Here is a throwaway space spoof, an affectionate send-up of the naffness of early 90s video games, that lovingly recreates the vintage details with its production design and fight choreography, but is troublingly low on scripted gags. It plays out in two dimensions: virtual and real life. Inside a computer game, explorer Max Cloud is an intergalactic hero, a preposterous macho knucklehead in latex, sturdily performed by actor and martial arts expert Scott Adkins, who has appeared in a few of the Marvels. I did wonder if an actor with the comic chops for some megaton silliness might have done some heavier lifting here.
Meanwhile, in actual Brooklyn, teenage gamer Sarah (Isabelle Allen) is hooked on the Max Cloud video game. After a fight with her dad she is mysteriously teleported into the game – and into the body of a minor character, chef Jake (Elliot James Langridge). You might consider this a waste of a female lead – putting her into the body of a male actor – but there she stays for most of the movie. For any chance of making it back to her real life she must complete the game with the help of her friend playing in her bedroom (Franz Drameh). John Hannah is painfully unfunny as ultra baddie Revengor, who wants to destroy planet Earth over a past snub.
This is a film so inoffensive that for the first 10 minutes I thought it was targeted at kids, until one of the characters dropped a swear (and thinking about it, anyone under 40 will be oblivious to its reference). But in lampooning naffness without enough laughs, it veers perilously close to actually being naff. A reminder that clever comedians are required to pull off daft comedy.
• Released on 18 January on digital formats.