The year is 2038, the Earth is all squeezed out of mineral resources. Moon 44 is one of the few sources remaining and the mining station is defended by prison recruits. Enter undercover agent Stone (Michael Pare), who is send to discover the whereabouts of some expensive mining robots which have gone walkabout, only to reveal an ugly culture of hatred and corruption.
Many movie-makers don't really know what to do with science fiction, tending just to make the types of movies they are familiar with, but give them an outer space setting. Thus Star Wars, swashbuckler in space, Alien, a horror movie in space, Outland, a Western in space, and so on.
This trend reaches its bitter end in Moon 44, which manages to be an in-space version of those separate, mutually exclusive genres, the prison picture and the fighter pilot movie. In the future world of Moon 44, mining companies run the universe and there are various wars going on between them. Some unscrupulous capitalists send Shakespeare-reading unshaven hunk cop Pare to Moon 44 - we never find out what it is the 44th moon of, and the know-nothing script refers to it as a planet, which is a mistake any 12-year-old would be ashamed of - to find out who is stealing expensive mining equipment.
The colony is run by a haggard Malcolm McDowell and defended by a cadre of rough, tough fighter jocks. The problem is that all the pilots have been killed and so they are being replaced by "volunteers" from the prisons of Earth. Half the film, then, is prison cliches, with the brutalised sensitive lad getting back at the thug who raped him in the showers and then hanging himself in his cell, and the rest is air force cliches, with pilots crashing copters into each other and blasting robot invaders from a rival corporation, and Pare just broods.
The plot unravels in unwieldy dollops, and, despite some adequate special effects (for the time), the whole thing is really a bit of a bore.