Wednesday, 31 December 2008

TC 2000

TC 2000 (1993)

Written and Directed by: T.J. Scott
Starring: Billy Blanks, Bobbie Philips, Jalal Merhi and Bolo Yeung

Before Billy Blanks became the world’s number one Tae-Bo sensation, he made a succession of fairly entertaining martial arts flicks. Two of them were of a sci-fi theme and co-starred the Middle Eastern Steven Seagal, Jalal Merhi. TC 2000 is the less successful of the two (the other being the more entertaining Expect No Mercy) and it’s a shame as it could have been a solid little sci-fi actioner.

Sometime in the future mankind has been driven underground, with lawless gangs patrolling the surface. To maintain justice a special police force has been created who go by the name of Trackers. The two top trackers are Jason Storm (Blanks) and Zoey Kinsella (Phillips), who are renowned for their gifted martial arts. When Kinsella is mysteriously shot dead while pursing outlaw, Nick Picasso (Merhi) and his gang, Storm believes she is gone for good. Storm’s boss has other plans for Kinsella’s body, turning her into an all-fighting cyborg: the TC 2000 X. Using his new weapon and forming an alliance with Picasso, Storm’s boss sets out to control the surface world. Storm is outcast from his fellow trackers and sets out to stop Picasso and his cohorts and free Kinsella from her robotic chains. Along the way he joins forces with a Zen-like martial artist, Sumai (Yeung), who aids him in his quest.

It may all sound very confusing (at times it is) but there is very little plot to TC 2000. The thread of storyline there is serves only to frame a relentless number of fights. What plot there is suffers from too many characters. Yeung’s character pops up randomly to fight some bloke now again before his character is finally introduced half way through. It is a little jarring and the film suffers from a lack of coherence. While Blanks will never be seen as a truly gifted actor he is a likeable and energetic screen presence but is hampered with some truly awful dialogue. However, Merhi fairs even worse as the face painted Picasso. Having zero charisma and questionable martial arts skills, he should perhaps stick to producing. Yeung does his usual silent type shtick and is really only there to fight, though it is cool to see him playing a good guy for a change. The futuristic setting is, for want of a better word, lacking, as the whole film seems to have been shot in one abandoned nuclear power plant.

However, the film does have one thing going for it: the fights. There is some kind of scrap or scuffle about every 2 minutes. In fact, the fighting rarely lets up. The fights are crisp and brutal with Blanks proving a worthy martial artist. The final throw down between him and genre stalwart, Matthias Hues (Bounty Tracker), is a full on, martial arts rumble. The curvaceous Bobbie Philips (Back in Action) also holds her own in the fight scenes and is certainly easy on the eye. There is also some decent photography in the fights scenes and the opening sequence, of the Trackers driving around the city, is nicely shot.

TC 2000 is not a complete waste of time, just let down by bad plotting, acting, and some slapdash directing. As a fight film, it is more than adequate and should satisfy any combat junkie. It is the kind of film best watched at one o’clock in the morning when you can’t sleep. Such as I did.

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