"The last city still stood. The remaining home of what was left of the civilization of New Terra. The society had been all but destroyed by the robot rebellion of '33. When the robots had turned on their masters by the billions, the ensuing chaos that led to a radiation spill, far more deadly than any nuclear warfare. The world had been brought to its knees by the... Robot Holocaust!"
Oh, I'm sorry, wrong movie. I'm really here to write instead about "Android Apocalypse," which is pretty much the same thing, really, only this one has "Dancing with the Stars" finalist Joseph Lawrence, "Harsh Realm" star/convicted child molester Scott Bairstow (in his first paid gig since getting out of prison!), and, in a small role, former pro wrestling superstar Chris Jericho. I am saddened to report that unlike "Robot Holocaust," there is no avocado man in "Android Apocalypse."
Debuting in June 2006 on the Sci-Fi channel, "Android Apocalypse" lives up to the notably low standards of the cable outlet's original programming. It's a hearty mixture of stupid, boring, and cheap, the kind of lousy movie that doesn't even have the decency to be unintentionally funny.
The whole mess takes place in some post-nuclear future, where humanity survives in domed cities, the air and water in the outside wastelands unfit for long-term exposure. One such city is Phoenix - it is never explained if this is the Arizona town or some new, pseudo-cleverly named haven - where a mad genius (Troy Skog) has created an army of human duplicate androids, nicknamed "cogs." They're here to help us, of course, doing the jobs too dangerous for people to do, but perhaps there is something more sinister going on.
Long story short, we get cog Deecee (Lawrence) and human Jute (Bairstow) chained together while on their way to the prison city of Terminus, where (cue ominous music) they make cogs, but humans are never heard from again. Deecee is going there for reprogramming, as he's starting to feel emotions; Jute (who just lost his prime job: shoveling dirt) has been sentenced for "killing" a cog after discovering the robot had mysteriously been programmed to fight (cue ominous foreshadowing). The two escape into the desert (cue ominous "Defiant Ones" rip-off), where they bicker, battle assorted bad guys, and uncover an evil scheme involving the usual world domination nonsense.
It's strange to say it, but it's Joseph Lawrence who makes for the film's best moments. We can giggle over the idea of the former "Blossom" star portraying a blank, emotionless machine, but in all honesty, his performance is pretty sharp. He actually manages to make his Deecee a little eerie in its cold, emotionless behavior, while his voice, a sort of high pitched monotone, has an androgynous blankness to it that makes for an interesting variation on the subject.
Yet it's all for nothing, really, as Lawrence is given nothing to do with such ideas. The screenplay is a dreary mess, a heap of dim-witted techno-babble (there's a whole "brain fluid" speech near the end that'll have everyone snickering), go-nowhere action (Jericho's pointless-but-fun fight scenes aside, the action sequences are all clunkers), and dopey melodrama (Deecee's "awakening" to the human condition just plain fizzles). The lifeless, cheesy direction (from B-movie vet Paul Ziller, of "Shootfighter II" and "Bloodfist IV") is hampered even more by a limited budget that asks us to accept nightclubs and back alleys as being nightclubs and back alleys... Of The Future! because they couldn't afford more sets. So much effort was put into developing a few key CGI shots of giant robot monsters that the rest of the effects had to be scraped together on the cheap.
But even those giant robot monsters aren't that interesting, as they wind up being third-rate "Terminator"/"Matrix"/"Generic Sci-Fi Dystopian Future" filler. "Android Apocalypse" is a below-average post-nuclear sci-fi thriller, with just enough stupidity to make it lame but not enough to make it memorable.
I mean, there's not one single avocado man in it. What gives?
Magnolia's release of "Android Apocalypse" is labeled the "Extended Version." As I missed the movie's run on the Sci-Fi Channel, I can't say what's been added. Since the film's running time (a quick 91 minutes) is about the same as your average TV movie without the commercials, my guess is that all we're getting here are a few extra shots of (moderately gory, mostly PG-13-ish) violence.
Video & Audio
The presentation here is on par with most Sci-Fi Channel flicks: solid enough to be slightly above broadcast quality, but low budget enough to look just a bit crummy. The anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer's clarity does reveal a shoddiness to many of the CG effects. The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack does fine while not truly impressing. Optional Spanish subtitles are included.
"Making of Android Apocalypse: A Behind the Scenes Look" (5:07) is a random, narration-free collection of shots from the movie and on-set footage of the filming of those shots. The comparisons are interesting at times, but the lack of explanations makes the featurette rather dull. Presented in 1.33:1 full frame, with clips from the film properly letterboxed.
Trailers for "The Host" and "Samoan Wedding" play as the disc loads; you can skip past them.
Whether you see a title like "Android Apocalypse" and think "hey, cool" or "oh, that's hilarious," you're bound to be disappointed by this clumsy little snoozer. Skip It.