Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2008

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit

Written by: (Screenplay) Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker, & Allison Burnett / (Story) Robert Fyvolent & Mark Brinker

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Low

Key Cast Members:

  • Jennifer Marsh: Diane Lane
  • Detective Eric Box: Billy Burke
  • Griffin Dowd: Colin Hanks
  • Owen Reilly: Joseph Cross
  • Rating: 1 out of 10

    Kill With Me

    WARNING: What has been seen cannot be unseen, and may scar you for LIFE!

    Overview: One of the key themes in cyberpunk is how technology affects humanity, whether for better or for worse. Untraceable opted to show the for worse part with a tech-savvy psycho who creates the website (it works for now, but don’t expect much there). The website streams live video of people being tortured and killed by various means, with the victim dying faster as more people watch. FBI cybercrime agent Jennifer Marsh is the one who needs to stop the killer site before the killings get too gruesome.

    This is one movie that’s not for cyberpunk fans, unless they are also Law & Order/CSI/NCIS fans as well. Despite the cyber message the movie tries to deliver, the lack of other cyberpunk themes makes this one movie that cyberpunk fans may want to steer clear of.


    The Story: FBI agent Jennifer Marsh (Lane) works as part of the cybercrimes division, mostly at night because she’s a widow with a daughter. She has enough tech skills to track down and solve common ID fraud cases, maybe some other cybercrimes that the FBI deals with. She gets a tip for the site, and when she logs in she sees a dead kitten on a live video stream. Her team tries to shut the site down, but the person behind the site has advanced tech skills that makes his site virtually untraceable. Before long, the site shows a man being pumped with anticoagulants which causes him to bleed to death. The more people who visit the site, the more anticoagulant is pumped into him to make him bleed more. Marsh and company now need to find who is behind the site, hopefully before more people die on it. The problem she has is the publicity and schadenfreude the site generates, making it increasingly popular.


    Schaden-whatthefuck? Schadenfreude - (German, noun) Enjoyment derived from the suffering or misfortune of others. You must have experienced schadenfreude many times in your life, often starting at a very young age; Taking a toy away from another toddler and making him/her cry, watching a baddie get his ass kicked by the hero, LOLs while watching The Three Stooges slap each other around. These are but some small examples of schadenfreude that we have experienced. In the Internet age, that concept has become wide spread and even viral as noticed on YouTube. But then, America’s Funniest Home Videos has been doing it since 1989.

    Unfortunately, schadenfreude also takes on darker tones as Untraceable shows. The Internet can take a personal tragedy and make it viral not only for the people who videoed the event, but for whatever site/station that also broadcasts it. This is the driving motivation behind’s mastermind, exposing humanity’s dark schadenfreude while taking personal revenge on those who benefited from his father’s suicide.

    Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane)

    Hello, Jennifer. Look out the front window, under that street light. That’s where my father fell over the railing. Some websites show the whole thing in slow motion because it’s just so much better that way. One archives it in a section called “whoa.” That’s it, just “whoa.”
    You and the people you work with you let people say and do almost anything they want. It doesn’t matter who it hurts.

    A One-Star Wonder? The main problem, other than being geared for the police-procedure crime-solver types, is the lack of cyberpunk themes. The negative impact of technology is obviously there, along with the undertones of ubiquitous Internet access shown with all the handhelds and cellphones shown being used. The rest, not so much. And those who prefer the crime-solving may feel like they’ve solved this crime before the agents do, and not because we get to see the perpetrator select his victims.


    Conclusion: While the message about our dark nature on the Internet is strong, the lack of cyberpunk themes will be a turn off of most. Recommended ONLY for Law & Order/CSI/NCIS fans, and even then with some reservations.

    Untraceable finish

    This post has been filed under 1 Star Movies, It's Not Cyberpunk! Mkay? by Mr. Roboto.

    February 28, 2007

    Future War - It’s NOT Cyberpunk

    Movie Review By: SFAM

    Year: 1997

    Directed by: Anthony Dublin

    Written by: David Huey (story), Dom Magwili

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very Low

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very Low

    Key Cast Members:

    • The Runaway: Daniel Bernhardt
    • Cyborg Master: Robert Z’Dar
    • Travis Brooks Stewart: Sister Ann
    Rating: 1 out of 10

    Future War Screen Capture


    Overview: Based on the very deceptive cyberpunk-looking DVD cover, I felt it wise to give Future War a brief mention - I say brief because this movie sucks so bad that anything more than brief would constitute more effort than was spent on the entire script. Now I would consider giving Future War the same treatment I gave Cybernator, but unfortunately I just can’t possibly call this movie cyberpunk. Sure, it has time travel (I think), and these evil looking cyborg dudes, but Future War can’t put together a semblance of even an incoherent plot to explain things.


