Cyberzone (1995)

Want a practical example of why bad films get released under multiple names? This bit of viewing was picked purely on the grounds of there being the word “cyber” in its title; so had it been seen under its “Phoenix 2” or “Droid Gunner” monikers then you wouldn’t be about to read this cautionary tale. Then again, had just that bit more effort been put in by director Fred Olen Ray then the following would probably have been far more positive. It’s funny how life works out like that.
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Spiderhead (2022), the dawn of cyberbeige

Of the big streaming services, mostly because it’s given up on having any kind of 80s and 90s back catalogue, Netflix is currently the best place for new cyberpunk things to watch. So, when this Chris Helmsworth fronted drama, written by the team who did Deadpool randomly appeared on Friday I was all kinds of pumped up about it. And now I can happily report that it was mostly okay if you have time to kill. Continue reading

Future Shock (1994) isn’t worth your time

It’s time for an exciting three-way combo of amazing opportunity: a horror anthology with a bit of a cyberpunk taste to it! It’s also got a spectacular cast of “oooh, it’s them! From that film!” actors, and, in a random act of trivia, the music was done by J.J. Abrams. This can’t possibly go wrong, as nothing JJ Abrams has been involved in has ever been a shonky rip-off of better things that totally misses what made them good in the first place.
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Class of 1999 II: The Substitute (1994)

We finally reach the third and final part of the “Class of…” series of movies, with the Class of 2001. Well, the release title is ‘Class of 1999 II: The Substitute’, but that’s awful and the producers were cowards, so I’m just ignoring that. They also forgot to get Mark Lester involved, other than presumably the cashing of a nice cheque, but it’s still got enough markers of the original two to make this into a semi-coherent trilogy. Continue reading

Class of 1999 (1992)

Previously on Trash or Treasure, we watched Mark L Lester’s ode-to-armed-vigilante-killings: Class of 1984. Well, 8 years later he had another school-violence based story up his sleeve so envisioned, produced, and directed a cyberpunk follow-up, so it would be unfair not to see how things had changed in his mind.
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Prayer Of The RollerBoys (1990) – Nazi skaters, naff off!

It’s sometime in the future, approximately a couple of years after the environmental apocalypse, and due to overwhelming personal debt generated by the Baby-Boomers, America is now owned by a variety of other nations. Obviously, that makes no sense, but neither does a movie’s antagonists traveling by rollerblade; something that requires the kind of well-maintained streets and pavements post-collapse societies normally don’t offer. Still, this is not a movie that’s going to let such things get in the way of having a good time.
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Double Dragon (1994)

In the history of films based on video games, Double Dragon will always be the one that people go “oh, they made that? Really?”. It had the misfortune of coming out a year after the first videogame movie, Super Mario Bros, and a month before what is still one of the most heavily promoted, Street Fighter. It also had about a quarter the budget of either, and no big-name stars. But, much like the game itself when I was a kid in the arcade, I had to give it a go.
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The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture (2019) is an expensive must have

I got my copy of this mighty tome back in July 2020, and that it’s taken me this long to feel I can finally give a solid review of its 430 pages, is testimony to how detailed and in-depth it is. Within the 50 information-rich articles is not so much an introduction to Cyberpunk, but more a state-of-the-art snapshot of some of the finest Cyberpunk Studies writing going around. Whilst the writing is not aggressively academic, the concepts and ideas discussed are given a weight and a reverence of serious critical analysis. The articles also demonstrate the most valuable facets of true fans of any genre: the joy of taking apart a favourite topic and evaluating it from every angle and in every light possible. Faults are on display as much as perfections, because it’s a part of the thing being loved, so needs to be part of a whole conversation.
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New Rose Hotel (1998)

This film is driven by the utterly devastating double act of Willem Dafoe as “X” and Christopher Walken as “Fox”, in what are their only co-starring roles on-screen (because otherwise, the world would collapse from the combined weight of their awesomeness). Both are involved in the seedy world of corporate espionage; Walken the work-orientated master and Dafoe the experienced but more money-focused journeyman. They have managed to get a job extracting Hiroshi, a highly valuable R&D scientist (played, mostly through video surveillance and sci-fi filters, by  Yoshitaka Amano) from his current job to a new place of employment. To do this they have recruited Sandi (Asia Argento) to seduce him.
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Upgrade (2018)

Upgrade starts out as a “by-the-book” bit of cyberpunk sci-fi. I-Could-Swear-That’s-Tom-Hardy, burly house-husband and committed future luddite, and his charming wife, Succesful-Generica, live in Now, But With Self-Driving Cars And Police Drones (population: lots). Fifteen minutes in, they get ambushed in their fancy car, him getting paralysed and her getting fridged in an unnecessarily sexual manner. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Tom Hardy then broods over being paraplegic and widowed, until Jared Leto-Lite offers to implant him with Legally-Not-The-Venom-Symbiote, later upgraded with Siri: Ultimate Fighting Championship Edition.
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