Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Digital Man



DIGITAL MAN (1995)

Directed by: Phillip J. Roth
Screenplay: Ron Schmidt & Phillip J. Roth
Starring: Ken Olandt, Matthias Hues, Kristen Dalton, Ed Lauter, Adam Baldwin & Paul Gleason.

Part man, part machine, all, erm, digital: it’s Digital Man. Well not so much digital (save for the opening few minutes!) but really just Matthias Hues in a lot of futuristic combat armour with a big gun wandering around the desert blowing shit up. And a lot of shit he blows up to. This low budget, mid-90s, cyborg-run-amok action flick is all kinds of kooky craziness but is a lot of fun thanks to the striking desert location setting, a cast of familiar A-movie and B-movie faces and an incredible amount of explosions. Hues is the Digital Man of the title, a new combat cyborg who goes haywire after a mission in the Californian desert and proceeds to blow everything and everyone up. His superiors, keen to get him back and retrieve some top secret launch codes (or something!) he is holding, dispatch a squad of marines to go after him and ridiculously huge guns, redneck silliness (!) and explosions ensue.

Sort of mixing the colonial marines from Aliens (right down to the ripped-off giant guns!) with The Terminator and throwing them into a desert, Digital Man is as absurd as its title. Watching a bunch of mouthy marines in bulky combat gear run around a desert chasing after a robot, in even bulkier gear, while a bunch of actors you have appeared in A-list movies bark orders at them from a dark computer room may not sound like a lot of fun but, well, it actually kinda is.


The desert setting adds a pleasing visual aesthetic, Hues is great as the almost wordless on-the-rampage cyborg and thanks to a ridiculous amount of steadicam work the film feels a lot slicker than it probably is. The effects are a decent mix of practical and clunky low budget CGI and the filmmakers deserve respect for the both the ridiculous amounts of explosions featured and the ridiculous amount of times the word cyborg is mentioned. A drinking game could be implemented for either (or both) and becoming shit faced (quickly) is guaranteed!

Plus along with Hues we've got B-movie cast awesomeness in the form of Ed “Raw Deal” Lauter, Adam “Full Metal Jacket” Baldwin and Paul “Die Hard” Gleason. Even Don “Brother of Patrick” Swayze and Clint “Brother of Ron” Howard are in there somewhere playing, non-surprisingly, a redneck and a weirdo respectively. Cool. Add in stupidly large guns (which I’ll admit, look freaking awesome!), the most random training-with-ninjas scene ever (!) and the fact one is never more that 3 minutes away from the next explosion and Digital Man is a mid-90s, B-movie, robot-rampaging, sci-fi hoot. 


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