The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 4.07.14 Issue #301: Android Cop (2014)
Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 04.07.2014
A look at the 2014 sci-fi action flick Android Cop, a new batch of Things to Watch Out For This Week, a new B-Movie Babe is named, a new Douchebag of the Week is crowned and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #301: Android Cop (2014)
Action April: Week 1
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never had to jump from a moving vehicle to avoid a massive explosion, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred and one, Action April begins with a look at the low budget sci-fi action flick released a few months ago, Android Cop.
Android Cop (2014)
Android Cop, written and directed by Mark Atkins, is a bit of a throwback low budget sci-fi action flick in that it deals with a earthquake ravaged future where certain segments of the world have been destroyed and other segments are essentially untouched and thriving. In the Los Angeles of 2046 (or maybe 2037. The movie itself isn't that sure about the exact date), L.A. has been divided into various zones. Some of the zones are post apocalyptic hell holes chock full of mutants, disease, and heavily armed robots that keep the mutants under control, and some of the zones are nice places to raise a family (or you could call them clean cut urban areas where there isn't as much crime as there used to be. It isn't a utopia or anything, but it isn't bad, either). Every so often the LAPD has to send in its officers to deal with something, like an escaped criminal or a terrorist mastermind. Michael Jai White's Hammond is one such LAPD infiltration officer, although he's probably more badass than other LAPD infiltration officers because he's Michael Jai White. When we first see Hammond he's hot on the trail of a missing informant in zone 12, one of the worst zones in Los Angeles. As soon as Hammond and his partner (I don't remember the guy's name) enter the zone they are attacked by a band of heavily armed scumbag mutants. Hammond takes care of most of them, but Hammond's partner is captured by a mutant and held hostage. Before he can deal with the hostage taker himself, Hammond watches as a roaming LAPD tank droid drone thing takes out his partner and the mutant with a flurry of brutal machine gun fire. Pissed off, Hammond watches in disbelief as his partner dies. How could that happen?
The movie then shifts either a few months of years into the future (again, the movie has a hard time figuring out when it's supposed to be happening) where Hammond is now a part of an LAPD S.W.A.T. team that constantly enters the bad zones looking for bad guys. Hammond isn't the leader of the team but he isn't exactly bound by orders from superior officers as he pretty much just does whatever the hell he wants when he enters the zone. In the midst of tracking down an old woman with a fake arm and beating the crap out of a bunch of scumbag mutants, Hammond meets the Android Cop (Randy Wayne), a new weapon at the disposal of the LAPD. Hammond, as you'd expect, hates the Android Cop and doesn't want anything to do with it. But then, since this is also a sort of old school buddy cop movie, Hammond finds out that the police chief, Thompson (Steve Tom), wants Hammond to partner with the Android Cop as a test to see if the AC needs to be improved. Can the AC interact with the public without creeping everyone out? Can the AC do the job of a regular cop?
So then some stuff happens, Hammond and the AC argue about being human versus being a robot, and then they are given an assignment. Under the direct orders of the mayor (Mayor Jacobs, as played by the brilliant Charles S. "Roc" Dutton), Hammond and the AC are charged with entering Zone 12 to track down the mayor's daughter Helen (Larissa Vereza), a young idealist who has decided to team up with the zone's mutant criminal leaders as some sort of political statement. Helen, though, isn't a flesh and blood person, at least not in Zone 12. The Helen Hammond and the AC have to track down is actually a "telepresence" android that is controlled by the mind of a physically incapacitated person. In this case, Helen is in a coma, but her mind is inside the android that's running around the zone. Hammond isn't all that interested in this assignment, either, but since the freaking mayor is the man asking him to do something he feels obliged to do it, Android Cop or no Android Cop.
So then some more stuff happens, Hammond and the AC mess around with some dudes in a bar looking for information, fight eachother (Hammond cannot stand this goddamn robot), and then enter Zone 12. It doesn't take long for Hammond and the AC to find trouble, and it doesn't take long for Hammond and the AC to find out that there's more to their assignment than just a simple search and rescue. I don't want to say anything more specific about the plot as there are oodles of surprises to be had once Mayor Jacobs reveals what's really going on. There's also a nifty character revelation for Jai White's Hammond that took me by surprise. I should have seen it coming but I didn't. It is that well hidden.
Android Cop isn't a perfect movie by a long shot as it contains some misfires and missed chances that, in a lesser movie, would be unforgivable. However, because Android Cop is so generally well made its misfires come off as minor problems at best. The movie would have been better if writer/director Atkins had found a way to deal with them, sure, but what he ends up actually creating is too damn good to ignore.
