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  • Battlestar Galactica: Razor
    • Battlestar Galactica: Razor
    • Runtime:88 min
    • Release Date:2014-10-22 12:46:53
    • Director: Félix Enríquez Alcalá
    • Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Battlestar Galactica: Razor
Auhtor:

   

While I have been enjoying "Battlestar Galactica", I found that the
third season was a bit uneven when all was done and said. This tempered
my enthusiasm for the fourth season, but I was still looking forward to
watching it. Interestingly enough, between the third and fourth
seasons, a made-for-TV movie, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, was aired.
After watching it, I have to level some of the same criticisms I had
towards the third season at Razor.

Razor, rather than really being a stand-alone feature, is more of a
super-extended episode. A super-extended flashback episode that centers
on two timelines; first as the command of the Battlestar Pegasus is
transferred to Lee "Apollo" Adama (Jamie Bamber) and secondly back
during the first Cylon onslaught where the Battlestar Pegasus escapes
under the command of Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes). These two
stories are linked together by Captain Kendra Shaw (Stephanie
Jacobson), who served as Cain's assistant and is called upon by Apollo
to serve as his executive officer.

The greatest strength of Razor also ends up being the effort's weakness
as well. Kendra Shaw actually has a lot of the makings of an
interesting character and actually works in tying the two different
time periods together. However, due to the requirements of getting all
the other major characters involved, Razor frequently fails to center
the story on her, resulting in the whole affair lacking focus. And, if
the whole affair is supposed to be a stand-alone affair, it would've
benefited the story to spend less time with the other BSG characters,
many of whom contribute very little to Razor but eat up screen time
anymore. On the other hand, if this were supposed to be more of a
super-sized BSG episode, Razor is highly inconsequential, being an
episode that's all backstory that, with the exception of one tiny
revelation at the end, actually adds nothing to the mythos of BSG nor
really develops any characters, including Admiral Cain, who is sort of
a second highlight in this film–but we either needed more or less of
her, because what we see in Razor is rather unsatisfying and, well,
cliché.

Razor is shot much like other BSG episodes, although it does have some
rather cheesy impressionistic moments. One thing that probably will get
a lot of pleasant reactions from long-time BSG fans is the presence of
the old-school Cylon centurions and raiders (done up a little via CGI).
The regular BSG cast performs expectedly well. Jacobson is all right as
Kendra Shaw, neither exceptional nor underperforming. Forbes pulls off
the hard-nosed angry Admiral well, but I think she played the character
a little too single-dimensionally, which resulted in some of her more
vulnerable scenes being stiff. The CGI was at times a little obvious,
but befits the production values of a TV feature.

Overall, I think that Razor reflects some of the lesser traits of the
third season of BSG. One of its problems in telling backstory is that
it really doesn't push the existing characters at all and there really
aren't any meaningful revelations for any of them, nor revelations that
will really push them forward and that's a problem we saw in most of
the flashback episodes in the third season. The other big problem is
that Razor really couldn't decide on whether this was going to really
be a stand-alone sort of event or just another episode and that lack of
decisiveness really reflected in the story, which introduces a
potentially interesting character, but never fully commits to her and
consequently doesn't live up to its storytelling potential. In the end,
that means I have to say that Razor is not notably better than some of
the other less significant episodes of the third season. This isn't to
say that it's awful as it is still as watchable as any episode of this
series, but it is rather unimpressive, especially in how it squanders
its potential to tell a much greater story in its time frame. 6/10.

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To be able to help people that are trying to understand what Razor is
and what is not, I decided to write a humble review. Lets start with
what it is. Razor is a science-fiction movie that is tightly connected
to the series Battlestar Galactica. Therefore, if you don't know the
series, it is very unlikely that you can enjoy Razor. The character
development part for the characters that are in the series are skipped
and we see character development for only three people (Helena Cain,
Kendra Shaw, Number Six). As a matter of fact, without knowing events
and characters in the series, it is not easy to follow this movie. You
can think Razor as a long episode after season three. Now let me
briefly talk about what it is not. It is not a must to view before
season four. The story of Razor is somehow independent from what is
going on in the series and if you don't know it, you can still follow
what is going on. As a movie, Razor is not more advanced that the
series in terms of CGI. I found it a bit awkward since movies are
supposed to have a bigger budget. I didn't find the story very
interesting either. The main characters are portrait as extreme
females. This is not something we are used to I guess. Also, I can't
skip the accent of Stephanie Jacobsen. She really needs to do something
about it. Anyways, if you want to watch Razor, do it after season
three, not before that. And if you don't know the series, I don't think
you can enjoy it.

