Automatic (1995) (film review).

Anything with John Glover in is always worth a luck. As Goddard Marx, his company that produces androids for home use and protection is making money but also losing it with research on a new Automatic and his bank is offering to foreclose on the eve of the new announcement. None of which with rival companies selling cheaper robots. Quite why the name of the film is ‘Automatic’ is hard to say. It’s not as though ‘android’ or ‘robot’ is copyrighted, although there have been films named that in the past.

Later, Nora Rochester (actress Daphne Ashbrook) is nearly raped by top executive Seth Barker (actor Stanley Karmel), J269 (actor Oliver Gruner) intervenes. The result is J269 kills Barker to save her and alerts Marx and refuses to leave until the police arrive. Marx doesn’t want his presentation the next morning interfered with and order Rochester and J269 to be killed, much to the concern of his security officer, Buck James (actor Troy Evans). He orders in Major West (actor Jeff Kober) and his team to do it and place the murder on someone else and locks the building down.

When they are attacked, J269 stops the mercenary force and takes a reluctant Rochester with him. Rochester doesn’t believe she is also to be killed until she finds out otherwise and J269 rescues her again. After two skirmishes, J269 is damaged and his self-repair takes time to kick in. It’s a bit of a grey area what kind of android J269 is as it appears a combination of technology and organics.

West has another team bought in, led by Epsilon leader (actress Marjean Holden). The press outside, specifically Gloria Takamatsu (actress Annabelle Gurwitch) want to know what is going on and Marx tries to redirect things. He can’t stop the bank manager,

I came across reference to this film in the 1990s ‘Femme Fatales’ magazine and interested enough to see if I could locate a copy. Although regarded as a ‘B’ movie and probably did more sales as a video than in the cinema, it does tend to hold up rather well if you like violent movies. I’ve only briefed the synopsis as there is a lot going on. Gruner is a martial artist so does much of his own stunts.

You can see similarities to other robot stories and the opening credits give some similarities to the latter ‘Westworld’ TV series. Oddly, it holds up reasonably well.

GF Willmetts

May 2021

pub: Delta, 2002. I DVD 88 minute film. Price: I pulled a copy for £ 2.00 (UK). ASIN: DELTA 82516.

cast: Oliver Gruner, Daphne Ashbrook, John Glover, Troy Evans, Jeff Kober, Marjean Holden and Annabelle Gurwitch

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