    Future War Screen Capture

    Check out the henchmen cyborg! You gotta wonder why they just didn’t go all out and make him into a Vampire Cyborg - that woulda been Kewl! (perhaps they couldn’t afford the fake teeth). And get used to the boxes. They are in about 40% of the movie - so much so that they even have a guy in the credits listed as “box wrangler”!


    Lets just start with the intro lines from the movie (punctuation and capitalization remain intact from the film - yes, some sentences have periods, others have capital letters at the beginning, but not all):


    From the future traveled a master race of Cyborgs.

    The made abductions from Earth’s past.

    The dinosaurs were trained as trackers

    The humans were bred as slaves

    Now a runaway slave escapes to a place his people call heaven…

    we know it as Earth


    Future War Screen Capture

    Doesn’t this dinosaur remind you of the Stonehenge set piece in Spinal Tap? Just a wee bit too small, ey? Don’t worry, he grows another 10 feet a few scenes later


    Um, OK, so these master race of cyborg dudes, who incidentally get their asses kicked by a second rate martial arts guy (who in Matrix Reloaded, turns into the ultra-cool Agent Johnson) because they don’t use their gun attachment till its too late, go back in time to get dinosaurs and train them to track escaped human slaves. Yeah, this works. Lets be clear here: some jackass with a spare $10,000 bucks wanted to make a really kewl film with cyborgs, dinosaurs and martial arts fighting – oh oh! and also a hawt chick prostitute-turned-nun! – unfortunately this was the best plot he could come up with.


    Future War Screen Capture

    Yes, nothing beats martial artists fighting master cyborgs in a warehouse church! Too bad the cyborg dude died in the last scene. Ah well, why not use the Jason resurrection thing? It works, right?


    The Bottom Line: Pretty much the entire movie takes place either in the director’s dive house or in this really dull looking warehouse. The warehouse is “decorated” with either cardboard boxes or well-used 8×8 wooden pallets standing upright, depending on whether its supposed to be a sewer (the pallets) or um, a warehouse (the cardboard boxes). Due to a neurotic use of forced perspective, the rubber dinosaurs are constantly changing size. They go from beaver-sized to allosaurus-sized, depending on the scene (well, OK, sometimes in the SAME scene). So, does the prostitute-turned-nun decide to have sex with Agent Johnson or will she say her final vows to become a nun forever? More importantly, who the fuck cares? I understand Future War was also featured on MST3K - I would recommend that route if you must watch this. And just for the record, Cybernator is LOADS funnier.


    This post has been filed under 1 Star Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999, It's Not Cyberpunk! Mkay? by SFAM.

    March 22, 2006


    Movie Review By: SFAM

    Year: 1991

    Directed by: Robert Rundle

    Written by: Robert Rundle & Edward Sanchez

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very Low

    Key Cast Members:

  • Brent McCord: Lonnie Schuyler
  • Rating: 1 out of 10



    Overview: So you wanna make a cyberpunk movie but you don’t have any money, ey? No problem! As long as you have a hand-held video cam, some blue paint and a few extra malleable thin rubber tubes in your garage, you too can shoot your own cyberpunk movie! Fair warning - you might have to spring for a few bucks at Toys-R-Us for some realistic looking guns though, so try to save up a paycheck or two before getting started! Here we have an example of the lowest in cyberpunk cinema. My review will be slightly different than most in that I won’t bother hiding spoilers. Truly, you won’t care. If you watch this movie, you won’t be watching it in eager anticipation of the plot turns. While I do give Cybernator only 1 star, it really is one of those “so bad it’s good movies.” You really might be interested in dropping 6 bucks on this turkey. Think not? Read the review.



    Notice the high-tech lasers! Apparently, they only had enough money to draw the pink part in twice, as its always one of two sizes. As another “feature,” whenever the laser fires, the left side of the screen has a nice pink line running down it.


    The Story: The movie opens up in a complete dive strip club (a warehouse with a stage made up of black cardboard paper with shiny cut-out stars taped to it), where policeman Brent McCord (Lonnie Schuyler) comes along with his partner to see his stripper girlfriend. Unfortunately, some evil cyborgs have come to kill a US Senator, who just happens to be having sex in a sleazy room in the back (concrete walls, warehouse floor, etc.). After the evil cyborgs kill the senator, they decide to go on a rampage, randomly killing other folk. Of course, our great policeman is able to kill them, even though the cyborgs have ray guns.