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"Battlestar Galactica: Razor" is up to the series standards, but as its
own two-hour special, ultimately feels pointless. It's very clear that
Ronald D. Moore and writer Michael Taylor had some interesting extra
material with regards to Admiral Cain and Battlestar Pegasus' past that
they really liked but couldn't justify shoving into Season 2 or 2.5.

"Razor" feels like what it is — a long episode of the show. More
specifically, it's a long version of one of those filler flashback
episodes. "Razor" does nothing to enhance the movement of the series'
story line. It's simply there for the die-hard fans to expand their
knowledge of the universe including some interesting flashbacks to the
first Cylon war. It's one of those things that as a fan you feel
obligated to take in and enjoy ingesting, but in the end realize it
didn't really do all that much for you.

The story gets its hook from when former Pegasus XO Col. Fisk tells
Col. Tigh that Admiral Cain shot her old XO in the head in front of
everyone in the CIC when he refused to obey her orders. The writers
explore Cain's past and come up with a new character, Lt. Kendra Shaw
to help tell that story. The movie takes place in present day (when Lee
Adama is appointed to command of Pegasus) with several flashbacks to
what happened on Pegasus between the Cylon attack and meeting up with
Galactica.

Shaw is not unlike Starbuck only she's dealing with a much darker past
courtesy some of the orders we learn that Cain gave her. Cain is
incredibly out of her mind and we learn a bit about why but nothing
every entirely satisfactory. In the present storyline, we learn of a
mission Pegasus and Galactica carried out in attempt to eliminate a
ship hiding a one of the Cylon hybrids.

It's a good story that does nothing to tarnish the series reputation
and it might have made for a fine couple of episodes, but "Razor"
doesn't feel special enough to warrant its own distinction from the
rest of the Battlestar series. There are some interesting tidbits to
add to our "Encyclopedia Galactica," some throwbacks to the original
series with some '70s style Centurions and some more graphic violence
if you catch the unrated version, but that's about it.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before its destruction in battle the crew of Battlestar Pegasus
underwent many changes in command. One common crew member through these
changes is the green Lt Kendra Shaw who joins the ship shortly before
the attack on the colonies. She remains in place in a higher role much
later when Lee Adama assumes command although it is clear that her
experiences have changed her approach to leadership. It is under Adama
that she makes tough but risky calls that lead to the discovery of an
very old model of Cylon ship – a model that brings memories back to
Commander Adama relating to his encounters in the first Cylon wars.

I must confess that learning that the massive cliff-hanger at the end
of season 3 was to be followed by a "flashback" film was not the most
cheering thing in the world. Quite how it was back when fans had to
wait a year to find out they were waiting a bit longer I don't know but
at least for me everything is out on DVD now so the only delays are
those associated with my spare time. Anyway, Razor took me a minute to
get into, partly because I didn't want to jump back. In it we get
events on the Pegasus under Cain that we had previously only heard
about, events under Lee Adama and some back-story on the Cylons by way
of Commander Adama. In terms of the main plot of the overall series,
Razor doesn't add a huge amount apart from adding a little bit of
information on the Cylon experiments with humans and a warning about
the destiny of one of the main characters.

Where Razor works though is in its look at the nature of command within
Pegasus, the tough decisions required and the regret that somehow has
to be managed. We see this through new character Shaw, who we see as
both a relative "rookie" of sorts as well as the more experienced,
jaded Lt of Adama's command. She is the common thread across the
majority of the film and it works because she does. She is very well
played by Jacobsen who is convincing in all the parts she has to play.
She fits into the cast well and captures the darker mood the series has
gradually taken on. Her threads are full of action and space battles
where the effects are impressive and quite exciting – sure it doesn't
move things along in the way one would hope but the events are engaging
and make for a solid drama. Not all the cast are as good as Jacobsen
although most are solid. The regular cast all do their stuff but it is
the Adama flashbacks that are not that well acted, with a bit too much
overacting and over-expression that does border on being hammy.

Razor may not answer the questions left hanging after season 3 but,
viewed without the pressure of answers (I did not have to wait long
after 3 for the season 4 DVD release) it is a solidly entertaining
film. The various threads all engage but it is the common presence of
Jacobsen's Shaw that makes it work as well as it does. Worth seeing for
those watching the series proper.

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