Film Reviews:

Circuitry Man

(Steven Lovy, US, 1990)

It is the future and most humans live underground to avoid the lethal pollution above. Lori, a female bodyguard is brought out of retirement for one last mission - to steal a case of computer chips, plugged straight into a port in one's head that create overwhelmingly realistic sensations. Lori teams up with Romero (a male pleasure andriod) and the two intend to travel underground all the way to New York where they will be able to sell the chips.

This is a quirky and (mostly) reasonably-acted futuristic road movie that draws on Tetsuo, the Mad Max trilogy, Blade Runner, Davd Cronenberg and sprinkles it all with liberal doses of comedy. Unfortunately, most of the comedy is dire. The budget is tiny and the effects and sets reflect that. In it's favour is the reversal of conventional male/female roles of the lead characters - the male being the 'sex interest', while the woman is the action hero. There journey to New York briefly goes to the surface where oxygen masks are required to survive and they are pursued throughout by a baddie called Plughead (who, unsurprisingly, has lots of plug sockets in his head) and two comical cops - one thin, the other fat - Laurel and Hardy-like. There is a surreal showdown but this is a pretty inauspicious way to spend 90 minutes. Low-budget SF regular Dennis Christopher puts in another cheesy (and slightly creepy) performance. Amazingly, there is a 1994 sequel called Plughead Rewired - Circuitry Man II in which many of the cast reprise their roles and a certain Ms Traci Lords puts in an appearance.

Rob Dyer

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