    At the Morgue: the Morgue, which looks surprisingly like a made-up office room, has an Indian doctor (who actually appears to be trying to act - one of the few) who has just completed her autopsy on the two cyborgs. She states of the tough one, “He is covered with a steel titanium alloy…he is virtually indestructible. He was killed when the bullet entered the heart…”

    Hmm…indestructible ey? But can be killed with a bullet through the heart? Hmmm….In any event, the morgue chick is apparently well versed in identifying military cyborgs, and proclaims that these ones are “government property, possibly from the army or something.”



    Indestructable! Unless, um, you shoot him in the heart, that is.


    Our intrepid detectives then drive over to the local army building. You can tell its an army building due to the army-green colored early 70s oldsmobuick parked outside. They of course walk right into the General’s office, which is the same as the doctor’s office, but the bodies have been removed, and a flag and spaceman picture have been mounted on the wall. If this weren’t enough “reality” for you, the General’s desk has two American flags on it and a plastic toy tank to yet again convey that scary military feeling. This realism would have almost worked except for every so often, the camera veers too high and we see that the top of the general’s office is missing, and appears to be a made-up room in the same warehouse as the nudie bar.



    One of the few actual “B” movie actors.


    In any event, while the cops are “interrogating” the general, (who tries to throw them off-track by proclaiming that the marines are working on that stuff, not the Army - so don’t bug him!), a random scientist walks in and announces, “Here’s the new design on the Blackhawk 2000 project.” After the General quickly kicks out the scientist, we find out that the Blackhawk 2000 project is “classified!”



    Here’s the cybernator again! Apparently, cyborgs in the future randomly gyrate from white to blue skin. I’m guessing they have “mood” skin.


    Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have truly well thought-out plot points like this that permeate the movie. But wait - there’s more! That random scientist, who popped his head into the General’s office and spilled the classified program, quickly runs outside (like, RIGHT outside the General’s window) to secretly give the inside scoop to the cops. He of course wants to make sure they are really cops so he says, “You guys are cops? Show me your badges.” Being concerned that he’s meeting them right outside the General’s window, the scientist smartly tells them to meet him later that night in an abandoned alleyway. But alas, he was overheard by the Cybernator - who just happens to be waiting right next to them in a parked truck!



    Interestingly, the laser shots don’t always arrive prior to the blood stains.


    Unfortunately, our star’s partner gets killed by the Cybernator, so he decides to substitute his stripper girlfriend as his new partner. As the plot continues, we find that it is in fact an evil Colonel (played by an actual B actor - William Smith!) who is behind the nasty cyborgs. What’s worse, our dear police man is actually a cyborg in disguise!!!!! Versus us finding out by some cool way, say, of seeing the skin from his arm come off or something, they instead go for the ingenious method of just announcing it!




    And now the military wants to kill the evil Colonel, so they capture the stripper and tell Brent that he’s a cyborg, and that he must kill the rogue cyborgs if he ever wants to see his stripper chick again. Are they guarding her at a special military base? Of course not! They appear to be holding the chick at the director’s house. Incidentally, I hope they added the puke green carpet to make us think this was an Army installation, cause if this was his actual decor, Damn!



    Apparently the heavy-set dancer in the street qualifies as the “underworld.”


    Finally we come to the best scene of the movie - the fat cyberchick scene! This chick is doing her best at belly dancing, but apparently they forgot to give her lessons. Still, it’s the thought that counts, or so I’ve heard. I think this scene is supposed to represent the seedy underground - the place Brent goes to find out where the bad guys are. There’s nothing special here, but the line of the movie - it’s priceless.



    Ah yes, yet another random cyborg, enjoying the night delights.


    A random sleaze bag dude is truly enjoying himself while watching the sexy belly dancer. Then he notices a cyborg standing nonchalantly beside him. Apparently, the cyborg doesn’t think she’s all that, which pisses off the sleazebag. So he, being a helpless, loser sleaze bag, of course decides to pick a fight, and says:

    Sleaze bag: Cyborg Scum! You’ve got the passion of a toaster!
    Cyborg Response: “Some of my best friends are toasters…You Fuck!!!”


    The cyborg then takes out a gun and shoots the sleazebag in the face - definitely the best real laugh of the movie. :)


    He’s almost indestructible…um, unless you rip out his rubber tubes, that is.


    The movie goes on and on like this - until the final conflict! At last, we get to the epic battle between the two Blackhawk 2000 Cyborgs - the Cybernator and our cheesy cop detective, Brent. At least we’ll see an epic battle, right? NO!!! Yet again we are fooled. Guess how you beat the evil blue cyborg with the weird little tubes dangling from his head? That’s right - you just take out the tubes! True insanity in action ladies and gents.



    Yet another cyborg fight! Two for the price of one!