The flick's first big issue is its general lack of martial arts action. Why have the great Michael Jai White, a legitimate martial arts movie badass, in your movie if you're not going to have him kung fu the crap out of everyone? The movie does have a few nifty martial arts moments but they happen at the beginning. There's a moment in the middle of the movie where Jai White's Hammond is surrounded by scumbag mutants with a serious grudge. Normally this kind of situation would have Hammond just destroy them all in classic martial arts movie fashion. In Android Cop, however, Hammond just shoots some of them and then runs away. What kind of hooey is that? Why doesn't he side kick them all to death? We don't even get a vicious chop to the throat.
The second big issue is the rather underwhelming performance of Kadeem Hardison as Sgt. Jones. He just isn't as deeply involved as the rest of the cast. The third big issue is the plot in the second half of the movie. While it does contain some awesome surprises the big scheme that's revealed towards the end of the movie just isn't that big of a deal, or at least it doesn't come off as that big of a deal.
And then the flick's last big issue is the lack of screen time for Charles S. Dutton. He's in about three scenes and he looks like he's seriously constipated in two of them. What the heck is the deal with that? Why have Charles S. Dutton in your movie and not have him chew the scenery at least once? Would that have cost more money? Why didn't Atkins and the fine folks at The Asylum ask the internets for a little more money so Roc could do more? I'm sure we all would have donated something. A missed opportunity to be sure.
Despite the lack of karate from him, Michael Jai White is great as Hammond. He's a total badass, yes, but he's also a funny guy who also happens to be dedicated to his job. You feel for him when he loses his partner, and you feel for him again when he's forced to team up with the Android Cop. I could easily see Jai White playing this character again as part of a low budget franchise (or a big budget one. He'd kick ass in either one. Why the hell isn't he a member of The Expendables?).
Randy Wayne does a good job as the Android Cop. He knows how to walk like a low budget Robocop and that's pretty much what you would have to do in this kind of movie. He also has good "straight man" chemistry with Jai White. And Larissa Vereza is excellent as Helen. She has the whole "young liberal out to change the world" thing down pat, and it always helps when the "young liberal out to change the world" is gorgeous to look at. Great stuff there.
Android Cop is a great little sci-fi action flick. It's flawed, yes, but there's more good than bad on display. Hopefully the fine folks at The Asylum do another one as I definitely want to see another Android Cop adventure. Good job, everyone. Good goddamn job.
See Android Cop. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 10+
Explosions: Several, big and small.
Nudity?: None. It's not that kind of movie.
Doobage: Multiple shootouts, post apocalyptic hooey, multiple grenade attacks, exploding truck, kung fu handcuffs, robotic machine guns, radiation poisoning threat, an old woman with a fake arm and a hidden gun, slow motion hooey, battle helmet to the face, a box of booze, a conversation about organ donation, an android maid, double man through a window, a bar fight, attempted gang attack, a car full of spikes, Gatling gun attack, shotgun attack, attempted dirt bike attack, a stairwell full of rotting dead bodies, a very cool police attack chopper, a very old computer screen, cars into buildings, a robotic nurse, suicide by gun, and a cool ending.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Michael Jai White, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, Mexican Coca-Cola, Kadeem Hardison, a Lethal Weapon homage, Charles S. Dutton, a bar fight, cell phones, megaphone voice, a baby born into radiation, micro expressions, very old computer screens, a "DNR," suicide by gun, and a cool ending.
Best lines: "Come on, do we look like crooked cops to you?," "Dammit, Jones! Report!," "Shit! Hammond's gone lone wolf again!," "You called for back-up?," "Who the hell is this guy?," "What the hell was that? Our future," "You can call me Officer One," "Hey, you want me to cite you?," "We're getting another call. Will you please stop that?," "Robo hoes," "Oh, you're trying to play good cop, bad cop?," "Who are you guys? You can just call us the future of law enforcement," "I am not a robot. Sorry, just a figure of speech. Sorry for calling you the 'R' word," "You have a hammer. I have a hammer, too. Mine's better," "I am not an android!," "Hit him with everything! Everything!," and "Human interference? Is that what you just said?"
Next week: Action April continues with Game of Death (2010)!
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Things to Watch Out For This Week
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: I still haven't seen the first The Hobbit movie, which is kind of annoying because I do want to see one of these Hobbit flicks in that new high frame rate thing. I need to see this one, the first one, and then prepare to make an effort to see the third one on the big screen. I feel as though I'm letting down the movie nerd world by not being up to date on these movies.
- Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses: This low budget sequel to the hit Bad Ass has the returning Danny Trejo teaming up with Roger Murtaugh hisself Danny Glover to fight crime and scumbag young people and whatnot. It's too bad that this movie and the first one didn't get major theatrical play. I bet people would have paid money to see both of them. I know I would have. And check out the number of explosions in the trailer below. Andrew Divoff is in it, too. How cool is that?
- Grudge Match: This sort of "old man" boxing comedy featuring Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and Raging Bull (Robert DeNiro) wasn't a big hit when it was in theatres last Christmas, and it didn't get great reviews, but I still think it looks funny. Easily worth renting, just to see if it's as funny as it seems.
- Apocalypse Kiss: This low budget sci-fi thriller looks insanely cool, and it's got Tom Atkins, Michael Berryman, and the Lloyd Kaufman in it, so right there it's a definite must see. How often do we see low budget sci-fi that looks as good as the trailer below? I can't remember the last one that looked as good.
- 513 Degrees: This low budget thriller has an impressive cast (Danny Trejo, Costas Mandylor, Tom Sizemore, and Bokeem Woodbine are in it) and a pretty cool trailer. Those facts alone make 513 Degrees, or Five Thirteen as it was originally called, worth checking out.
Wow. Two more Danny Trejo movies. Does the man ever sleep?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
TV Quick Hits
- How I Met Your Mother Series Finale thoughts: I can't say that the ending to How I Met Your Mother was all that surprising. The architect Ted Mosby, despite what he said several times in the last season, would always have a thing for Robin, even if he did eventually meet the love of his life, The Mother of the show title. And since Tracy the mother died it only makes sense to have Ted still pine for Robin and make a move on her again. At the same time, I can say that I was disappointed with how the show didn't end with the scene at the train station where Ted finally met Tracy. That's probably where the show should have finished. It could have had Ted and Robin meeting up again several years after her divorce from Barney and still have had the same ending, Ted going after Robin.
The ending of the show made me wonder about Ted and what he thinks he's going to get out of chasing after Robin again. What makes him think that she's going to want him in the year 2030? I think she made it clear to him that, no matter what, they were never going to be together. It was just too weird. I flipped out a little when, during the future Halloween party/Lily and Marshal moving away party, Robin complained about not being with Ted, that she probably should have married him instead of Barney. It was just such bullshit. It was never going to work out. She knew that. So what the heck was she complaining about?
And when you start to think about what a Ted and Robin marriage would have looked like, it would have no doubt ended the exact same way the Barney and Robin marriage ended; in crushing divorce. And it seems obvious to me that Barney and Robin's divorce was inevitable anyway, even if they were essentially perfect for one another. Oh, sure, Robin's job as a globe trotting TV news reporter was the stated reason for her drifting away from Barney, but does anyone out there really believe that had Robin had a job closer to New York City that she would have had a rock solid enduring marriage like Lily and Marshal? Of course not.
There probably wouldn't have been as much backlash from fans of the show if the creators had done a "in the future" episode where we find out about Tracy's sickness and eventual death. It was always fun to see Ted and Tracy together, and had we seen them together for a full episode maybe then the eventual ending of the show wouldn't have been so upsetting. What did Tracy die from, anyway? Just how bad was the disease? The show missed out on that.
Lily and Marshal had a nice ending. Barney's ending, though, was kind of weird. How the hell is he going to care for a baby? Why would the world, why would his friends, allow that to happen? Why didn't he eventually have a wife or some other live in lover/maid to help him take care of the kid? Did this help Barney reconnect with his father (John Lithgow)? I mean, it's not like Barney's mother was going to live forever. How long was she able to help out? Did Wayne Brady pitch in?
How I Met Your Mother was a great show. I loved it, even if I don't necessarily agree with how the ending played out. The ending makes sense, yes, but I don't think I would have gone that way had it been my show. But, again, I enjoyed it, and I look forward to catching episodes again in syndication. I haven't watched reruns outside of the Monday night ones since the show started.
And now, onto How I Met Your Dad, if CBS decides to go ahead with it. I hope the network does go through with it. It won't be the same show, but it sounds like it will be close enough to HIMYM to qualify as existing in that same universe. That's good enough for me.
