Future Kick (1991)

Rating:

USA. 1991.

Crew

Director/Screenplay – Damian Klaus, Additional Scenes Directed By Louis Morneau, Producer – Roger Corman, Photography – Ken Arlidge, Additional Photography – Christian Sebalot & Janusz Sikora, Music – Scott Singer, Miniature Effects – Apollo Effects, Makeup Effects – Gabe Bartalos, Production Design – Johan Le Tenoux. Production Company – Concorde-New Horizons

Cast

Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson (Walker), Meg Foster (Nancy Morgan), Ed Lottimer (Hynes), Christopher Penn (Bang), Al Ruscio (Captain Kramer), Jeff Pomerantz (Howard Morgan), Dana Lee (Dr Sato), Linda Dona (Tye), Shawn Phillips (Two-1), Joe Mays (Farney), Hayden Conner (Elana)


Plot

It is the mid-21st Century. The wealthy now live on The Moon, while Earth below lies in chaos and is ruled by all-powerful corporations. Several years ago, the corporations attempted to create a series of law-enforcement androids known as Cyberons but the Cyberons turned against the corporations when they discovered how corrupt they were. The Cyberons are now hunted by corporate police forces. After his comrade Andrews is killed, Walker becomes the last remaining Cyberon android, eking out a living as a bounty hunter. Successful virtual reality designer Howard Morgan comes to Earth to conduct a deal with the New Body corporation. However, Morgan is given a disk by a contact that shows that New Body are killing people to use their organs for transplants. New Body’s organ procurer Hynes then pursues and kills Morgan. Morgan’s wife Nancy comes to Earth and determines to find her husband’s killer. She hires Walker to protect her but their investigation soon brings the psychopathic Hynes hunting them.


Future Kick was one of the earliest films of world championship kickboxer Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson – in fact, Future Kick was Wilson’s third film after he came to fame in Bloodfist (1989) and its sequel Bloodfist II (1990). Produced by Roger Corman’s Concorde-New Horizons outfit, Future Kick was typical of the cheap action films and frequent genre hybrids that Wilson has spent the 1990s and 00s making.

Future Kick happily rips off Cyborg (1989) with its plot of a woman traversing a futuristic terrain with a mechanical man as companion. The other film of influence – particularly in the lame twist ending – is the then big hit of Total Recall (1990). Future Kick was one of the first films to employ downbeat Cyberpunk futures as action movie venues. Occasionally the film has an amusingly sardonic background picture of its future. Like the visit to the New Body building where the P.A. system announces, “Welcome to New Body … Weight reduction and physical therapy please go to the second floor. Genital enlargements go to the third floor …” Or the vision of a police station of the future where police are so overworked that someone has to wait for days in order to make a complaint about a murder. Rather amusingly, it appears that in the future people are still using 3.5-inch discs to transfer information (a technology that is completely obsolete ten years after Future Kick was made).

The main complaint about the plot is that Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson being an android is of almost no relevance to the film. All that this means is that Wilson has a tracking visor and that is about it. At other times, he does very un-android-like things such as sleeping, drinking alcohol, eating and feeling pain. It’s the same thing that happens in the films of Albert Pyun – Cyborg, Knights (1993), Nemesis (1993) and sequels, Heatseeker (1995), Omega Doom (1996) – where the terms cyborg and android are used interchangeably and amount to no more than actors with a few circuits showing when they are shot. There is no discussion in any of these why machines are operating in such human-like ways. Although the biggest annoyance about Future Kick is surely the twist ending that reveals that everything that has happened is a Virtual Reality illusion, something that became one of the lamest cop-out cliches of 1990s science-fiction.

The sets look cheap – as a depiction of the future, it has a cheaply cramped look. The action feels like it needed more room in order to work. Despite being an action film, the action element and fight scenes are dully directed and fail to generate any kind of excitement. Director Damian Klaus seems to have a strange fascination with strippers and finds just about every opportunity to show them strutting their stuff through the background of scenes.

One of the things that you eventually realise is that Future Kick is so cheaply produced that many of the scenes have been pillaged from other Roger Corman films. All of the special effects shots of ships travelling toward Earth have been taken from Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), while the police car chase sequences have been lifted from Concorde’s Crime Zone (1989) and many of the stripper scenes from Katt Shea’s Stripped to Kill (1987).

(Review copy provided courtesy of Ryan Kenner from Movies in the Attic).



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