Featuring: Michael Jai “Black Dynamite” White , Randy “The Dukes of Hazzard: the Beginning” Wayne , Kadeem “Def By Temptation” Hardison
Director & Writer: Mark “Knight of the Dead” Atkins
“That skin job. That psychopathic soda machine. That menace!”
Disclaimer: in the wake of our last episode, Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, I’ve challenged myself to stay clear of any and all fecal allusions (aka “poo-llusions”) for this review. Will my wit carry me through this self-imposed censorship to new heights of humor, or will it go over like a wet fart at brunch? Only one way to find out…
Oh, and that “wet fart” comment was part of the disclaimer and NOT the review proper, so it doesn’t count. Blart.
The Asylum. We meet again.
Every time a big deal movie comes out, you can bet they’re just waiting in the rafters to swoop down and torment us again like Gilberto’s war wound (“THE WOUND!”)! We’ll never fucking be rid of them. This is my second Asylum visit in as many weeks, and my third such run-in in six months. I’m starting to have nightmares. Poorly shot, badly structured nightmares where the people all talk like they’re reading from scripts by high school dropouts who couldn’t get work writing for small town used car lot commercials on their best days. Nightmares littered with special effects horrors thrown together on some AV geek’s iPad. Do you think they call themselves The Asylum because sitting through too many of their movies will get you institutionalized? If enough of my next-of-kin read these reviews, can they call the guys with the straitjackets on me and get me padded room accommodations at the loony bin (preferably the one from Dead Pit) because I’m a danger to myself? Wouldn’t be the first time and won’t be the last, either. To paraphrase Bob Dylan: how many Asylum movies must a man sit through before they can call him a man? Whatever that hypothetical number may be, I’m pretty sure I’m due my Bar Mitzvah after this one. Though you can bet that, were I a Jewish girl, my Bat Mitzvah would be populated with people dressed as Batman in yarmulkes. Appropriate since his creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger were both Jewish! *The More You Know*
Alright, Android Cop. I “discovered” this clusterfuck like most parents “discover” their kids’ lost LEGO blocks – with complete surprise, followed by seemingly endless pain, and a rage that makes the skies tremble. While researching for my Black Dynamite review, I wanted to see what’s been distracting Michael Jai White from making Black Dynamite 2. Amongst other things (like the critically acclaimed “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” web series and the “Black Dynamite” animated series), White made a car payment with this Asylum cesspool of elements stolen from WAY better movies. More than just the RoboCop rip-off you’d expect it to be (it even straight up steals “The Future of Law Enforcement” tagline from the RoboCop poster!), Android Cop gets greedy and makes its way through the sci-fi movie retirement home, stealing pills and jewelry from the rooms of a handful of unsuspecting movies left to stare out of their windows while they piss their Depends in blissful ignorance. Way to scumbag it up, AC. Dredd. The Surrogates. Escape From LA. Doomsday. Hell, they even try to steal the entire plot of non-sci-fi classic The Warriors, but just kinda dropped the idea altogether, nonplussed with whether the audience (i.e. poor suckers like myself forced to watch it Clockwork Orange style) would notice or not! Then again, given their track record, The Asylum’s too busy wondering which movies to purloin for their next feature (and which off-shore account to hide the unspent production costs in) to worry about what the people paying to see their movies think…proof that capitalism doesn’t work.
The year is 2037…but ignore all of the early millennium brand cars and technology, because it’s 2037 and it’s your own fault if you ruin the illusion by pointing it out. A massive earthquake has left much of L.A. looking oddly similar to a gravel pit in some parts, a Spahn-like movie ranch set in others, and some poorly made dystopic digital cityscape background art for the rest. What was once Beverly Hills is now referred to as “The Zone” (sharing its name with this awesome DVD store I used to frequent that sold bootleg discs for Japanese movies like Lady Snowblood, Baby Cart to Hades, and this weird ass Ninja Turtles henshin cartoon called “Super Turtles” that you can watch here). A victim of nuclear fallout, it’s where the poor radioactively contaminated people are forced to live in exile while the nastiest gangs of miscreants on the West Coast have ALL set up shop there due to the lack of a police presence… and because they’re not too worried about the minor nuisance of all that RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT. When the LAPD SWAT do go into The Zone to hunt down a dangerous terrorist, lone wolf officer Hammond (Michael Jai White) runs off from his group (and the horrible, feather-strewn-for-no-reason, slow motion shootout they’ve gotten themselves involved in) in pursuit of the suspect. The bad guy gets the drop on our hero, but Hammond’s ham is saved at the last second thanks to the LAPD’s newest addition: Android Cop!