- The Walking Dead Season 4 finale thoughts: Am I the only one who thought that the ending to season 4, where everyone is captured in Terminus, should be the start of a new season instead of the end of one? I know that TV dramas in general are all about the cliffhanger ending and all that, but wouldn't it have been a better cliffhanger to have everyone (or at least Rick, Michonne, and Carl) arrive at the gates of Terminus and or have someone from Terminus say to them "Welcome to Terminus?" That would have made more sense. Having everyone locked up in a train car waiting to be eaten or executed or whatever is the kind of ending that should be resolved next week. Waiting until October to see where it goes next seems very anticlimactic.
The second half of the season was interesting but a tad too long in terms of the "quite character moment episodes." The show probably could have moved all of that stuff along in fewer episodes if it really wanted to. I would have kept the "Carol shooting the little girl" episode simply because it was so well done, but everything else? I think the season could have lived without all of the stuff it managed to find time to get into.
I am intrigued with the whole "I have to get this man to Washington" storyline. That could be a viable spin-off opportunity, or some kind of "limited series"/mini-series event. Those particular characters could easily be their own thing and have their own adventures.
Am I the only one who thinks, in an overall sense, that the show is getting a tad too negative and hopeless? Hopelessness is all a part of the zombie genre, that's true, and most zombie stories tend to be about people trying to navigate through that hopelessness, but does that mean The Walking Dead needs to be so negative and tragic all of the time? I mean, at some point doesn't this zombie apocalypse become a background threat to be dealt with on occasion instead of the one thing that controls everyone's life? Isn't it high time for some of these people to take up a hobby?
I hope this Terminus thing works out. I can't wait to find out if these Terminus people are cannibals or something else? I have no idea what else they could be. I doubt there's some area in the new world where there's an illicit sex trade or a need for black market organ transplants. So Terminus has to be all about cannibals, right? What else could it be?
October needs to get here soon. The Walking Dead needs to continue. I want to know where it's going, man. Six months. Six months.
- The new Ring Of Honor TV show opening: I haven't been able to find it on youtube, but there is a new opening to the Ring of Honor TV show that features short clips of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. I sort of know why ROH wants you to know, in case you didn't already know, that Punk and Bryan used to be a part of Ring of Honor, but it seems rather counterproductive to focus, even for a few seconds, on wrestlers who no longer wrestle with the company. Why not focus instead on the Briscoe brothers, Michael Elgin, Adam Cole (the current ROH champion), or Jay Lethal? I mean, unless the company is going to start airing old matches featuring former ROH stars like Punk and Bryan or do some sort of weekly segment on the history of Ring of Honor, why mention it at all?
Am I the only one who can't stand this kind of thing? If I'm watching Ring of Honor I want to watch Ring of Honor as it is at the moment. I don't care about what happened before unless it has something to do with what's going on now. If Kevin Steen ends up going to NXT and then, one day, the WWE main roster will Ring of Honor plaster him all over the show opening? And if TNA manages to survive beyond 2014 and Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards are major stars will RoH be about them again, like it was 2012?
Ring of Honor should be about the right now, not about what happened before. It just doesn't make any sense to me.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Larissa Vereza
What's Going On Here?
When did "viral videos" become news? I'm not talking about videos of actual news events, like the war in Syria or a massive fire somewhere; I'm talking about videos of people doing stupid shit like a guy jumping off the roof of his house while wearing a garbage bag cape or a woman creating a mini-skirt made entirely of bacon. How is any of this news?
I blame novelty. For whatever reason the idea of "viral videos" is still somewhat novel to the segment of the population that still watches TV news, like the local news or the major network world news, or at least the people behind those news broadcasts think news viewers think shit like "viral videos" are novel and new and kind of quirky. It's all kind of sad, especially when you consider that, on some level, the people behind these news broadcasts also think they're going to get a good slice of younger viewers because talking about "viral videos" is relevant to the lives of young people. That's all young people do, don't you know. They're on social media looking at and exchanging viral videos.
Viral videos of people doing stupid shit are not news. Videos of people doing stupid shit in general are not news. They're just videos of people doing stupid shit. And stupid shit happening. It's cool and all, sure, but it's not news. It just isn't.
See? None of it is news. None of it.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to General Motors, for its ongoing public relations disaster and possible cover-up involving a faulty ignition switch. Instead of just coming right out and saying "we screwed up" and moving on from there, GM seems to be stuck in "internal investigation" mode, acting as though it has no idea why any of this recall and public condemnation stuff is happening. That kind of thing never works, especially when it's obvious to everyone that the company fucked up big time, but then big business never seems to learn anything.
Oh, I know, GM doesn't want to get sued, or at least reduce the number of potential lawsuits by being deliberately obtuse. Those "victims" are just looking for easy money.
