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Screamers starring Peter Weller

Things happen when you close your eyes and pick a random sci-fi off the shelf. Bad things.
Screamers starring Peter Weller

Some things are just plain bad for you. Crack for instance. Or how about eating broken glass? Or maybe covering yourself with honey and heatbutting a bee hive? This degrading shithole of a movie felt like all the above, with an overly fond cavity search thrown in for good measure.

I have a quick task for you - go to your local supermarket. No, not the good one with the Mercedes lined up outside - I'm talking about that shitty, grime-filled one with the burned out car out front. The one where the store owner used to have an Uzi to warn off the criminals, but recently upgraded to an anti-personnel missile launcher for fear of his life.

Every town has one. And within each of these places lies the trusty bargain bin - the place where the entertainment industry's lonely, humiliated commercial failures go to die.

This is your objective. Have a good ol' reach inside there.

Reach past the VHS copies of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, past that woolen Pee Wee Herman doll with the eyes missing, past the numerous copies of Vanilla Ice's Greatest Hits. Reach all the way to the bottom of this festering graveyard of forgotten monstrosities and you might just find yourself clutching a copy of this cinematic gem.
Run and hide...
Screamers Movie Review: Our leading man creates concern amongst his peers by only talking to others via a shoe.
Our leading man creates concern amongst his peers by only talking to others via a shoe.

I remember a time when things were going well for me. Life was good – the sun was shining, the birds were singing, a big ol’ smile tore its way across my pale Limey face, and all was well with the world.

It was like I’d gone to sleep and woken up in the middle of some delirious Disney-animated acid trip. Mine was a world of butterflies and unicorns and peace and love. And I hadn't even been drinking - that's how good things were.

So imagine my utter dread when Duane L. Martin, the head honcho of Rogue Cinema, gets on my case asking me to review a movie about robots for a special edition of his magazine. You see, people don’t like robots – they’re dumb, stupid, and look like crap. That’s why no-one in their right mind ever makes movies about them.

While more recent examples such as Terminator and I, Robot try to break the mould, finding a b-movie about robots that doesn’t bring bile to the back of your throat is like finding an ice diver who’s not keen on the cold... as unlikely as finding a clean urine sample in the Downey Jr. household.

And things were going so well...

So, presumably in some kind of alcohol-induced haze, I find myself with a copy of Screamers in my hand. This, for all ye fortunate, ignorant souls out there, is 1hr 45mins of cinematic tripe featuring Peter “I was in Robocop” Weller. Watching this cinematic abomination has forced me into believing in a twisted form of Karma. You see, for every hideous misfortune that God inflicts upon mankind, He showers us with a beautiful miracle or some other fluffy-sounding act of kindness to balance things out. (Unless you've been a naughty little child, that is. If that's the case then he's coming to ram a broken bottle up your ass.) It works out - for every Christopher Walken that's born... there's a Peter Weller.

The very fact that greats like Marlon Brando are dead while a walking cess-pit like Weller still walks the earth is perhaps proof that way too many of you grubby little readers are misbehaving. Shame on you.

You may think that statement a little harsh, but it isn't - consider the fact that in 60+ movies Weller has only made one that people actually liked - and that was Robocop. Unless you've been living in the rectal cavity of another animal for warmth these past few years, you'll be aware of Robocop - and it really, truly was Weller's finest hour. The world watched in awe as he shaved off his eyebrows, put on a tinfoil helmet and went around shooting the living shit out of hundreds and hundreds of bad guys, just for the hell of it. Truth, justice and the American Way prevailed. Those not up for 2 hours of cock-driven machismo bullshit and gore at least turned out in droves to watch Weller get blown all to shit in the opening scenes. And boy, what a feat that was. Just thinking about it now brings a feeling of fond nostalgia to my little black heart.

The problem is, ever since 1987's Robocop (and its nauseatingly awful sequel), Weller's career kinda went down hill. Hell, it took a nose dive faster than a 747 during multiple engine failure. Subsequent works such as Top Of The World and Screamers convinced the world of what an amazingly crappy actor Weller really is / was. Even playing a monosyllabic robot was a stretch for this guy. This is a man who makes Keanu Reeves look like Lawrence Olivier. This is a man with all the raw verve of a Russian Gulag on a particularly cold and frosty winter's day. A man with less charisma than John Kerry having a stroke. Weller brings a similar world-beating panache to this film. However much I hate to say it though, Peter Weller's dreadful performance shines out like diamonds in shit compared to the movie-based decimation that surrounds him. Having left my particular viewing of Screamers, I left a broken man.

