Yesterday they wanted each other dead. Today they need each other to survive.
I'm a serious sucker for SciFi (or SyFy) channel movies and lately I've been on a real kick with them. Giant alien bugs, mutated crocodile-octopus-dinosaurs, and dozens of Henchman #3's from the channel's serial output of the Stargate franchise. Android Apocalypse is another ex-rental I picked up in a bulk lot and quickly shelved for a rainy day. Well it didn't rain today - far from it, it's excruciatingly hot here in Sydney - but I felt it was the right time for some SyFy.
It's a post-apocalyptic future and humanity's last survivors are walled up in the final city of Phoenix. As the air outside is mainly toxic, and roaming mining ships that have gone mental shoot at anything that moves, so androids have been invented to do all the heavy work. Not everybody appreciates their help and a new form of racism begins against these so called 'cogs'. One of these cogs, DeeCee (Joseph Lawrence) is ordered to rescue the son of a Phoenix executive who has wandered outside of the city. This he does, but he takes a hit from one of the roaming droids and needs to go Terminus to be repaired.
Jute (Soctt Bairstow) is a factory worker whose job gets taken by an android and takes his anger out on another droid, disabling it. This is treated the same as murder in the new society so Jute is shipped off to Terminus prison. He shares not only a prison truck with DeeCee, but is tethered to him as well. When the truck is attacked by roaming service robots and all other droids and prisoners killed (quite bloodily, in the DVD version of the film - think Benny in Total Recall), the two leg it through the sand dunes being hunted by a sort-of vigilante android team.
Oh, and there is a mad genius Varrta, played by Troy Skog, who unknown to his superiors is building an android army to take over the city. And he's turning himself into an android. And he does so by harvesting green fluid from the back of human people's heads. That's right, green brain fluid. Still, I was pleasantly suprised here. Many SyFy films you watch once, start getting a bit tired towards the end but stick through it before saying; "Well. There you go." Android Apocalypse I didn't check the time until 45 minutes in which is a great thing for a film like this. It moved at a swift pace for the most part and the handful of fight scenes involving Lawrence and Birstow were decent enough.
So let's just get this out of the way: Joseph Lawrence was in Blossom, the 90's teen series, and in 1994 was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in People magazine. How funny is that? So just how did this hunk do as an android? Pretty well actually. He echoed the 'nice' android that we've seen in Automatic and Solo - the kind of droid that knows how to find but doesn't like to. But when threatened - which happens quite a bit in the film - he will retaliate with much arse kicking. They didn't go all out to demonstrate that DeeCee is an android; no crazy on screen displays about power levels and targeting systems. He does get his arm lopped off at one point though and leaks green fluid.
Scott Bairstow does a fine job as the bitter man whose job is replaced by a 'cog'. It's the same relationship we've seen in plenty of sci-fi movies; Enemy Mine being a good example. Hatred turns to distaste turns to acceptance turns to friendship. At the same time, DeeCee does the same as Olivier Gruner in Automatic and learns to become more human. The relationship works well and the two team up to return to the city, which is when they discover what Varrta is up to.
I actually quite liked the little universe that the producers made in this film and the use of limited sets worked well. As well as the normal androids you have 'police' droids that dress in motorcycle helmets that reminded me of the ones in THX-1138. The oversaturated lighting for the outisde shots did well to demonstrate the near toxic air that Jute had so much trouble breathing. A lot of the city interiors were quite cool with all the bright lights and flashing colours you expect from 'the near future'. The only real downfall was the pretty lame excuse for the mine, which was just a glorified sandpit, and the mineral was.. well, just sand.
All in all, a decent little sci-fi actioner that's a bit more sci-fi than action. If you get the DVD version you will get the sporadic moments of gore as well that I imagine are not included on the SyFy channel transmitted version, hence the US dvd subtitle "Extended Version". Oh and hey, Director Paul Ziller gave us Bloodfist IV and Shootfighter II. Recommended.
Sharp and probably filmed on digital video, anamorphically enhanced for the Region 4 DVD. Nice clear, explosive sound. Runtime ~90 mins.
Ex-rental DVD from a video store.
Bizarrely I couldn't find a trailer for this at all, though you can find the whole movie on Youtube. Go figure!