Posts Tagged ‘Post-apocalyptic

15
Dec
13

Screamers (1995)

I <3 Peter Weller!

I ❤ Peter Weller!

Screamers sounds awesome: a science fiction flick based on Philip K. Dick with robots and post-apocalyptic war-zones starring Peter Weller? Sh’yeah, sign me up, right? Unfortunately the film itself isn’t as good as one would hope. That’s not to say it isn’t good, it just isn’t great.

As most science fiction plots are, it’s complicated. There’s a war on a mining planet, and both sides have just about exhausted their resources. Joe Hendricksson (Peter Weller) is lucky; his side created a pretty intense weapon that has kept them safe in their bunker: Autonomous Mobile Swords, or Screamers. Because, well, they scream right before they’re about to kill you.

An orphaned child; the perfect camouflage.

An orphaned child; the perfect camouflage.

The Screamers detect your heartbeat, and that’s when they strike. The only way to survive when they’re near you is by having a device on your body that blots out your heartbeat’s signal, so you become invisible to the screamers. Any enemies without this device will soon be dinner for the screamers.

Some stuff happens and Hendricksson is soon convinced he and his company have been left on the planet to die. He takes a fresh-faced, idiot-boy soldier with him while trekking to the enemy’s headquarters. While he’s out there, he finds some really weird shit, namely Screamers that have taken a completely different form. Has the other side learned from and improved upon their

Weller and Rubin, suited up and ready to go.

Weller and Rubin, suited up and ready to go.

technology? Or, have the Screamers evolved into new “life” forms of their own volition?

As I said, it’s complicated, and frankly I didn’t really follow it until my husband explained it to me. Science fiction plots are often a weakness of mine, unfortunately. So, anyway, I don’t see the sense in explaining the whole thing here because, well, that wouldn’t be so much fun for you if you decide to watch the movie. Anyway, a whole lot of people with credibility thought this movie was pretty okay. I agree, it’s okay, but really nothing more. I was a little irritated with the characters; they’re all pretty one-dimensional and, well, some of them are straight-up annoying. There’s also that 90’s-badass-chick thing going on with the female lead, Jessica (Jennifer Rubin), and I find that stuff pretty insufferable. But, if that’s sort of thing, this isn’t a bad way to go.

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09
Nov
13

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

lastmanonearth1What’s worse: dying from the plague, or being the only human on Earth immune to it? Tough question, right? I guess that’s why Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend has been filmed more than a few times. My first foray into Matheson’s depressing world is the 1964 film The Last Man on Earth, which scores points right away for starring Vincent Price.

It’s probably been at least two or three years since the plague hit and Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) lost everything and everyone. Instead of fun-filled, smiling days with his family, he spends the daylight hours sharpening wooden spikes and raiding abandoned grocery freezers for whatever garlic is still left. His nights are spent hunting the vampires. They come for him in droves, but are so slow and dumb, they don’t present much of a fight.

lastmanruthThere is always the hope that he will find someone else, another human who hasn’t succumbed to the plague. Years of pleading into the radio have yielded nothing, but one day, he runs into a young woman named Ruth. That’s when things get really interesting.

See, turns out, some of those monsters he’s been indiscriminately killing aren’t exactly monsters – at least, not yet. As Ruth explains to our hero, she’s part of a society of folks who have found a cure, sort of. It works for a few hours until the illness starts to set in again. She’s been sent on a spy mission of sorts, to try and figure out the story behind the boogeyman murdering all her friends!

Though the film itself is a little slow-paced and grainy, the concept is compelling and terrifying enough to fuel the film for its 86 minutes. It sure is much more interesting and thought-provoking than your average vampire flick. And, I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to watch Vincent Price: Vampire Hunter? Of course, now I’m curious about the other adaptations as well as the source material. Guess I better get to researching…

24
Jun
13

Manborg (2011)

Meet the manborg.

Meet the manborg.

Best Buy is still good for something. Hear me out: we wouldn’t have heard of Manborg if we didn’t decide to browse their DVD selection. How sad it would have been if we had continued living life without seeing this movie.

