I recently decided to try out Netflix’s instant streaming service by watching Stan Lee’s Lightspeed, the made-for-TV movie about a government agent turned super-speedster. It’s been on my queue for a while, and I figured I’d free up the slot for something else.
Ultimately, I was really impressed — with the service. The image and sound were very clear, even with the window playing fullscreen. I’m annoyed that it’s Windows— and Internet Explorer—only. Aside from that, the only thing I really missed was fine control over fast-forward and rewind.
The movie itself? Cheesy. And what’s worse, dull. I took a break halfway through and wasn’t sure I really cared about coming back to finish it. Heatstroke was better — and I mean that.
The structure’s fine. It starts with the villain, a man with snake-like skin called Python, and a firefight between the villain’s gang, the people in a building, and a SWAT-team—like group called the Ghost Squad. Then it flashes back to the villain’s origin, then jumps forward to the aftermath of the battle and weaves the hero’s origin into the tale of Python’s master scheme. Like many classic stories, the hero’s and villain’s origins are linked.
The effects are decent, if no more exciting than those that appeared on The Flash a decade and a half earlier. Though they do spend more time in daylight. The suit is goofy, but they at least hang a lampshade on its goofiness: he picks it up at a sporting goods store to help protect himself from windburn.
But the movie just isn’t compelling at all.
I started taking notes during the film, but they quickly turned into snarky commentary. So rather than writing a full review, I’m attaching them below the cut. There could be spoilers, so beware.
Cheesy monster in first 30 seconds
Sounds like the Batman theme.
No corporations were slandered in the making of this film (Hollibrown)
Bloody firefight - is it related to crocodile man?
Yeah, step on that dead body!
Look! more blood!
Ripping off John Williams, here.
Fakest. explosions. ever.
I swear this looks like Tina McGee’s lab…just with snakes.
Why do mad scientists always use themselves as test subjects?
Stem-cell research! Topical reference! (Or just buzzwords.)
Hmm, cute nurse in a different color outfit than all the other nurses. Wonder if she’ll show up again? (Edit: As near as I can tell, she didn’t.)
Ah, the old government shuts down funding, so scientist goes too far to prove it’s viable routine.
Dude, stop talking to your research.
Hmm, guy working on skin grafts for burn victims gets caught in a fire. What are the odds?
Hmm, replaced leg joints with metal, so they can take the stress of super-speed…
Oh, look, radioactive material!
Hate Free zone, huh? Good luck with that.
So how did the skin grafts give him too many teeth?
Ah, the radiation overdose origin!
It’s kind of refreshing to see a super-villain with minions these days. That sort of went out with the silver age.
Dramatic music as he PUSHES THE BUTTON!
Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Snakeman stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator…and vanished.
Get a room! Oh, wait, they have one.
Cue the dramatic Physical Therapy Calendar Montage!!!
As first runs go, it’s better than catching a taxi.
Hmm, someone needs to not overexert himself.
Did Python just say, “General Hague?” I thought he was doing Deep Space Nine.
Well, if he was, it clearly wasn’t for long.
Hey, snake-guy has super-speed too! Or it’s just funky editing.
Hmm, is that desk nurse the one we saw in the flashback?
Fastest Man Alive… using a walker.
“I got a rocket pack!” Because it’s far more believable than “I can run 500 MPH.” (Well, actually, it is, but still.)
At least the suit is practical, even if it looks… would “godawful” or “fugly” be more appropriate?
“You can never get too high.” Judging by the guy saying it, he means it.
Hmm, a convenience store. I wonder if it’s going to get robbed. Yep.
Super-speed disarmament! Interesting that the rest of the fight is mostly at normal speed.
Ah, hiding the secret ID from the girlfriend. Because that ALWAYS works out well.
Someone asks the all-important question about the MacGuffin: “What does it do?”
The Greenhouse Effect DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!
TWO kinds of unobtanium! Made-up elements FTW!
FBI-ish squad goes out, tells hero not to worry, they’ll handle it — this won’t end well either.
Wait… I thought he was supposed to DRINK that stuff, not inject it.
“It’s not too late to stop!” - gee, I’ve never heard that one before.
Way to keep your secret ID, there…
Bright villain: not telling henchmen his plan. Someone read the evil overlord list.
Wow…he’s not actually lying to her! I’m impressed!
At least they’re having fun with musical dissonance. Don’t think Beth is getting out of this alive. Way to undermine her status as an action girl. Crack agent -> hostage. Sorta like Deedlit in Record of Lodoss War, actually.
Hmm, if she WAS the mole, that’s at least something different. (Though my money’s on the guy in charge who keeps dismissing everything.)
New use for a utility belt: Nitro bottles!
Are they using the same effects that the Flash TV show used?
Hmm, yeah, Washington, D.C. IS a swamp.
Ah, the classic super-hero’s dilemma: save the love interest, or save the city?
And the brother finally stands up to him.
Wow… Python’s a real whiner, isn’t he?
Well, big flipping duh on the real mole.
OK, Python is officially IN-FRIGGIN-SANE. Eeeeww…
So, does Beth inject him w/ adrenaline, or does Tanner redeem himself with his dying breath?
Lady, the adrenaline?
Shorter scene than the one in Pulp Fiction.
Aaaaand, cue the sappy ending!