I’m sorry, I feel that exclamation point is really mis-representative of my feelings on the titular character. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I’m in no way excited about Android Cop, nor am I shedding anything even remotely implied as a positive light upon him. Android Cop is, as his name states, a robot who looks like a man and fights crime. But, since this is an Asylum production, that just means he’s a dime store Val Kilmer knock-off clone (or as he’s known in the credits, “Randy Wayne”) doing a bad Data impression and decked out in some repainted Stormtrooper cosplay outfit over a black mock turtleneck, and makes those generic whirring servo sound effects every time he takes a step. And occasionally he wears a big dumb helmet with a plastic bubble face-shield. How dumb? Oh, you’ll see. Shit like this is why I insist on including screenshots with my reviews. But, that’s for dessert, children. First, finish your creamed okra and Pickled Fish Lip Surprise. I slaved over an open flame all day making this slop… it melted my laptop, so you better appreciate it.
It turns out that Advanced Autonomous Artificial Intelligence Neural-net Law Enforcement Droid I-1 (as my first girlfriend used to say, “That’s a MOUTHFUL!”) is Hammond’s new partner. Their team-up is a field test to see if androids, whom have basically been relegated to house servants and sex toys until now, will work as police officers. Despite his obvious prejudices against working with a “skin job”, Hammy bestows the whimsical nickname of “Andy” to his tin can lawman, but mostly because the acronym A.A.A.I.N.L.E.D.I-1 doesn’t lend itself to any good names of its own like M.O.D.O.K. or M.A.N.T.I.S. or Robo-C.H.I.C. Engineers of the future are uncreative as fuck. Don’t they know you’re supposed to make the cool acronym first then figure out the actual words after?! Isn’t that one of the prerequisite classes to get your Engineering degree? I mean, it never worked for us at H.O.P.E.L.E.S.S., but we were a bunch of stoned high school kids, and you don’t need a Master’s to do bong hits and watch shitty movies… though I’m pretty sure an Associates in Liberal Arts wouldn’t hurt… my point is, engineers – DO YOUR JOB!
After the new odd couple (Simon & Simulacra? Jake and the Bot Man? MicroCHiPs?) talks a guy out of killing himself in an overly long scene that’s only there to show us that Andy can hack cell phones, the duo are assigned to a case that takes them back into The Zone… for a place that’s supposed to be lawless, this is the second time the LAPD’s been sent into it in as many days. Helen Jacobs (Larissa Vereza), the daughter of L.A.’s Mayor Jacobs (Charles S. Dutton), has gone missing in the fallout area and it’s up to our shield bearing heroes to find her and bring her back, safe and sound. There’s actually a LOT more to the mission, including two different conspiracies (one about wiping out The Zone’s criminal base, the other regarding a higher brow realty scheme, and both involving Kadeem “Dwayne Wayne” Hardison), a whole plot point about Helen being in cahoots with a faction of revolutionaries, some complicated crud revolving around more androids, and a full-on Shyamalan (“What a TWIST!”) that forgets surprise endings are supposed to come at the end and NOT at the 65 minute mark! The sad part? Mark Atkins probably considered having the big plot twist reveal 30 minutes early is the big plot twist.
You know what Mark should’ve considered? The palpable disappointment of every woman whose partner’s premature ejaculation has ruined their night, of which I’m sure Mr. Atkins has had a few. Remember the pain of being asked “Is that it!?” by the dissatisfied lady beneath you, as your already softened dong slipped out, smearing spilled seed against her leg as you pleaded “This NEVER happens to me!” and begged her to stay the night, knowing full well she’d be dressed and out the door in mere moments, spreading the tales of your “twelve second hero” prowess to all of her friends the next day while you considered playing roadkill under the tires of the nearest bus? Why would you do this to us, Mark? Why would you do it to yourself? Oh well, this is (for the hundredth time) an Asylum flick after all. If there were such a thing as transparency in the movie industry, the title for this 90 minute headache would be Hemorrhoid Cop…which is a butt joke, not a poop joke, so keep your challenge card in your pants.
