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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R.O.T.O.R. (1987)


I remember this film from back when I was a nerdy kid, desperate to rent any sci-fi and horror movie I had never heard of and that the local store only had one copy of in. The cover of the box was amazing, simply staggeringly bold and enticing. It promised adventure, horror and shock, beyond belief. It was intimidatingly cool, so I never got around to renting it and stuck with safer options like Brain Dead and Fortress. Turns out that my adolescent brain may have made the right decisions though, as this is an absolute rust bucket of a film.
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The Last Days of American Crime (2020)


There’s been a lot of hype going around Netflix’s latest action-adventure, The Last Days of American Crime; mostly that it’s a terrible movie and that Netflix should be ashamed of themselves for making it. But, having sat through its 148 minutes run time (138, if you discount the solid 10 minutes of credits), I believe that it’s not that bad a movie. It’s just a bit too long, a bit undercooked, and nihilistic in an unfashionable manner.
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Chopping Mall (1986)

I first heard of this film when I was 10, reading a preview in Sky Magazine. The basic premise had everything my young mind needed: the promise of robots, onscreen dismemberment and a snappy title. They were simpler times then, and Terminator was the apex of cool, so I thought watching it would have just been the greatest thing ever. Needless to say, I didn’t, because my parents weren’t mental and neither were those anyone I knew, so this sci-fi horror went into the “must watch, eventually” pile at the back of my mind. Snap forwards to a few weeks ago and, in one of its few moments of usefulness, Amazon Prime suggests I might want to watch it. “Yes”, says I, “Yes I do!”. But for all my anticipation and childlike excitement, the older and (possibly) wiser me was worried it would turn out to be trash. And I was right, but it was still a really good laugh.
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