female bodybuilder gross but Refrax likes it like that.

I really wish Chamber had been included.  He was always one of my favorite Generation X team members.  I can’t imagine the special effects required would have been any worse for him that Refrax’s eye lasers were.

Husk, Penance and Synch were also missing.  I can understand not including these three.  I imagine the special effects for Husk and Penance would be pretty significant and Synch’s power to replicate the power/s of nearby mutants would be a little hard to understand on screen.  I’m always for sticking as close to the source material as possible but in this case I will give them a pass.

There are a few instances of White Queen seemingly implying that every mutant has latent telepathic abilities.  Luckily this stupid idea is forgotten rather quickly.

All the characters are clad in similar attire to other ‘90s TV teenagers.  Bright, obnoxious neon colors.  I don’t think real people actually dressed this way but maybe I remember the mid-nineties differently.

At the end we do get to see a properly created Generation X uniform on Buff.  Call me crazy but I don’t find it that outrageous to see a super hero costume in a super hero movie.  I find it more idiotic to think that an entire team of super heroes opted to run around in shiny leather jumpsuits.  I call that the Matrix effect.

Russell Tresh (Matt Frewer) is the films villain.  Tresh is an overacting evil genius who uses his dream machine to help an advertising agency invade dreams to impact the buying decisions of their victims.  Fans will immediately recognize Matt Frewer as Max Headroom.  Non-fans will find his scene chewing to be very similar to the work of Jim Carrey.  Tresh’s entire evil scheme is fueled by a thirst for revenge on Emma Frost for ruining his earlier “scientific” work.

A guy using a machine to invade people’s dreams isn’t exactly a X-Men quality story but this isn’t the real X-Men team so a lesser enemy would be required.  I personally would have gone with something focusing more on the Mutant Registration Act which was touched on a couple times and then forgotten.  The story would have been more grounded and serious and would have felt a little truer to the source material.  Plus it wouldn’t require extra CGI for the villain.

The team is presented as being a little younger than they were in the comics.  Not a huge difference but the result is a lot of teenage drama and quarreling since I presume the budget constraints prevented more than one action scene.

There are a good number of references to X-Men topics such as The Hellions and Xavier so you get the sense that this is still within the much larger X-Men universe which was a nice touch.  There are also some funny little jokes about White Queen’s attire which is usually little more than lingerie in the comics.

The overall quality is about what would be expected from a 90s made for TV movie.  The mutant powers are decently presented and the dream world is OK.  Nothing will blow your mind but it isn’t “holy crap this sucks” bad.  There is a bit of swearing and sexual innuendo in the version I saw which leads me to believe it was edited a bit for Fox.  I don’t remember people saying Shit on Fox in the 90s.

Now, I’m not saying Generation X is a great movie, the current X-Men movies are much, much better, even with all their faults but I would SO buy a DVD of the uncut digitally remastered Generation X movie.  I probably wouldn’t watch it all that often but every once in a while I would love to pop that baby into my Blu-ray player for some cheap entertainment and laughs.

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