Shit hits the fan...

But let’s not be negative – every movie has its good points, right?

Let’s see. While Weller isn’t exactly an acting phenomenon, (Robocop represented the very pinnacle of this man's acting prowess), I was pleasantly surprised by the range shown here. Captain Charisma delivers arguably his second best ever performance – an epic in which he delivers two - count them TWO emotions. For a man who made his name dressed in a tin suit, that’s some pretty impressive stuff. Watch in awe as he delivers both shouting and boredom in quick succession, only to follow it up with occasional bouts of dazed confusion. This truly is the cinematic art form at its very best! (Dry sarcasm - natures alternative to Vicodin...)

Another good point? Well, it was refreshing to see a sci-fi type movie that wasn’t flooded with cheesy product placement (presumably because nobody was crazy enough sponsor the damn thing.) And that’s about it; try as I may, that’s the only good I can find about this... this... thing.

Screamers - moles of the future or simply a cheesy special effect stolen from Tremors? You decide.
Screamers - moles of the future or simply a cheesy special effect stolen from Tremors? You decide.
Some of you readers may take me as being overly negative - you have never had to endure this movie. At least when I finally go postal and start shooting from clock towers, I'll have someone to blame it on.
Bring on the geeks...
Screamers Movie Review: 70's roller-disco still holds its novelty, even on Sirius 6B.
70's roller-disco still holds its novelty, even on Sirius 6B.

Being out-acted by Peter Weller is a feat usually resulting in suicide. (Fortunately, Weller-related kamikaze remains at a consistent low.) The fact that the supporting cast are still alive is mere testament to the fact that no-one in their right mind would ever turn up to watch such a shamelessly shit movie - let alone pay cash for doing so.

Looking back, I'm not sure if suicide would be the right move for this motley crew of deadbeats, however. I've since come to the conclusion that death is simply too good for some people. Yes, that's how bad these people were. They sucked like a two dollar hooker on nickel beer night (I always wanted to say that...)

Surrounding Robocop are a host of acting school drop-outs who shouldn’t be allowed out in public, let alone on the screens of a nation. The delivery here ranges from borderline average to the kind of poisonous biohazard that would normally carry a government health warning.

Want an example? That’s fine by me. Up first is Roy Dupuis, who has also featured in such cinematic classics as (and I quote) “How to make love to a negro without getting tired,” which was described as being “the biggest disappointment from Quebec in its recent film history.” You can look that one up on IMDB if you don’t believe me.

Roy gives the most enjoyable (if wholly unrealistic and hilariously over-acted) performance in the whole film, delivering a sort of rugged, borderline psychotic type who walks around like a burned-out Kurt Russell proving to the world what a badass he is. You can tell he’s a hardcase because he doesn’t shave.

I'm sure Ms. Dupuis is very proud.

Also up to bat is Jennifer Rubin, who brought us such cinematic legends as “Plump Fiction” – she provides the love interest for this movie, in a scene where Robocop and her don’t let a mere technicality like being surrounded by the dismembered corpses of their friends stop them from getting it on. Not that there was much choice mind you – she’s the only female in the movie to get any lines.

In most brainless action movies (a category in which this film miraculously falls) Rubin would be there to provide some rather dandy T&A to the film. She fails even to do that, looking about as fetching in that hi-tech jump suit as Corey from Slipknot. (Perhaps she should take inspiration from that and also wear a mask?) Being out-performed by the likes of Paris Hilton, it's no wonder that Rubin has never actually been in any real movies.

It's not that she's particularly bad looking mind, it's just that she's portrayed in such a way she more often resembles Marilyn Manson than the femme fatale of outer space. That, coupled with a performance more painful than licking bubbling magma, make you wish for some horrific accident to take place. The resulting crimson splashings would have made my day.

Space age bullshit...

The plot? Actually by far the movie’s strongest point – written by the near-legendary Phil Dick (best name ever) who penned sci-fi hits Total Recall and Blade Runner, this movie could have been a masterpiece of suspense, tension and memorable special effects had it fallen into the right hands. Instead it ends up here, being mocked on my crappy little website for your amusement.

