Crash and Burn review by Matt Fuerst


2030. Post apocalyptic future (of course, what sci fi movie has a positive picture of the future?) Tyson Keen works for Unicom, the company that took over the role of government and supplier of all human needs after the apocalyptic event occured. (They hint around about what the event is but in the end it doesn't really matter sadly). Tyson (Paul Ganus) has been ordered to deliver a set of 4 litres of freon to a remote desert television station, which is not coincidentially owned by Unicom but run by Lathan Hooks (Ralph Waite) who has a bit of rebellious streak in him. Just as Tyson has completed his task, a thermal squall flares up (it's never that easy is it?) and Tyson is forced to wait out the squall in the confines of station, which happens to be housed in an abandoned power station. Well, it must be said that the attention of pretty 16 year old (Umm, isn't that illegal?) Arren (Megan Ward). This gives Tyson the opportunity to meet with the other players in the Crash and Burn game, Quinn, Winston Wickett, Parice, and human whores Sandra and Christie (replacing synthetic whores who proved to be disease ridden and causing some troubles for their human customers). Most of these characters are pretty disposable as we get into the main storyline. During the first evening of bunking down, Lathan is mysteriously killed. Tyson takes it upon himself to solve the murder mystery before anything else occurs. Some other various storylines pop their way up, Arren learns, through the Commodore 128 (I believe) that Lathan hooked up to descramble Unicom's secret messages that Unicom has placed a synthoid robot into the television station becuase they correctly feared that Lathan was a member of the underground revolutionary movement. Just for a brief moment the movie has a brief glimpse of something interesting when they discuss Unicom's rise to power.

Unicom was the largest global corporation at a time when people were relying more and more on computers to take care of their tedious issues. Everyone had their computers programmed to handle their money, investments, and the computers all managed to fail at the same time (via a virus possibly) and sold everyone's financial holdings. All markets crashed and Unicom managed to rise to power through the termoil and became the sole supplier or nearly everything for the people. Unicom based many of their principles on the bible and therefore outlawed synthoids (yes, in spite of the fact that they are using synthoids to spy on the underground movement) and banned all consumer use of computers. ALl this sounds fairly interesting, but don't get your hopes up, I think I did a good job making it sound better than it really comes off.

It seems like the movie was actually created for two reasons: The producers had the availability of a huge warehouse type space that is the power station/television station the movie is set in, and had the ability of David Allen to create pretty neat miniatures of supposedly huge robots. While the first one has already been easily explained, you may be scratching your head how hundred foot robots work into the mix, and in general they really don't. The writers manage to stretch and pull the storyline until they can work the robot into the story and when they do it's pretty well done. For two scenes there is some really poor blue screening going on (whenever they overlay the actors in the same shot with the robots) but the robot effects themselves are superb I would say. Superb in a B-movie sort of way. This isn't Jurassic Park.

The production values are pretty decent. Location doesn't vary much from the inside of the power station but things are kept lively enough. There are a few chuckles contained within but overall the story is just so weak, the sci-fi element pretty much discarded and the 16 year old girlfriend storyline is pretty creepy. What the hell is up with that?

This movie is a Full Moon production. If you've been in a video store in the early 90's you probably have seen some Full Moon releases sitting there. Basically they were designed to pump out a new video release as often as possible, sometimes a few a month. The Puppet Master series has probably been the most popular but there is some quality in other releases, like the aforementions Trancers and Subspecies series. People with the last name of Band are all intertwined with the productions. Well, the full history of Full Moon is beyond the scope of this review of Crash and Burn but is an interesting one none-the-less. Regardless, my point is that they produced much better films than this, so if you get the itch for some B-Movie madness one weekend day, you probably are going to do well topass this one up an pick up a copy of Trancers featuring a very young Helen Hunt... {purr}.

The DVD is definetly a pretty old release, but don't expect a special collectors edition. Included are a blooper reel (defintely worth watching), a Making of Featurette, a couple of advertisements for other Full Moon products (Full Moon was the master of the cross advertisement concept). It looks like the DVD was mastered off a film print I think, since it seems like at the end of nearly every reel the screen goes dark and there is a noticable pause. The first time I dismissed this as the pause that occurs when going from the first layer to the second, but it occurs early and often. Very odd. I must come clean now, I got this movie at the local Borders in a closeout. It was marked $9.99 and had 75% off. $2.49 out the door. Whatta deal. I love America.

3 out of 10 Jackasses
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