Prototype X29A (1992) poster

Prototype X29A (1992)


aka Prototype

USA. 1992.


Director – Phillip Roth, Screenplay – Phillip Roth & Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi, Producers – Phillip Roth, Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi, Gary Jude Burkart & Ronald Schmidt, Photography – Mark W. Gray, Music – Emilio Kauderer, Computer Animation – Tim Douglas, Special Effects – Larry & Rose Roberts, Prototype Created by George Temple, Prototype Battlesuit & Makeup Effects – Robert J. Marino, Art Direction – Shauna Cetting, David Douglas, Tim Knapp & Graham Schildmeyer. Production Company – Filmtown Productions.


Lane Lenhart (Chandra Kerkorian), Robert Tossberg (Hawkins Coselaw), Sebastian Scandiuzzi (Sebastian), Brenda Swanson (Dr Alexis Zelazny), Paul Coulj (Dr Taurence Roberts)


The ruins of LA in the year 2057. Twenty years ago, the Omegan cyborgs were created to subdue and control the populace in the cities but the Omegans have altered their own programming. In response, the Prototype cyborgs were created, programmed with the sole purpose of eliminating the Omegans. Now Dr Alexis Zelazny reactivates the Prototype program and uses the wheelchair-ridden Hawkins Coselaw as a test subject, placing him inside a Prototype suit. Hawkins loves Chandra Kerkorian and uses the powers the suit gives him to protect her from thugs. Chandra then makes the discovery that she has been implanted with parts that make her the last of the Omegans.

There is a potentially good film inside Prototype X29A. The burned-out Cyberpunk/post-holocaust future and the film’s cyborg super-suit themes were the usual stuff of direct-to-video sf action films during the 1990s. Amid this, the film has glimmers of promise to it – like some of its background images of the future where technology is outlawed and a burned-out hotel where a priest plays videos to redeem junkies and waves a gun.

However, Prototype X29A never gets going. The problem is largely a lack of objective. Director Phillip Roth seems so intent on building up the cut-price burned-out Cyberpunk future that nothing happens in the film. Case in point being Brenda Swanson’s scientist – through about half-an-hour of the running time we see her sitting about tapping at a computer console intercut with the main action. However, none of her scenes build to anything, they are just padding.

Robert Tossberg in the activated Prototype suit in Prototype X29A (1992)
Robert Tossberg in the activated Prototype suit

The film eventually gets going but when it does what is happening is not exactly clear – the pre-credits explanation builds the Omegans up as being a totalitarian cyber police force and the Prototypes as the seeming saviours designed to rid the world of them. The film then reveals that the heroine is an Omegan and that the Prototypes are the real villains. One is unclear as to whether this is the film conducting an enormously subtle reversal of expectations or is just muddled writing – somehow one expects the latter.

Someone involved in the film is clearly a fan of science-fiction literature – and not just a run-of-the-mill sf reader either – and has named characters after authors such as Roger Zelazny and Samuel R. Delaney.

Director Phillip [J.] Roth is a prolific director of direct-to-video sf/action films. His other genre contributions include the alternate history/cyborg war film Apex (1994); the android amok film Digital Man (1995); Darkdrive (1996), which concerned a VR prison; the VR 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; 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; and the asteroid collision/extreme weather disaster movie Maximum Velocity (2003). Roth has also produced a good number of other low-budget genre/action films via his UFO Productions company. 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), Roboshark (2015), Death Race: Beyond Anarchy (2018). The Car: Road to Revenge (2019) and Doom: Annihilation (2019).

Trailer here

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