Short Circuit (1986)

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Short Circuit (1986)

Post  BoG on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:06 pm

Number 5, one of a group of experimental military robots, undergoes a sudden transformation after being struck by lightning. He develops (more...)
66% liked it

PG, 1 hr. 38 min.

Director: John Badham

Released: May 9, 1986

DVD: Sep 19, 2000

This was Badham's follow-up to War Games (1983), meaning the same preachy warnings about the military industrial complex, but with a more out there, goofy tone. The plot concerns a silly looking robot which was created as the latest war toy. This machine, which moves about on wheel threads, gets zapped by lightning which miraculously makes it self aware - it, named simply Number 5, spells this out by proclaiming itself to be "alive" to the quirky animal lover (Ally Sheedy) that it ends up hiding with. Also quirky are the machine's inventors (Steve Guttenberg & Fisher Stevens), who are astounded when they finally find Number 5 in its new intelligence mode. But, the military guys aren't far behind.

This was a bit too cutesy for my taste, a blend of old-fashioned Disney-style family entertainment and anti-war propaganda. Fisher's character says all his lines with a severe east-Indian accent, something which, besides being annoying, would probably be considered a racist mockery nowadays, though he does have a couple of amusing bits. Guttenberg plays the same character he played in all his eighties roles. Sheedy is usually charming. There's also an ex-boyfriend character (played by Brian McNamara) who would be regarded as a predator these days; here it's just for laughs. The robot - OK, it also has a few amusing bits, but this is mostly for pre-teens.  BoG's Score: 6 out of 10

Short Trivia: there was a sequel a couple of years later; of the cast, only Fisher Stevens returned.
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