Digital Man (1994)

Rating:

USA. 1994.

Crew

Director/Story – Phillip Roth, Screenplay – Phillip Roth & Ronald Schmidt, Producer – Talaat Captan, Photography – Harris Done, Music – Jim Goodwin, Visual Effects Supervisor – David Wainstain, Digital Environments – Mach Universe, Motion Control – Gene Young Effects (Supervisor – Gene Young), Special Effects Supervisor – Fred J. Cramer, Makeup Effects – Todd Masters, Production Design – Faisal Karim. Production Company – Green Communications/Sci-Fi Productions/Republic Pictures

Cast

Ken Olandt (Sergeant Anders), Ed Lauter (General Roberts), Matthias Hues (Digital Man), Kristen Dalton (Gena), Sherman Augustus (Jackson), Adam Baldwin (Captain West), Don Swayze (Billy Bates), Paul Gleason (Dr Parker), Chase Masterson (Susie), Donna Magnani (Linda), Megan Blake (Lieutenant Thompson/Fredericks), Woon Park (Woon), Susan Tyrell (Mildred Hodges)


Plot

When terrorists hijack the codes for 120 nuclear missile silos, an army captain sends Digital Man, an untested military android, in to stop them. The operation is successful but while returning to base Digital Man goes astray in the small town of Birdwater, Nevada and starts eliminating everything it sees. A crack ground unit is sent in to stop Digital Man but face problems from a traitor back at command control who is determined to sabotage the mission and the realisation that several of their number are androids without even they themselves knowing it.


Like every direct-to-video sf/action hybrid of the 1990s, Digital Man plays like a cut-and-paste collage of elements from foregoing films – the invincible killer android; the team of tough soldiers a la Aliens (1986); the Dark Future Cyberpunk settings; Virtual Reality; confusion over who and who is not an android.

The action moves passably well and the basic set-up does a fair job of creating a tensely confined situation – a platoon trapped in a small town up against a near-invincible android with their support refusing to pull them out and they not knowing who among their number is an android (although, one thinks a better director could have built it up more intensively). Even the comic relief between Don Swayze, Patrick’s butt-ugly brother, and Chase Masterson, later a regular on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1992-9) as two hick locals, is amusingly well done.

Unfortunately, the script is not up to the job. It is extremely confused in places – it is never clear at various points who the traitor is and the film never offers them any motivation. Megan Blake’s character is even given a different name on the credits than the one she is referred to in the film. The issue of the androids among the troupe also gets silly, particularly when it is revealed that every single person in the group except the hero and heroine, and including the most vehemently anti-android person, are all androids.

Director Phillip J. Roth is a prolific director of direct-to-video sf/action films. His other genre contributions include the post-holocaust cyborg film Prototype X29A/Prototype (1992); the alternate history/cyborg war film Apex (1994); Darkdrive (1996), which concerned a virtual prison; the Virtual Reality film Total Reality (1997); the intergalactic heist film Velocity Trap (1997); Interceptor Force (1999) and Interceptor Force 2 (2002) concerning an alien-hunting squad; Falcon Down (2000) about a hi-tech weapon; Hyper Sonic (2002) about a hi-tech plane race; and the giant snake/future prison film New Alcatraz/Boa (2002); the killer sharks film Dark Waters (2003); Deep Shock (2003) about a submarine crew against a monster; Dragon Fighter (2003) about genetically-engineered dragons; the asteroid collision/extreme weather disaster movie Maximum Velocity (2003). Roth also heads United (sometimes Unified) Film Organization (UFO)’s other genre films include:- Darkdrive (1996), Total Reality (1997), Interceptors (1999), Storm (1999), Deep Core (2000), Epoch (2000), Falcon Down (2000), Mindstorm (2000), Python (2000), Lost Voyage (2001), Shark Hunter (2001), Antibody (2002), Dark Descent (2002), Hyper Sonic (2002), Interceptor Force 2 (2002), Pythons (2002), Dark Waters (2003), Deep Shock (2003), Dragonfighter (2003), Maximum Velocity (2003), Warnings/Silent Warnings (2003), Boa vs Python (2004), Darklight (2004), Dragon Storm (2004), Phantom Force (2004), Post Impact (2004), Alien Siege (2005), Crimson Force (2005), Locusts: The 8th Plague (2005), Manticore (2005), Path of Destruction (2005), S.S. Doomtrooper (2006), Reign of the Gargoyles (2007), Copperhead (2008), Ghost Voyage (2008), Doomsday (2009), Ghost Town (2009), The Grudge 3 (2009), Star Runners (2009), Arctic Predator (2010), Elimination (2010), Lake Placid 3 (2010), Triassic Attack (2010), Cold Fusion (2011), Miami Magma (2011), Morlocks (2011), Rage of the Yeti (2011), Super Eruption (2011), Super Tanker (2011), Black Forest (2012), Boogeyman (2012), Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012), True Bloodthirst (2012), Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012), Deadly Descent (2013), Invasion Roswell (2013), Jet Stream (2013), Robocroc (2013), Super Collider (2013), Crystal Skulls (2014), Firequake (2014), Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014), Lake Placid vs Anaconda (2015) and Roboshark (2015).



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