    But wait! There’s more! It turns out that the evil Colonel Peck is…dun dun dun - Brent’s Brother!!!! Why the plot twist? No real reason given…just…um, because the Army is eeeeeeeevil! To which of course, Brent responds, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” (not really…but he should have - instead he says, “Your not my fuckin brother!”)



    FYI - I think the gray spray-painted paper glued to the side of the colonel’s head is supposed to be his cyborg skeleton.


    The Bottom Line: Now I won’t spoil it by showing you the cheesy ending, or worse, the cheesy rationale for the evil cyborgs, but suffice to say the quality is as good at the end as it is throughout. Rarely have I seen acting and dialog of this caliber. Clearly, the vast majority of the lines were ad-libbed (I hope). And, um, nobody in this movie can ad-lib. Still, Cybernator does qualify as a “So bad it’s good” movie – the type that makes Plan 9 look well thought out. So if you want to see the worst that cyberpunk cinema has to offer, kick back with a group of friends and enjoy!

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under 1 Star Movies, Man-machine Interface, B Cyberpunk Cinema, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.

    January 23, 2006

    New Rose Hotel - {It’s NOT Cyberpunk! Mkay?}

    Year: 1998

    Directed by: Abel Ferrara

    Written by: Abel Ferrara, Christ Zois (Gibson’s name removed to protect the innocent)

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very Low

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very Low

    Key Cast Members:

  • Fox: Christopher Walken
  • X: Willem Dafoe
  • Sandii: Asia Argento
  • Rating: 1 out of 10

    screen capture


    Overview: It’s not cyberpunk, mkay? No, truly, it’s not!

    • Yes, it was based on a very good cyberpunk short story written by cyberpunk Godfather, William Gibson,
    • Yes, New Rose Hotel is on most every list of cyberpunk movies you can find on the internet, some of which are only 10 movies deep,
    • Yes, this movie seems to be a throwaway mention in about half the cyberstudy reviews of modern cyberpunk movies.

    Please trust me here - I’ve seen (and own) at least 95% of all cyberpunk movies currently in production and a very high percentage of the ones out of print (all that I can find out about and get). New Rose Hotel is NOT cyberpunk. These people are lying to you. I’m betting major bucks that the vast majority of those who have New Rose Hotel mentioned as cyberpunk have never seen it. If they had seen it, New Rose Hotel would not be on their cyberpunk list. Why do I say this?

    • This movie has NO cyberpunk visuals,
    • This movie has NO interesting philosophical message,
    • This movie has NO cyberpunk themes embedded in it, and
    • This movie takes place in modern time, not in a near future.

    On top of its lack of cyberpunknesss, New Rose Hotel as a movie is boring as shit! Ferrara needs an award for taking a high quality cast consisting of Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe (both of whom I LOVE as actors) and Asia Argento and producing this steaming pile of dung!

    The story: So what’s it about, you ask? Dafoe and Walken try to use a hooker (Argento) to convince a high profile geneticist to defect from one corporation to another. If they do, they pocket major bucks! In short, things go bad after an affair develops between Dafoe and Argento. But the bottom line is nobody watching this cares as the story as the cinematography and the acting are poorly enacted and uninspired. Worse, the last 15 minutes involves replaying of scenes from the first half of the movie. Why? For absolutely NO reason! Believe me when say that I look for meaning in films even when there isn’t really a basis - there was absolutely no reason for the flashbacks.

    Truly, this movie sucks on just about every aspect of movie making one can imagine. But I really don’t berate it for this reason - I intensely hate the fact that everyone has engaged in a cow-like groupthink in continually mentioning this as one of the main cyberpunk movies out. New Rose Hotel is only interesting in that it seems to have turned into a virus meme, infecting as many as possible with the mistaken belief that it’s something worthy of mention. As punishment for New Rose Hotel’s atrocities against good cyberpunk, I’ve dropped it a few stars in my rating (if I was unbiased, I might have given it a 3 out of 10 star rating). So in closing:


    Memo to other movie sites who have this listed as cyberpunk: Admit it, you haven’t seen it. Please remove New Rose Hotel from your cyberpunk movie list.


    Memo to cyberstudies researchers who list this movie as a representative cyberpunk movie: Please remove it. There at minimum 80 movies which would come before New Rose Hotel as far better examples of cyberpunk. If you are looking for specific movies to back up a particular point you are trying to prove, just drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to provide you detailed assistance in selecting more appropriate movies. Just PLEASE stop spreading the belief that this movie is cyberpunk!


    And um, yes, there are MANY other selections due for a rant like this. Escape from New York, anyone?


    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: non-cyberpunk movie review rose hotel

    This post has been filed under 1 Star Movies, It's Not Cyberpunk! Mkay? by SFAM.

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