GM is getting sued no matter what. The company should just accept it, admit wrongdoing, and go from there. Wouldn't that make more sense "public relations" wise?
"Hey, hey, hey, I am not full of shit. I am completely full of shit. Big difference. Huge."
And then there's Douchebag Hall of Famer Donald Trump, for saying that he might buy the Buffalo Bills. According to Trump "several" people have asked him to buy the NFL franchise or a good chunk of it and Trump is allegedly "looking into it." I wonder if these people are the same people who asked him to run for governor of New York state as a Republican. Or for President of the United States.
Trump is a rich guy, yes, and it may be true that someone involved in the Bills organization asked him if he was interested in investing in the team, but I think it's high time someone in the liberal media ask him to show some proof of these conversations before anyone reports on them, because it all just sounds like more self promoting bullshit. And, ultimately, that's all Donald Trump is interested in. Himself. He's also interested in making the public believe he's incredibly important, but then that just goes back to the whole "himself" thing.
Why hasn't the "liberal" media just laughed Trump out of the room? Why does anyone take anything he says seriously?
And finally we have sports radio hosts Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, and Mike Francesca, for complaining about a baseball player missing two games because the player's wife gave birth and he wanted to be there. The player in question, Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets, was destroyed by all three sports radio yahoos because baseball players just don't miss games for nonsense like child birth. I mean, Murphy is rich, why can't he hire a maid or something to be with his wife so he wouldn't miss a game? Or why couldn't the bitch have a C-section before the start of the season (that's what Esiason said. Well, he didn't say the "bitch" part but I wouldn't be surprised if he was thinking it)? Doesn't she understand what's really important?
Esiason did eventually "apologize." I have no idea if the other two offered up anything beyond what they originally said. But isn't it kind of sad that, in this day and age, the world still has people who don't believe that the father should be involved with their children beyond making them and, maybe, paying for them? Ultra right conservatives blame feminists for this thought process. I blame the men for believing what they have essentially always believed. The first part is okay (the sex part). The second part and the third part, well, that's none of my business. I have a job to do.
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
As I'm writing this the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway is in the middle of an extended rain delay. The NASCAR on Fox commentators seem to think that the race will actually happen on Sunday night since Texas has lights. By the time you all read this the race will either have already happened or it will have been postponed until today. The update on Fox at 7pm didn't look promising. Tony Stewart has the pole for the race.
The Nationwide race, which was run on Friday night so it didn't interfere with the NCAA Final Four basketball thing, was apparently a good race. I didn't get to see it, but I read about it and, yeah, it sounded like it was a good race... for Texas. Eighteen year old Chase Elliott picked up his first career Nationwide win, holding off Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick for the victory. Wow. Two first time winners already this season. Will we get a third this Friday night at Darlington?
Over in Indycar there isn't much going on at the moment, which is kind of sad since the season just started. Some of the teams are still complaining about the botched restart that had Marco Andretti smash into the wall but it sounds like Indycar officials are fine with the way eventual St. Pete race winner Will Power took the green flag and there won't be any further modifications to the restart procedures for this year. I still say that the restart procedure is far too complicated and that it should be simplified to "When the green flag comes out, go."
It also sounds like the Long Beach Grand Prix Association, the entity that runs the Long Beach street race, is going to get some sort of contract extension with the city, meaning that the proposed return of F-1 to Long Beach is, at least, several years off. I'm surprised that the Long Beach city council is even entertaining the possibility of an F-1 race as the F-1 sanctioning fee is a massive amount of money on top of what the city would likely have to spend in order to alter the course to meet F-1 track guidelines. I did see somewhere on Racer Magazine's website that the city probably wouldn't have to spend any real money, that the sanction fee would actually be paid for by sponsors affiliated with the promoter, but that all sounds like hooey to me. The city would have to spend lots and lots of money for F-1, quite a bit more than it spends right now on Indycar. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. I don't think the F-1 thing is going to happen.
Long Beach is up next for Indycar this Sunday at 4pm EST. The race will be on the NBC Sports Network. It will also be the first race of the year featuring a standing start. I'm sure that will be exciting. Ha.
Well, I think that'll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
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Michael Jai White- Hammond Kadeem Hardison- Sgt. Jones Randy Wayne- Android Cop Charles S. Dutton- Mayor Jacobs Larissa Vereza- Helen Jacobs Gerald Webb- George Jones Duane Avery- Newald Mason Morgan Benoit- Ratchet Jay Brothers- Porter Steve Tom- Chief Thompson