So, I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I was looking for A.P.E.X. on DVD. Well, I found it on amazon.co.uk. I love the internet.
It’s a Region 2 DVD and I watched it. Yeah, I watched the hell out of it. Now, for those that don’t know what I’m talking about (which is like everyone), here’s the trailer for this piece of cinematic history.
The movie doesn’t actually match the plot as the trailer lays out per se , though if you get that it’s heavily influenced by TERMINATOR/ALIENS you’d be correct. You could argue that there’s some PREDATOR in there too, with the mask, but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. The robots kind of looked like the Chigs from SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND too. Or rather vice versa. As you can clearly see, the movie used the latest in mid-90’s CGI technology. This came out a year earlier than JOHNNY MNEMONIC, so you can imagine what kind of standards were set with this picture. No dolphin or Dolph though, but we can’t all be that awesome. This movie made $49,601 according to imdb. Make of that what you will. Anyway, to give a basic description of the actual movie, scientists that have never seen BACK TO THE FUTURE decide to mess with time because, science. They send a robot back to 1973, I have no idea why they picked that except that it was 100 years earlier than when the movie is set. I guess scientists love round numbers, because they really should have sent it back to 2010 to see PIRANHA 3D. You all know why. Anyway, something goes wrong, and one of the scientists gets sent to an alternate timeline trying to stop a paradox from being created because the robot encountered some dirty hippies. Anyway, he has to figure out what went wrong in order to stop the robots from killing all of humanity while not letting on that he’s from a parallel universe. I’ll admit, this isn’t exactly an original sci-fi concept. Throw in the typical love interest that doesn’t know him in the new timeline, but he bangs because sexing the alternate reality twin of your wife doesn’t count as cheating, and the standard military team of stock types: and you have 85% of this movie. I’ll say this though, the sole black guy in the squad has to work pretty hard since he fills every black stereotype. From “guy that runs like a girl” to “angry black man” to “sassy black woman.” Trust me, you’ll get what I’m saying if you watch the movie. The other 15% of this movie is made up of this awesome specimen of a man: Seriously, Duke from ’80s GI Joe if he was in the future and still had access to hair dye. You’d think he’d either have a thick Austrian or German accent, or talk like a robot, but not really. He actually is pretty natural in the movie, and comes off like a low-rent Eric Bana. The whole cast is fairly naturalistic and nobody comes off either too wooden or too scene-chewing. I have to give the movie credit though. The robots actually look pretty good for what I can only imagine is a low budget flick, and doesn’t try to hide them behind dim lighting or quick cuts. They do what they do, and can actually take a number of laser bullets. A step above Power Rangers villains. That’s a high mark of quality right there. The production design and execution actually sort of impressed me. Even more, the actor for the main robot seems to doing the Robot during his initial scene. That’s just classy all the way through right there. I also wrote a blog about screenwriting (not really), which makes me think about the scripts to the films I watch. I don’t know exactly how to judge this film in relation to the script and the thoughts on scripts and writing I’ve had. The director wrote the movie as well, which I imagine is pretty evident given how certain scenes and concepts are extremely cribbed from other movies. There’s a scene where the military squad comes back from an op and walks through their desolate base scattered with soldiers and civilians just barely hanging on. PTSD abounds as we watch the husks that humanity has become as they wage a war of attrition against the machines. Yes, obviously this scene was taken from TRANSFORMERS. There’s also a character telling another character that he hasn’t been keeping up on current events. Presumably because they just got their asses kicked. It’s not like they completely ripped things off though. These robots come out during the day. Not at night, mostly. All in all, this movie plays out like an extended episode of THE OUTER LIMITS. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it means it feels like something that would have been the Saturday afternoon movie on USA in the mid-nineties. Or I guess a really good made for Syfy movie today. It’d need to be edited for violence and language though. A.P.E.X. is sci-fi concepts done on the cheap with something of a lesson to be learned by one of the characters. Which is…he should have watched BACK TO THE FUTURE.