Review: Crash and Burn

In a future that is apparently only twelve years away:

It’s 2030 and Big Brother has come to life in the form of UNICOM, a corporation that has taken control. A group of rebels are using old technology to fight in a world where computers and robots have been banned. A robot programmed to kill destroys all that threaten UNICOM. The only thing that can stop the Synthoid is a dormant 80-Robot that is brought back to life for a desperate showdown!

I have to say, the banning of computers was a pretty good plot device for why the old computers used in the movie were from the 1980s. This movie was above-average for the Full Moon movies so far. It didn’t rank as high as Trancers, which is apparently my gold standard now, but it was pretty good — far better than Seedpeople for sure. I’d say it ranks around Shadowzone, but is a different flavor of movie in many ways.

The future in this movie is a gross apocalyptic hellhole apparently dominated by severe bursts of solar activity. Think the tale-end of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Inner Light” but on gritty steroids. This is mostly shown through the characters talking about heat and one Dystopian Hillbilly with severe sun damage. (Dystopabilly? I think I like that.) The company is named Unicom, which sounds somewhat familiar for these movies but I cannot place it.

There’s some pretty good acting and good characters in this movie, the latter of which can make or break a B-movie. Winston Wickett, played by Jack McGee, steals every scene he’s in as a sort of future talk show host (think a Mad Max version of Morton Downey Jr). His “show” in the movie leads to a hilarious line from a caller: “Human prosties ain’t worth a broke dick.” He also refers to something as a “kettle of snatch” which I had never heard before but hope to one day use in conversation now.

I don’t usually like having a kid/teen genius character in my fiction, but this one wasn’t aggressively annoying like some (Wes Crusher), and also had several flaws/insecurities of her own that made the character tolerable. She also got the best line of the movie toward the end when dispatching a bad guy.

There’s a scene with a giant robot they handled pretty damn well through what looks like it might have been stop motion with miniatures, but for a B-movie from 1990 it looks great. Far better than cheap CGI in some bigger budget movies from the same rough time period — when people tried shoehorning computer graphics into everything but just ended up looking obvious.

Overall, I dug this movie. It did not Crash and Burn — it’s a solid B-movie.

Remember, we go into the movie expecting a B-movie, so everything is judged in that frame:

Running Time: One hour, twenty-four minutes and change.
Acting: Decent.
Effects: Great, for 1990.
Violence: A bit, and mostly toward the end.
Gun Use: Above average for Hollywood over all.
Gore: Kind of, mostly “Synthoid” related, with a bit of “fingore.”
Creepy? Not even a little.
Monster Type? Synthetic human robots, also known as Synthoids.
Funny? When it wants to be.
Nudity: A pair of breasts toward the end. Probably gratuitous.
Pacing: Pretty good, actually.