The story involves two warring factions blowing each other up on a planet called Sirius 6B. (Everyone needs a hobby I guess.) Robocop’s side have created a dastardly and sinister race of evolving robots called Screamers to wipe out the enemy – special effects borrowed straight from Tremors ensue, along with a healthy selection of dismembered rubber body parts.

The Screamer’s evolution into an unleashed killing entity driven to the extermination of mankind leaves only our humbled cast surprised.

Screamers Movie Review: Death is just too good for some...
Wishful thinking?
It is also worth noting that despite the sea of unintentionally hilarious violence and sliced human bodies, there is not one drop of blood. (That’d require too much mopping up I guess, something the movie’s laughable budget evidently couldn’t stretch to.)

Those darned Screamers decide to evolve into humans, just for kicks, and play wounded soldiers, weeping children, etc. When a gullible human comes too near – SPLAT! This brings us to my favourite scene in the movie, involving a base full of these demented child-bots being blown up, shot, stabbed and set on fire by our band of noble warriors – who, despite decimating a whole orphanage of these crazed little buggers, seem about as concerned as I was about the P98 content of my Mac and Cheese. Did you know that Mac and Cheese contains Modified Maize Starch, which combined with refined Rapeseed Oil may not be suitable for those with specialised dietary requirements? No? Neither did I – but it’s amazing how interesting things like that get when you’re confronted with cinematic abortions like Screamers.
Winding down...

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where this movie goes wrong. Be it the laughable “acting”, the terrible made-for-TV style special effects (guns made out of cardboard tubes etc), the complete lack of tension or suspense, the lack of cohesion (one moment they’re in the desert, the next they’re on a snow-covered mountain), pacing, or character building, or maybe even the knowledge that it takes a truly demented and sadistic kind of human being to turn a good book into 1hr 45mins of celluloid punishment.

The only redeeming features are that most of the bottom-of-the-barrel actors who disgrace this movie die before the end. That, and the fact that this movie is unlikely to ever cost more than $5 to buy – so at least you won’t waste your money.

Don’t watch this movie – not even if you’ve been bad and want to punish yourself in some kind of sadistic kind of way. Myself and the other deluded souls who run this website stayed up until 3am watching this, the cinematic equivalent of genital herpes.

Yes, this is possibly the best Peter Weller movie other than Robocop. Big deal. Dolph Lundgren shits out better movies six times a year – and that’s saying something. I’d normally say that this is a DVD for the collections of die-hard Weller fans only, but I know deep down in the pit of my stomach that such a thing does not exist.

As for my own reaction to this film, I can only hope that the misery and punishment endured by both myself and my friends was some kind of twisted payment for heinous sins from past lives. Perhaps there are good robot b-movies out there. I sure hope so – because a genre flooded with this insufferable idiocy could only bring pain and misery to mankind. Watching Peter “Robocop” Weller mope about on screen for near two hours makes me almost beg for the comparative genius of Will Smith and those big, flappy ears of his. Even Schwarzenegger comes across as a seasoned pro in comparison. Is this crap-fest a one-off? I hope so – because I sure as hell don’t want to have to waste any more of my young life with this… this… heinous wank.
Screamers Movie Review: Home time at the Nike factory.
Home time at the Nike factory.
Screamers Movie Review: "Wanna play 'Pee pee under the microscope?'"
"Wanna play 'Pee pee under the microscope?'"
In conclusion...

Peter Weller reached his peak with Robocop. And that really, really is all you need to know about this film.

This movie contains the following chunks of wholesome goodness...

Here's some content symbols for you to feast and ravish upon. For an insight into our ratings system etc click here.

Bad acting. Embarassing looking sci fi.

Fashion suicide.

The score...

6 bottles of Jack required to forget this film.
Infinitely more to forgive.

This review was originally posted as part of a roundtable event for Rogue Cinema magazine. View the original here.

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Click here to go back to the home page Click here to see our foolish and drunken attempts at humour Click here to read our humiliation of the worst cinematic abortions the movie industry has to offer Click here to see some of the most bizarre news the web's ever puked out Click here to see the barrage of other crap we have lying around