Empty Balcony: Runaway

Tom Selleck at peak mustache, Gene Simmons, THAT Gene Simmons, playing a mad scientist who has an army of killer robots, in a science fiction film written and directed by Michael Crichton? Yes, I will watch that.

From 1984, Runaway is a look into the near future, where robots are a part of everyday life. They cook our food, wash our clothes, construct our buildings, and guard our businesses. But like all machines, they aren’t perfect. That is where the dedicated men and women of the police department’s runaway squad come in. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Runaway”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The New Gladiators, aka Warriors of the Year 2072

Television is a tough racket. Just ask the employees of WBS TV. In the future, the year 2072, to be precise, WBS has a hit show on their hands. It’s called The Danger Game, where contestants are hooked up to a machine that pumps visions of bloody torture directly into their brains. If they endure the torture without panicking, they win. It’s a successful show for the discerning TV consumer of the dystopian future, but it’s still getting beaten in the ratings by Kill Bike — a show featuring riders on motorbikes engaging in some poorly filmed jousting. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The New Gladiators, aka Warriors of the Year 2072”

Schwarzenegger Month: The Terminator

Is The Terminator the best movie Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever been in? There’s a strong possibility that it is. Some viewers have an affinity for Terminator 2, others for Conan the Barbarian. As for me, I voted with my eyes a long time ago. Of all the films Arnold has made, The Terminator is the one I’ve watched the most. It is impossible for me to recall just how many times I’ve seen it, but I would not be surprised if it’s somewhere in the 20s, maybe even the 30s. So, pardon me while I gush. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: The Terminator”

Schwarzenegger Month: Conan the Destroyer

Groo the Wanderer...oops, I mean Conan the Destroyer, is the sequel to Conan the Barbarian. Conan the Barbarian represented just about all that was good about the adventure story, even though at times it felt unmercifully cheap. But, my goodness, did it have style. Conan the Destroyer wasn’t a slack-jawed effort at making a sequel, but it was enough of a cash grab that most of what made its predecessor so good has been excised. And it’s a subtle difference. Conan the Destroyer has big guys with swords and axes, exotic people and locales from a mythological past, great shooting locations, and sets that look as if much time and effort were put into them, but it’s mere replica. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Conan the Destroyer”

The Empty Balcony: 2010

The year 2010 has come and gone, and with it, a milestone in the calendar of science fiction. First, a quick explanation. The calendar of science fiction is an informal mental tabulation I keep of events in fiction that took place in the future when the material was originally released. I keep note of plots and dates of noteworthy films, television series, and novels to see just how far away from reality the storytellers drifted once the actual year is reached. For example, Escape from New York, John Carpenter’s dystopian vision of Manhattan Island as a maximum security prison, took place in 1997. That year came and went, and while New York City didn’t have the greatest reputation in the world at the time, it did feature a steadily falling crime rate and no landmines on its bridges. In short, not a prison. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: 2010”