Where do I begin? It’s the first war against Hell. Or, maybe it’s the second – it doesn’t really matter. A young man dies in the fight against evil, but is brought back to half-life by the well-meaning but confused Dr. Scorpius as the Manborg. Fast forward to an even more destitute future where Count Draculon

#1 Man takes down one of hell's evil minions!

#1 Man takes down one of hell’s evil minions!

and his evil minions virtually own the whole of Mega-Death city. Manborg is thrown in jail with a few other misfits: a brother and sister team named Justice and Mina (curiously, only Justice has an Australian accent… and really wants to be Billy Idol), and a martial arts expert (#1 Man), who taught Count Draculon’s army all they know about fighting. At first, the humans don’t trust Manborg; they think he’s working for Draculon. But a clue from Manborg’s past illuminates his true identity, and the ragtag group are off to fight the forces of evil together.

Dr. Scorpius and his companion running around doing stuff.

Dr. Scorpius and his companion running around doing stuff.

 

Wow. Just wow. I can safely say I’ve never seen anything like this. Wikipedia tells me this movie was made for $1,000 (CAD), and when you watch it, you can tell. But, if you’re going to make a low-budget movie, this is the way to do it! Sure, it looks like a cheap video game from the early 90’s, but it works. It works really well, in fact. It is so incredibly over the top, you have no choice but to go along with it. It will make you laugh, cry, and want to watch RoboCop again.

06
Mar
13

Millennium (1989)

Kris Kristofferson: Dreamy Steamboat

Kris Kristofferson: Dreamy Steamboat

In the interest of our sanity, this Cull* business will be coming to an end very soon. To be fair, though, a girl is pretty lucky when her housecleaning involves two Kris Kristofferson films. While Knights didn’t survive extermination, our second Kristofferson selection, Millennium, fares much better.

Kristofferson plays Bill Smith, a plane-crash investigator whose career consumes his life. While investigating a particularly troubling crash, he meets the strange and charming Louise Baltimore (Cheryl Ladd). Their first date turns into a sleepover, and the next morning Baltimore tries her

Sherman, your favorite robot, talks Louise down from the ledge.

Sherman, your favorite robot, talks Louise down from the ledge.

damndest to keep Smith from attending a press conference involving the crash, but Smith is too married to his job to miss it – or is he? Immediately after saying goodbye to Baltimore, Smith turns back to the hotel room – perhaps to stay with her all day and skip out on the conference, or maybe just to say goodbye a second time – but we never know, because mere seconds after Smith leaves the room, Baltimore is gone without a trace.

Kids in the Hall's own Scott Thompson

Kids in the Hall’s own Scott Thompson

Confounded by Baltimore’s disappearance as much as the plane crash he’s investigating, Smith stays on in a room full of wreckage, pondering the events of the last few days. While rummaging through the wreckage, he finds a very strange piece of equipment. Examining the curiosity, he stuns himself and cannot move. As he drops to the ground, futuristic women swoop in to steal the strange device, one of them looking a whole hell of a lot like Louise Baltimore.

The Face of the Future

The Face of the Future

What follows is a delightful and charming science fiction story involving robots, time-travel, a few Cronenberg alums and a cameo by Canada’s own Scott Thompson. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because what I liked most about this film is how it  was revealed: slowly and from different points of view. I can’t help but compare this to Trancers, another adorable time-travel flick with a tough-but-lovable male lead. The two might make the perfect double-feature.

*Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.

05
Feb
13

Knights (1993)

Henriksen as Job, the vampire robot.

Henriksen as Job, the vampire robot.

Say what? Another post-apocalyptic science fiction movie finds is way on our cull* list? Shocking, I know, but what can I say; the apocalypse lends itself to very bad writing indeed.

This time we follow Nea (kickboxing champion Kathy Long), a tomboy badass whose family was eaten by vampiric cyborgs (actually robots, but who’s counting?). as she travels through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Along the hard, dusty road she meets Gabriel (Kris Kristofferson), a good cyborg made by “the creator” to destroy all the other evil cyborgs, who have decided to launch a full-scale war to get the blood of 10,000 humans and rule the earth.

