Cyberpunk Review » Rust Valley

April 24, 2011

Rust Valley

Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2011

Directed by: Andrew Bond & John Whoriskey

Written by: Ryan Dolton

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Moderate

Key Cast Members:

  • James Donner: Mike Orie
  • Ora: Nadine Avola
  • Rating: 7 out of 10

    Rust Valley - 35mm short. from RDolton on Vimeo.

    Overview: Our forum member Burnt Lombard brought this net short to my attention earlier this week. Actually, I had a bookmark to it on Vimeo for a while, but that version is now password locked. More recently, I seen the trailer for it on Kovac’s screener of UCF: Abstract Messiah. Now that I’ve invested the 17.5 minutes to watch, I got to give Lombard his creds for getting me to watch. Imagine, if you will, a little of what a live-action System Shock movie could be like…


    The Story: ASEMS pilot James Donner has spent the past 1000+ days (3 years) in space and is now on his way home for some hard-earned R-and-R. Then he gets a call from some corporate dick:

    Donner gets a call.

    “We’ve been out of contact with the Valley Isis colony for eight months now. We just received a distress signal and…”

    So much for vay-kay. Against his better judgement, Donner boards the colony when he hears a female survivor, Ora, over his radio.


    I’d rescue that for a dollar!

    When Donner finds Ora, that when he has to make a choice…


    But, is it cyberpunk? Rust Valley has been tagged as cyberpunk on Vimeo, and it does make its case well. We have the ASEMS corp, though the full extent of their power and influence wasn’t revealed. There’s a bit of man-machine fusion (won’t say where due to spoiler possibility). But it’s the visuals that makes the short cyberpunk. Let’s just say that there’s a reason why it’s called RUST Valley.

    Onboard Valley Isis


    The audience is now deaf. Being an amateur production, and shot on 35mm film, some technical glitches are expected. But when you have to turn up the volume to hear the monitor voices, you might want to consider amplifying the microphones for the monitor actors.

    UPDATE: Burnt Lombard has uploaded the official video on Vimeo, with improved audio. It’s a bit different in other ways as well, but with the improved audio I’ve decided to upgrade its rating to 7.


    Conclusion: While not the most polished production, this short still manages to make for good cyberpunk viewing. And for a bonus, there’s an alternate ending that was supposed to be the original ending. This could make for a good feature… just pray that it doesn’t become the next Snakes On A Plane.

    This post has been filed under Cyberpunk movies from 2010 - 2020, Amateur Film Production, Internet Short, AI (no body) by Mr. Roboto.


    April 24, 2011

    Burnt_lombard said:

    Thanks for the Review, Mr. Roboto.

    Sorry about the audio this is a fairly rought edit. The monitor shots contain Production Sound, which was intended for Actor’s reference on set. The Audio from from the actual takes wasn’t synced up.

    The now password protected version (which was the one chosen for the school archive) had a polished Sound design and corrected all these audio problems.

    SSJKamui said:

    Interesting Review. The destroyed corridor looks cool.

    zenseeker said:

    The production is vastly superior to the UCF films, sets the challenge for Kovacs to up his game for his next film :P

    April 27, 2011

    Johan Malmsten said:

    Looked interesting at first sight… but the experience was so ruined by the horrible audio quality that I couldn’t watch past the 3 minute mark.

    I’m sortof wondering why we cannot see the version with the fixed audio? Is there copyright-issues involved or something? Because this is something that will give the filmmakers great bad word-of-mouth.

    I’ll try to watch it if we get a version with intelligible speech.

    April 28, 2011

    Kovacs said:

    Yeah BL and I are hoping to collborate on a project sometime soon.

    SSJKamui said:

    Sounds Cool.

    chlordane said:

    excellent review.

    and speaking of short films, check this out:

    i would love to read your perspective on this.

    May 1, 2011

    WatchItBurn said:

    “I’d rescue that for a dollar!”
    Nice Robocop and/or Smash TV reference.

    May 3, 2011

    Burnt_lombard said:

    @ Johan

    After reading your comment and the negative remarks in the actual review, I went and got a hard copy of the Archived version with an enhanced soundmix, made a rip and uploaded it here.

    I sent a PM to MrRoboto as well, so hopefully the embedded video up top will be changed as well. I hope you enjoy :D.

    P.S. if you don’t like the dialogue the first 8 minutes sync up to Pink Floyd’s welcome to the Machine…(this is a joke)

    @ Watchitburn. You’ll also notice that the corporate dick has the same name as OCP Vice President Dick Jones. Another Robocop reference. Now go back and try to spot the rockem sockem robots, and the T-800 head.

    May 29, 2011

    Adam Daub said:

    Pretty solid acting, nice sets, minimal use of CG… not bad at all. Sci-fi on a budget done quite well. :)

    June 13, 2011

    Synapse said:

    I did not particularly enjoy this short, although it was well made (and the audio thing didn’t bother me much). The plot and character development were rushed in such a way that it felt very artificial. The guy’s attitude towards the person he’s saving changes from second to second and her responses were equally puzzling. I also thought the ending was obvious from the moment she started showing up on the monitor (although not the part where he inexplicably decides to take her on board). Although I dislike the alternative ending, I feel it probably would also have been a much more realistic ending in such a situation.

    May 21, 2012

    Burnt_Lombard said:

    Shameless promotion. If you’re in the Baltimore Area, this short will be playing at the Balticon Science Ficition film festival 5/27/12… Or you could just watch it free again on Vimeo.

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