Cult Movie Essentials

Moon 44 (1990)

By 2038, all of Earth’s natural resources have been depleted. Multinational corporations have taken control of the galaxy and rival companies battle each other for access to mining planets. A major battle is for Moon 44, a fuel mining operation in the Outer Zone. It is the only installation still controlled by the Galactic Mining corporation. Moons 46, 47 and 51 have recently been overtaken by the Pyrite Defense Company’s battle robots. Galactic Mining had its own defence system, helicopters capable of operating in the violent atmospheres of the moons, but it was cancelled as too many pilots died while in training. The company sends new navigators to Moon 44 to assist the pilots. However, there is still a shortage of pilots, so the company is forced to use prisoners. Galactic Mining regards its fleet of mining shuttles as even more important, so if the base is attacked, the shuttles are ordered to leave the crews behind.

Galactic Mining hires Felix Stone (Michael Paré), an undercover agent, to investigate the disappearance of two shuttles that went missing under mysterious circumstances. Stone travels to Moon 44 and meets chief navigator Tyler (Dean Devlin) who suspects the shuttles were stolen by somebody after they modified the flight computers. The mining operation’s defence director, Major Lee (Malcolm McDowell) and his assistant, Master Sergeant Sykes (Leon Rippy) are the prime suspects. Stone later catches Sykes reprogramming a mining shuttle shortly before its departure. Sykes attacks Stone with an axe but is quickly gunned down by Lee, who then refuses to hand over the modified computer to Stone, citing “company orders”.

Having concluded his investigation, Stone prepares to leave, but the mining operation is attacked by a Pyrite “Medusa”-class battle cruiser. Major Lee sabotaged the alarm systems and then orders all of the mining shuttles to return to Earth. Stone manages to singlehandedly shoot down the entire first wave of enemy attack drones, while prisoner O’Neal (Brian Thompson) stays behind to destroy the remaining drones as Lee’s actions at the base are discovered.

Lee tries to sabotage the last remaining mining shuttle, but he is trapped in an elevator by Stone and blown up by his own bomb. The others return safely to Earth, where Stone informs the Galactic Mining Chairman (Roscoe Lee Browne) that Lee was bribed by Pyrite to redirect the mining shuttles to a planet in the Outer Zone.

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