The troop of evil cyborgs is led by Job (Lance Henrisken), a

Kathy Long as Nea, a fast learner of cyborg-killing indeed.

Kathy Long as Nea, a fast learner of cyborg-killing indeed.

perpetually drooling machine-armed mad-bot with power on his mind. Nea and Gabriel must traverse a great swath of the post-apocalyptic American Southwest in hopes of beating Job and his evil cyborg clan (all named after biblical characters, see) to Taos, the only area populated enough in this barren wasteland to provide the blood they need to take control.

So, yeah, this movie is totally ridiculous, but who wouldn’t want to watch robots played by Kristofferson and Henriksen go at it? Also, kickboxing chicks are cool, right? At first, I thought this movie was going to be a huge piece of shit. In the end, it ended up being a tiny turd. I am sort of ashamed to admit that I kind of liked it. I am a little sad to see the videocassette get thrown to the wolves in the freecycle pile!

*Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.

 

28
Jan
13

Crash and Burn (1990)

CrashAndBurnPosterThe Cull* continues with Crash and Burn, another post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure which, lucky for us, was much, much better than the now-culled Circuitry ManThank goodness all post-apocalyptic films aren’t created equal.

The year is 2030, the temperature: hot. The Earth is a wasteland. Humans shouldn’t go outside without wearing their cool-suits. Unicom is a corporate giant that controls everything from television to freon distribution. Robots have been outlawed, and so has personal computer use. A cog in Unicom’s wheel, Tyson Keen is just trying to deliver some freon to an independent television studio. The owner of the station, Lathan Hooks, lives there with his granddaughter Arren and a few other folks, including a satellite school-teacher and a disgusting Rush Limbaugh type television host.

Lathan and Arren are members of the Resistance, and so Tyson has to prove himself a good guy before he can be trusted. This is easily done since Tyson is obviously ignorant of his employer’s underhanded practices. The group is about to hunker down for a “thermal,” a heat-storm that keeps people inside for days at a time. It is during this storm that one of the crew murders Lathan. Arren is left to prove to the others that there is double-agent in their midst.

Arren & Tyson

Arren & Tyson

This movie isn’t bad! It helps having pretty low expectations, and honestly anything after Circuitry Man would probably seem passable – but this is charming in its own way. I’m also a fan of its anti-corporate message. Some of its social commentary was even meaningful and prophetic (though that word is way too strong, I think it gets the point across). Would I recommend this movie to someone? Probably not, but it has survived the cull, so that must mean something!

*Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.

26
Jan
13

Circuitry Man (1990)

CircuitryManNow that I’ve completed my odyssey through the work of director David Cronenberg, Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.

And so the great cull begins with Circuitry Man. This is set in the “near future” where the oceans have dried up, the last tree has been cut down, and oxygen is non-existent on the earth’s surface. The government has set up underground cities, and the story starts in Underground Los Angeles, where Lori, a former bodyguard turned lacy seamstress, is bullied into one last job guarding her former boss, Juice.

Juice deals in chips – computer chips, I guess – the heroin of the day. She’s trying to work a deal with Plughead, a baddy with… plugs… in his head… but the deal is soured by the presence of some undercover cops: on the run, Plughead knocks out Lori and snaps Juice’s neck. Lori wakes up, plugs Plughead with something and steals the chips in hopes of making a fortune in New York, finally getting out of the hellhole she lives in.

Plughead. Ooh, scary.

Plughead. Ooh, scary.

Getting around isn’t easy in this post-apocalyptic world, though – she’ll need a driver. The only one she knows is a Pleasure-droid named Donner, in search of his girlfriend who doesn’t actually exist; she’s just a program, he just doesn’t know it. Lori convinces him to join her and off they go, first starting underground but ending up on the earth’s surface, which is rife with pool sharks and motorcycle gangs.

This movie is a piece of crap. I cared absolutely nothing for any of the characters (except Donner, a little bit, by the end). Lori is incredibly irritating, and so is Plughead; he’s just not very good at being very bad. Needless to say, this one goes into the out pile.




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