* * *1\2
Directed by: Richard Pepin
Starring: Jack Scalia, Deron McBee, Evan Lurie, Jennifer MacDonald, Martin E. Brooks, Bobby Johnston, Erin Gray, and Vernon Wells
At some point in the future, a scientist named Dr. Gant (Brooks) creates “Cybernauts”, robots with very human characteristics used for law enforcement. Adam (Lurie), Zeus (Malibu, or McBee, or perhaps Malibu McBee), Mandragora (MacDonald) and Cain (Johnston) are bulletproof, never miss when they’re shooting their guns, and have super-strength, among other superlative characteristics. However, when they’re told the program that created them is going to be shut down, their “self-preservation” instinct kicks in. Zeus, Mandragora and Adam then proceed to go on a robot rampage. But Cain separates himself from the murderous bunch. He ends up teaming up with Lt. Jack Floyd (Scalia), a man who initially hates robots but eventually warms to Cain when Mayor Pendleton (Gray) ensures they have to work together as partners. Can anyone – or anything – stop these super-strong, deadly and emotionless killbots? Find out today!
T-Force is an excellent example of what PM does best. It delivers the goods – it provides tons of viewing enjoyment, and totally fulfills what this sort of movie should be. Of course, the “T” in T-Force is short for Terminal, going along with what can only be described as the “Terminal” craze of movie titlings in the 90’s. Terminal Force would have been a cool title, but shortening it to T-Force is even cooler. It starts with an amazing intro where the Cybernauts are posing in front of explosions, and we’re treated to many more blow-ups where that came from.
Casting Malibu and Evan Lurie as robots was a stroke of genius, and these robo-meatheads (or MeatBots if you prefer), of course, have long hair. Why long, lion-like manes (and in the case of Cain, a propensity for wearing tight jeans) was part of the intentional design of the Cybernauts remains unexplained. But in addition to the plentiful shooting, blow-ups and fights, there are actually ideas and concepts embedded herein that make you think. No, seriously. The screenwriters must have been reading their Socrates, because there are some Crito-like meditations on the nature of law and society. Not to mention humanity. So, there are more real explosions – and ideas – in the final third of T-Force than in the past 20 years of Hollywood pap combined.
Playing the archetypal American man that the audience can identify with (he even has an all-American car, a 1977 Cadillac he names Ol’ Betsy) Jack Scalia is at his absolute best here. Endowing Jack Floyd with a lot of energy, not to mention groany one-liners, he provides nice counterpoint to the robotic action. This blows away his performance in Dark Breed (1996). I think we can safely say this is Classic Scalia. But giving him a run for his money is the guy who plays Alderman Peter (we think his name is Sean Moran). He gives everyone a run for their money, including two meatheads exchanging quasi-Shakespearan-style dialogue. Malibu and Lurie together is almost too much meathead for one movie, but at least T-Force reconstitutes the meat into something a little different this time.
So in classic 90’s fashion we have tons of mindless killings and blow-ups, dialogue that’s silly when it’s not intellectual, exploding helicopters (and everything else), sax on the soundtrack, and of course the 90’s-future-movie staple, VR. It’s hard to ask for more, and the confluence of classic elements puts this ahead of the pack. PM delivers yet again, with a winner that is indeed T-Forceful.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty
Also check out write-ups from our buddies, Exploding Helicopter and The Unknown Movies!