Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SCREAMERS (1996)

Oh, please, critics of Rotten Tomatoes. Is your war against joy such serious business that you would deny a fun, thrill-ride horror and action and sci-fi mashup that recalls the equally-insubstantial and bitchin' fare of the eighties, like TOTAL RECALL and THE RUNNING MAN? We are BFFs no more.

The Library of Congress would probably not choose to preserve SCREAMERS instead of Persuasion, unfortunately. Alien races would not, upon seeing SCREAMERS, become afraid and fly away before being annihilated by our obviously totes superior brainpower. And yet! This is a highly entertaining film.

Peter Weller of ROBOCOP renown stars as the commanding officer of a mining outpost in the midst of a war over resources and radiation. An element has been discovered that can solve all of the Earth's energy problems, but (uh oh!) the mine also emits deadly radiation. The company wants money, the miners aren't big cancer fans, so a war has erupted. And, after ten years, it's gotten so bad that the miners (dubbed the Alliance) have created killing robots called Screamers to even the odds against the company store.
These things are ace on the killer robot scale, all buzzing blades and speed. And! They have a burrow beneath the sand in which they build ever-evolving versions of themselves! Now tell me how you could possibly hate this film? It would take a giant of ineptitude to botch this premise.

And director Christian Duguay and writer Dan O'Bannon (YES, THAT ONE) are certainly no
giants. SCREAMERS careens along with appropriate grue and admirable acting from Weller, Jennifer Rubin, and the rest of the gang, never reaching new heights, but never
disappointing (okay, that's a lie, the last third or so is kind of disappointing and the ending could have been tighter, but eh).

I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. Killer evolving
death-robots, economic conflict and mining policy, ugly/scuzzy landscapes, and lots of action. What's not to love? If you have a soft spot for THE TERMINATOR, HARDWARE, and similar fare, this will raise none of your hackles.

#10 of 31.

1 comment:

Mona said...

<3

I am very fond of this movie, which I think I first saw on Sci-Fi (pre-SyFy days) with my dad, while the rest of my family rolled their eyes and wouldn't watch it with us:)