With this double feature release, SHOUT! FACTORY/SCREAM FACTORY pairs up to vastly different Sci-Fi film's. First MILLENNIUM, which is a film dealing with time travel. And then there is R.O.T.O.R, which feature an experimental robot gone haywire.
MILLENIUM - 1989 - Directed by Michael Anderson -
In the time travel film, MILLENNIUM, William Smith, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) is assigned on to the case of a plane crash which has had a number of casualties. When listening to the tapes of the cockpit voice recorder, things just don't add up, in regards to how the events occurred. It baffles Smith and his colleagues, but things would get much more strange, when Smith himself has a one night stand with Louise Baltimore - a woman he believes to be an employee of the airline. The next morning, when Smith reports into work late at the hanger in which the debris is being stored, William makes a discovery that would soon take the story of a bizarre turn. When he discovers a futuristic weapon known as a "stunner" it incapacitates him, and thus brings out Louise and 2 associates - although, this Louise looks much different. As it turns out, Louise and her friends are warriors from 1,000 years into the future. They are part of a future Earth that is rendered sterile. And because no none can have children in their present, it is Louise, and the other's job to go back in time where plane crashes are on the verge of happening. Their job? To rescue a select few, replacing them with replicas. This would so explain the situation with William Smith and the crash, but when Louise eventually falls for William, who is 1,000 years in her past, things get complicated when Louise must go back to 1989 to retrieve the stunner before a time paradox occurs, which would surely destroy the planet.
Going into MILLENNIUM, I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't heard of the film, more or less seen it. But with that said, it stars Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd - two talents that I usually enjoy, so I was set, and just hoped that I would at least enjoy it somewhat.
And "enjoy it somewhat". i'd say I did. I mean, by no means is it great Sci-Fi, but by B-Movie standards, it's an ok time. Not always to be believed, but it's silly fun. It is fun to watch "everyman" Kris Kristofferson portray the investigator as he tries to solve the mystery behind the crash. It is equally fun to witness Ladd, who basically assumes 2 roles here; the someone which her character pretends to be, and then who the character truly is - which is a warrior from future times, sent back into the past. She's sexy(as she always is), and offers a nice counterpart, to Kristofferson, country boy charm. So the characters are interesting. But what is a little confusing is the plot itself. In a nutshell, MILLENNIUM is about a group of humans from the future, who now live in a world that is polluted beyond repair. It has also caused people to become sterile, and with the advancement of humankind now dire in the future, this group looks to fix things by going back in time, to moments that plane crashes occurred, in order to pick survivors. This would ensure that they would start over, and then possibly have children, thus kick-starting the reproduction process of mankind for the future. If that sounds like a lot to process, believe me, it is. However, MILLENNIUM does it's best to get its point across. It does well, but because it crams the content of a short story into a full future length feature, the end result seems to drag a little as it gets to its point. It does take awhile for MILLENNIUM to reveal itself to us. Before we find out just what is going. Truly, I feel that MILLENNIUM works best as the short story that it was, because for that, there is enough story. But here, not only to we get the core story, we also get an abundance of story that is essentially just filler, that just extends the length of the film. From the crash at the beginning of the film, to "William's" discovery, of not only the cause of the crash, but also the truth behind "Louise", to the conclusion - everything could have been told pretty much in the span of an hour or under, to be honest.
Overall, a little silly, a little confusing to some degree, but ultimately fun take on time travel, from the Director of LOGAN'S RUN.
Overall Rating : 5.5/10
ELIMINATORS - 1987 - Directed by Cullen Blaine -
Taking place in 1980s Dallas, Captain Barrett C. Coldyron is the head of the Dallas Police Tactical Operations lab. There, he is the head of a research team, who is looking for a way to control the city's crime in the future. He and his team believe that they have found a solution with a project that they have dubbed "R.O.T.O.R". Short for Robotic Officer Tactical Operations Research, the project has their focus on creating a robotic Police force that is utmost lifelike to their human counterparts. They are hoping that it would help persevere the lives of the real officers on duty. The project is years away from being completed. However, a problem arises when Coldyron's higher up, Commander, Earl Buglar promises a White House hopeful that the project will be finished in the sum of 60 days, thus giving him credit. For Coldyron, the task seems impossible to complete, and so he quits, before Buglar can fire him. This would soon prove disastrous for the lab, as the person whom Buglar makes Coldyron's successor, inadvertently sets free, the unfinished R.O.T.O.R. Police robot. Now out on the streets, the R.O.T.O.R begins to serve justice cold, even when it shouldn't - thus causing plenty of chaos in the city. As could be predicted, it is only Barret Coldyron, along with fellow Scientist Dr. Corrine Steele, and one of the robot's victims(Sonia), who can stop it before even more destruction ensues.
Next up, is Science fictioner, R.O.T.O.R., and if you read the above description and believe that it sounds similar to a movie - or two, you wouldn't be wrong. As it appears that R.O.T.O.R., seems to have been heavily inspired by the likes of ROBOCOP, and THE TERMINATOR. Not only does it borrow much of its idea from ROBOCOP, like that film, it was also filmed on location in Dallas.
One look at R.O.T.O.R.'s IMDb page, (which the film currently sports a rating of 2.3/10) would tell you that we are not dealing with high art here. We aren't. But the truth is that this is a case where the phrase "so bad, it's good" rings true to the fullest. Yes, it is bad, and the cheese factor is through the roof. But it is the very things which make it "bad", that make it impossible to turn off. This movie is a lot of fun, for all of the wrong reasons. It seems as if the lead actor, Richard Gesswin, who portrays "Barrett Coldyron" had all of his lines overdubbed in post by another person. So sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate narration from on-sight dialogue. Granted there are parts of the film that do feature character narration, but when said narration transitions to a regular scene of dialogue, much of the dialogue still "feels" like scene narration. This gives R.O.T.O.R. a real "spotty" feel, that often results in unintentional comedy. Not to mention that most of the film's dialogue just tries a little too hard to be funny and witty. There are many lines that you are likely to remember here, simply because they are just too ridiculous. But perhaps the most funny thing about R.O.T.O.R. is that the overdubbed Coldyron dialogue makes him sound like a Wild West cowboy of epic proportions. Way more tough than he actually is.
Simply put, R.O.T.O.R. is just silly fun and nothing more than that. It's bad, but who cares? At least it's fun, just as long as you don't take it seriously. And with a plot such as this one, should it be taken seriously, anyway? I put R.O.T.O.R. in the same category along the lines of NAIL GUN MASSACRE. Coincidently both shot locally in Texas, and both so silly, and over the top, that they are rendered enjoyable, on account of their absurdity.
Overall Rating : 6/10