What a gloriously stupid movie. Future Kick is a textbook example of a shitty movie of the era. Everything about it is cheap, from its discount action star in Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, its discount Kirstie Alley in Meg Foster as the female lead, its bargain-basement special effects and sets, and its grainy film stock. There was even producer Roger Corman’s favorite method of saving money on a production: reusing footage from earlier films.
Once upon a time Corman addressed this oft-used technique. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that back when he started reusing footage and/or sets, there was no such thing as a home video market. He was making films that would show for a week or two at a drive-in, and that was the last anyone would ever see of them. No one would remember when a few months later a different flick would appear reusing footage from the earlier film. Sure, that’s a fine excuse for his Poe films, to which he was referring, but Future Kick was released in 1991, well after the home video market became a thing. Reused footage in this film comes from a duo of space flicks, Galaxy of Terror and Forbidden World, and erotic slasher Stripped to Kill 2, which gives viewers a healthy dose of gratuitous nudity.
From screenwriters Catherine Cyran and Damian Klaus, with Klaus directing, Future Kick is a dystopian movie that showcases a future earth ravaged by climate change and war. New Los Angeles is a cyberpunk hellscape of dingy bars, strip clubs, dark alleys, ratty hotels, and nary a ray of sunlight. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of functional government in this future. Rather, it’s the corporations that run everything, even employing their own police forces.
As explained in voiceover form, the corporations, in an attempt to protect their interests, developed a race of biomechanical people to sally forth into the slums and wipe out crime. But, these cyborgs, called Cyberons ™, soon discover that the primary source of crime in this bleak future are the corporations, and so begin targeting their creators. The Cyberons ™ couldn’t win against the overwhelming force of the corporations, however. Now, there is only Walker (Wilson) left, making a living as a badass bounty hunter.
Soon enters Nancy (Foster), a widower whose husband was murdered in New Los Angeles. Circumstances lead her to find Walker, and she convinces him to go after her husband’s killers. This leads to the discovery of an organ smuggling operation and all sorts of evil stuff.
The bad guys in this flick are Hynes (Eb Lottimer), who loves to cut people’s hearts out while looking them in the eyes, and his sidekick, Bang (Chris Penn, whose career was to get much more interesting with the release of his next film, Reservoir Dogs). The two of them, like Walker, are of dubious human extraction, making them the only baddies in the movie capable of going toe-to-toe with the hero.
There are fist fights, gun fights, some explosions, a little space flight, a little model work, more gore than I was expecting, and a whole lot of shitty filmmaking packed into this flick’s 76-minute running time. (Seriously, Corman reused footage in a movie this short?) It’s a jumble of elements that work together stylistically, combined with just enough of a competent pace to keep the bad movie connoisseur from getting bored. But, boy, is this flick a stinker. This is the kind of movie that maybe fifty people saw in the theaters back in the day before it was mercifully shipped off to the home video market.
Don Wilson was an ass-kicker in the ring, but he was devoid of the kind of acting chops necessary to make it as a big Hollywood action star of the early 1990s. That’s right. Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson was regularly out-acted by such performers as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. That said, his films hold a special place here at Shitty Movie Sundays. I think of them as the midnight lead-in to the real juicy stuff Cinemax would start showing around two in the morning on a Sunday way back when I was in high school.
Future Kick is bad from start to finish. It’s the kind of watch that is more notable for a sense of schadenfreude than for being truly enjoyable. As such, it doesn’t rate as highly in the Index as peers such as Cyber Tracker or Hands of Steel. It just edges Angel Town out of the #142 spot. Shitty movie fans should like, but those with discriminating tastes will need to look elsewhere.