Ah, the future. The future is going to be cool. I for one am really looking forward to the distant year of 2003, when we'll have killer machines, man-machine hybrids, and awesome industrial warehouses everywhere. Yes, the future looks bright in Death Machine, which is in no way related to the other Death Machines movie I rated a bit ago.
Death Machine is a near perfect bad movie. Near perfect because it's not, but oh man is it a bad movie. Not only is it bad, it was directed by the guy who basically made Sean Connery stop acting in films, Stephen Norrington would later go on to direct The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which was of course Connery's last role. Norrington came from a history of special and creature effects on such successful films as Alien, and this movie is a first hand demonstration of why skill in one area (effects) does not always translate to another area (writing and directing).
This movie is bad in many, many ways. First of all, the characters. If you're going to homage other film makers, at least be KIND OF smart about it. It takes us out of the film if it's painfully obvious what you're going for. So the characters here are Jack Dante (director Joe Dante homage), Scott Ridley (Ridley Scott homage) Sam Raimi (Sam Raimi homage), John Carpenter (figure that one out for yourself). Yeah, brilliant. There's also a rather nonsensical Street Fighter reference near the end that hurt to hear.
I was watching it and thinking, though it was bad, I miss the type of films where the whole thing took place in some industrial looking warehouse. Like, they had one building in which to shoot, and so by adding some tubes, wires, fog and lights, they make it look like this bizarre futuristic building, and the whole thing is shot there. There's other movies where they just take place in some random warehouse somewhere. I love that shit, and I regret that movies these days are too ambitious to bring back the 90's aesthetic of filming in some weird-ass warehouse somewhere. That shit was awesome, and it looks great. Especially when there's like, randomly blasting fire, giant industrial metal doors, a freezer room, or some dark dank basement...man that shit is awesome.
Okay, the plot is a who cares thing; it's your basic follow the main girl as she uncovers the fact the company she works for has been creating machines, and man-machine hybrids. They're evil of course, run by Brad Dourif in a typically insane performance. There's a lot of setup going into the pretty simple you-know-exactly-how-this-movie-goes plotline, and it could have used some editing, but basically its man vs machine and all sorts of fights and chases in the industrial warehouse ensue.
Rachel Weisz was also in a microscopic role. Nice.
This movie was fun, but also not that great and took too long to get through. I checked at least three times to see how much was left, watching it on Amazon instant play. I couldn't tell you exactly where it went wrong, but the pacing is very slow, and there's just a lot of unnecessary dialogue and build to something that ultimately we knew was going to happen ten minutes into the film. The acting is inconsistent, sometimes okay and sometimes horrible. The effects are okay but extremely 90's and dated, the stop motion animation in parts is done in way too jerky of a fashion.
All in all, it's fun but not THAT fun, it'd be okay to put on if you like bad action movies or maybe Terminator rip-offs, but I don't generally recommend it. I'll give it 2.5 stars though, cause at least it didn't have that horrible stink of a bad bad movie all over it.