Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Death Machine

It’s always a little odd when a film set in the future makes references to earlier films in the genre, or even worse, a then-present day pop culture reference. This film, made in 1995 and set in the Near Future, does both. This film has a pair of irritating Humanist goofballs trying to bring down an evil corporation, and almost halfway through the film one of them decides to do a Schwarzenegger impression and tell everyone “I’ll be back” (yes, he was doing Schwarzenegger’s voice, it’s not something that could have been passed off as a coincidence), and then a few scenes later does a Street Fighter reference, shouting out “Shoryuken!” before going to town on an evil robot. These are small moments, granted, but movies do tend to live or die on a series of small moments.

Fortunately, the rest of the movie is generally pretty entertaining, if generic. We’ve got our futuristic world that’s typically 90s cyberpunkish, we’ve got our evil corporation that’s developing evil weaponry, we’ve got a killer robot that seems to be comprised almost entirely of fangs and claws, and we’ve got a small group of people trapped in the building with it whose chances of survival seem to be pretty easy to determine from the moment each of them opens their mouths. There’s really nothing here that you haven’t seen before, but it’s always pretty fun to watch a bunch of people frantically firing machine guns at a big robot thing that’s trying to eat them all. Especially when it’s standing on a platform above them and they’re shooting the robot and everything around it so that a hail of sparks and shrapnel is descending upon them, but with nobody getting wounded from this at all.

This, like Little Erin Merryweather before it, was another film I had gotten at Fangoria’s recommendation, and I have a feeling I’m not going to find any outright classics from their list of obscure greats. Especially not when they’re as much of a pain to get ahold of as this film was: the original copy I had ordered from Amazon came in a Death machine box, the DVD had a Death Machine logo on it, and when I put it in my DVD player Cyborg 2 loaded up. I guess because one cheesy 90s sci fi movie is as good as another, right?

Rating: **

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