I'm trying to find the name of a film I watched at least 10 but possibly over 20 years ago. I watched it on terrestrial TV in the UK. It may have been a 'made for TV' film but I can't be sure. I suspect it was a low budget film.
It was a live-action, colour, English-language film. The main actors were white but I couldn't say if they were American, British etc.
I can't remember any of the actors' names, only scenes and the general story from the film. My scene descriptions may not be exact just the best I can remember. I can’t even remember if the film was actually any good or not.
It starts off in a prison transport spaceship on its way to a prison. The protagonist and antagonist are both prisoners who have been sentenced to prison. I don't think they know each other. The protagonist is a pacifist who has a scientific/engineering background. The antagonist is a violent unstable type of person.
The doors to the spaceship open and they are ushered out along with other prisoners. They think they are going to a usual type of prison so, when the antagonist sees that there are no guards outside the spaceship, he whispers to the protagonist that they should make a run for it. They get off the spaceship and start to run, only to realise that the prison transport has taken off and left them to fend for themselves on a barren planet.
In the next scene a gang of people turn up on, I think, dilapidated motorbikes and/or cars, similar to how they look in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The protagonist and antagonist hide and see the gang attack the other prisoners they were with. After the gang has driven off, the antagonist decides he will follow them and attempt to become one of them. The protagonist decides to walk in another direction.
Either the protagonist finds a group of people who have a village or one member of the village finds him and leads him to the village. They welcome him but tell him that their situation is dire due to the water being poisonous and harassment by the gang.
The gang then turn up, demand food, and start damaging the village and hurting the villagers. The leader of the village tries to reason with the gang. He explains that if they stopped harassing them they could grow enough for all and there wouldn’t be any need for violence. The gang leader just threatens them again. He says they’ll be back after a period of time and there had better be more food.
After the gang leaves the protagonist helps the villagers by creating a basic machine which evaporates the water and condenses it again, thereby removing the poison. They are then able to grow crops successfully.
I think at this point the antagonist finds the gang’s base and manages to get in. He kills the leader and takes over as the gang’s leader. It’s possible this happened before they turned up at the village the first time but I can’t be sure.
I can’t remember much beyond this but obviously there is a confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist. I’m fairly sure at the end the protagonist finds a broken-down spaceship and repairs it. He then leaves the planet and takes the villagers with him.
Not these films
I have Googled and used IMDB’s advanced search extensively. The closest film I can find is Prison Planet but it is not this film. It’s possible some of my memories of the actual film have been distorted by looking at this. I see there is a Prison Planet 2 and 3 but from the little information I can find about them, it doesn’t sound like them either.
It also sounds reasonably similar to Soldier but it is definitely not this film.