• “This movie started off light-hearted but I had to cover my eyes when the plot got darker than the back of Forest Whitaker’s neck.” – JT McKraken, Foxbow Journal
  • “A brilliantly mesmerizing, and at times very frightening, sci-fi thriller with a spring-loaded cat quotient of 3.7 will keep you on the edge of your seat.” – Cindy Futzilli, Calgary Times
  • “I was at the pre-screening of this movie today (Friday), and it’s safe to say that you’ll see it on BetaMax Monday morning.” – Alan Geeyter, Rock Lake Times 

The Bottom Line
Shale Wars: The Permian Strikes Back combines the crazy stupid fun of a romantic comedy with the genuine white-knuckling debt-financed tension that culminates in hundreds of billions of dollars of investors’ money (and thousands of jobs) disappearing into empty space, thanks to a rebel unconventional reservoir that said, “I’ve had enough, you greedy bastards!” Cue the battle between the Black Order Reservoirs and the Investor Community Resistance, sit back, and take in the lackluster special effects as the Black Order dupes the Resistance to the tune of hundreds of billions of US dollars in a financial meltdown of epic proportions. The movie, featuring the likes of Canadian cable access TV starlet Krystina Meeland, unfortunately misses on all facets of traditional Hollywood silver screen entertainment value. But where it under-delivers on a confusing plot and poor character development, it more than makes up in “wait a second, did they actually film that?” moments.

Jorge Lukass

Krystina Meeland & Eddy Murfee

From the studio that released stab-yourself-in-the-eyes-to-stop-the-pain box-office flops including 2010’s The Creature from the Fracked Lagoon and Whatchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Justin?!, we have here a big-screen gem where a petroleum reservoir – that’s right, a subsurface pool of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations – is the star and indeed steals the show.

The movie is set in a galaxy far, far away over 1.3 billion years ago. Shallow seaways cover the plains of West Texas, as structural deformation occurs at a snail’s pace, and orogenies start to form complex structures and a number of basins. The basins deepen as they converge and their rapidly subsiding features accumulate sediments, including organic-rich, coarse-grained, deep-water materials that would become known as hydrocarbon deposits, or in this case… the Black Order. The Black Order, lead by Darth Spacing (Eddy Murfee) commits to hanging onto its valuable, energy-rich deposits of oil and gas.

Fast forward to 2006. The oil and gas multinational conglomerate, Chevyron Corporation, starts to develop the lands it acquired just east of Midland, Texas. Princess NoLaida (played by Krystina Meeland) is the drilling manager on a Hollimorton triple that drills an exploratory horizontal well deep within the Permian basin and starts to draw oil. This operation awakes the Black Order beast from a billion year slumber. Pissed off as hell and curious as to what just poked it in the tuchus, Darth Spacing sends a team of nano-surveillance pods up with the oil and learns that Chevyron and its investors are making money at its expense.

Furious about Princess NoLaida and her team stealing and selling its blood energy, but interested in how long he can lead them on, Darth Spacing mandates that the Black Order hold back. “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” the Black Order’s overlord is quoted as saying – a line he shamelessly stolen from 1984’s Star Trek: Wrath of Kahn.

Skip ahead to 2018 and the Dark Order has had enough. It cannot handle the thousands of injuries it has sustained at the hands of Princess NoLaida and her Investment Community Resistance (ICR) minions. A war ensues where the ICR tries harder to steal the energy by using bigger, more damaging fracs, but the Black Order hits back by forcing operators to write down reserves and finance drilling and development with debt, resulting in the operators’ debt to trailing 12-month funds flow ratios spiralling out of control. Without giving away the ending, it is fair to say that the ICR gets its ass handed to them on a gold-plated platter.

Princess Nolaida in a scene just before she attempts to kick some Darth Spacing ass!

How many times can you say in your mind, “Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here?” during a feature-length film. The limit does not exist. You’d have more fun watching Rachel Notley and Alison Redford nude-oil-wrestle for 2 hours and 19 minutes at a peep show in Leduc, Alberta than subject yourself to this shitty mess of a movie.

Jorge Lukass and his team at Alberta-based Havre Studios get an A+ for effort, but a big fat F for execution. Acting is bad all around. I felt a disconnect with the reservoir from the get-go, and this got even worse when production rates were so rapid that average reservoir pressure dropped below the bubble point.

If you’ve already seen The Permian Strikes Back, then there’s only one thing you can do to redeem yourself, according to 2P News Staff counsellor, Andy Killinger.

Andy Killinger, 2P Staff Counselor

Andy Killinger, Staff Couselor

“okay, Here’s what you do. Step 1: Travel back into time to a few minutes before that fateful decision when you purchased the ticket online. Step 2: stand roughly 20 meters away from a concrete wall. Step 3: tilt your head down. Step 4: run full steam ahead until head contacts wall. The idea is that when you come to, you would have forgotten about wanting to watch this POS motion picture.” – Andy Killinger, 2P News

But if by chance you have yet to see this movie, please throw whatever device you’re reading this on into the ocean. Send me a postcard, and tell me what it’s like to be free.

2P News gives this movie 1.5 out of 5 stars.


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