In my Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies review, I noted the almost obscene amount of extras that Asylum had hired to play zombies and soldiers. It probably helps that the closest thing they had to a known actor in the entire thing was Daytime Emmy Award winner Bill Oberst Jr., and the effects budget was restricted to zombie makeup and digital splatter. Android Cop went for bigger names from the Hollywood unemployment line, and their effects budget required that goofy CG VTOL chopper (more on that in a minute) and all the odd, needless lens flare effects, so when they promise us “all of the most dangerous gangs in the west coast” they should’ve been more honest and said “a dozen or so guys with their faces obscured so you won’t realize we’ve used them once or twice in the movie already”. The way it’s done, it feels like they shot the sequence explaining the gang war battle royale before they realized they couldn’t afford it, then realized they couldn’t afford to go back and re-shoot it. They may have forgotten to go back and just edit it out, but that feels like I’m giving them way more credit and not nearly enough scorn in their scornhole. Safe money’s on everyone involved being too focused on getting this garbage over and done with as soon as possible so they wouldn’t miss happy hour at the nearest Applebee’s. Speaking of, I’m pretty sure they paid Kadeem Hardison in Applebee’s gift cards for his work here, because his waistline looks to have been the testing site of numerous Cowboy Burger Bombs since we saw him getting tempted into deffness opposite Samuel L. Jackson. I hear the folks at Asylum tried to get Jasmine Guy for a role in Android Cop, to do a kind of “A Different World” non-reunion reunion the way Kevin Smith had both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. Miss Guy’s apparently got an exclusive contract for “The Vampire Diaries” though and couldn’t do it… nor would I imagine she’d want to, barring some kind of blackmail scheme or yakuza honor debt. I hear The CW pays in Ruby Tuesday gift cards too, so Asylum can’t really compete with that. Oh well, our “A Different World” fanfic will have to tide us all over a little longer…
Tearing down every aspect of this digital abortion would only waste precious hours of our lives, so I’ll focus the remainder of my loathing into a concentrated laser beam of death and fire on my personal ground zero – the only piece of technology the police force of the future has that can be construed as futuristic (aside from their tin man in the $60 full body plastic armor) is their Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) helicopter. My problem isn’t with the fact that the VTOL’s 100% computer generated. It shows a complete lack of creativity, but it is financially viable, and it at least looks better than something out of “Transformers: Beast Wars”. My problem (and remember, this is the big stupid construct upon which I am crucifying this movie), is that the inside of this chopper is decidedly NOT digital. For the scenes with our boys-in-blue inside of the ride, a physical set was used, and the higher ranking officers in tow sit in… wheeled office chairs… inside of a high speed aircraft… office chairs with wheels… inside of a very fast moving helicopter. Think about that. Just for a moment. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that, think about it a little longer. Think about it until you do realize what the problem is, then STOP thinking about it. Because if you think about it for even a moment longer, fissures will open up in your brain. Lovecraftian horrors will claw their way free from your deepest fears through these fissures. They will rend your very mind before, finally, vomiting a thick sludge of pure madness all over it. An eclipse of insanity from which the glow of reason will never again emerge… not unlike becoming a Scientologist. All because some assholes threw some wheeled office chairs onto a gods damned helicopter set and thought: “Fuck it. Good enough”.
A few years ago, I teamed with former Tomb collaborator and current Cinemasochist Apocalypse head honcho Brother Ragnarok to double penetrate another Robocop knock-off called Robo-Vampire. It’s this scrod-awful Hong Kong movie from infamous director Godfrey Ho…well, unknown director to most, but infamous as fuck to those of us who have been blighted by the knowledge of his nefarious cinematic violations of the human good. I hate-fucked RV (not the Robin Williams movie, though I’m sure I’d hate that just as much), while Rags popped a blue steel boner the likes of which even Wilford Brimley’s cat couldn’t scratch (holy Hellraiser, Cocoon was WEIRD). There’s something to be said about a movie whose cyborg protagonist’s stunt double is a big, empty, humanoid suit of tin foil, and that something is “sweet zombie Buddha, I need a Vicodin and Bushmill smoothie to get rid of the headache that Robo-Vampire curb-stomped me with”. There’s something else I can say about it now too – “I’d rather watch Robo-Vampire every day for a week than sit through Android Cop one more time”.
In the last few episodes, The Asylum’s dragged me through new levels of movie damnation than I once thought possible, if by no other reason than the sheer volume of garbage they pollute the market with. I never thought I’d look back on the lowest days of Full Moon with fondness, but I’ve been proven wrong. Asylum’s not like Roger Corman, giving stars-to-be like Jack Nicholson or Clint Eastwood reels to get their foot in the door for movies that would lead to legendary careers entertaining others. No, The Asylum’s just a place that gives awful roles to pop culture punchlines who were better left to disappear into the arctic waters of obscurity with their sad, dying eyes like a group of Hollywood Jack Dawsons. If someone like Jeff “Night of the Living Dead 3D” Broadstreet is that guy dumping the occasional barrel of used motor oil into the sewer via the piss drain in his garage floor, then Asylum is a fracking operation poisoning the surrounding land for miles and turning all nearby water supplies into napalm. Sure, they give people jobs, but the damage they do with their productions is tragic and often irreversible.
Speaking of burning fluids, I’ve got a date with Hel tonight and have an appointment for a manicure (my humpin’ socks are at the dry cleaner’s) and a flea dip in preparation, so I gotta bring this episode to a close. I bid you all adieu and, since I made it the whole review without a single poop joke, I bid you all a doo-doo too…number two! 😛
Moral of the Story: Wheeled office chairs… on a high speed helicopter… MY BRAIN!
Wow, pick-up truck technology of “the future” is light years ahead of our own! So many great advances in “the future”… the… future…
In the future, terrorists apparently carry their terrorism tools in briefcases? Oh shit, that means… hipster terrorists are probably doing that very thing NOW before it becomes popular! Someone get Homeland Security to Brooklyn!
National Enquirer exclusive: Madonna captured on film… without makeup!
What’s with all the damn feathers?! Did this gunfight take place on a chicken farm combination land mine testing ground!?
As promised, our hero and his big suppository helmet. Appropriate since he spends most of the movie with his head up his ass. Strap a pair of wings on either side and he looks like the ship from Fantasy Zone!
At all times he has the looks of a man who’s been hit with a fish. Also, I didn’t know androids looked so “moist”. Blart.