Starring: Caity Lotz, Toby Stephens, Denis Lawson, Sam Hazeldine, Pooneh Hajimohammadi
Directed By: Caradog W. James
Written By: Caradog W. James
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 30 min
The Machine is ninety minutes long, and the first five minutes of this film are superb. A soldier with a gruesome head injury, sits unresponsive until a tap on a futuristic tablet turns on an implant in his brain, and like Pinocchio, a spell is cast and the young man wakes up. An eerie glow emanating from his eyes. It’s a great scene, and had me on the edge of my seat truly excited to see what this fascinating movie had to offer.
I was however, very quickly disappointed.
What followed was truly a mess, both in story structure and character development. Tell me, why would anyone put an untested artificial intelligence inside a machine designed for combat? I mean seriously, if it were me, the thing would start its life living inside something I created with Technic-Lego! Where the worst thing it could do is drop a piece of itself on the floor and wait for me to step on it. But no, these ‘scientists’ place a child-like brain, barely cognizant of right and wrong inside a bullet proof android, and then treat it like crap!
What starts out as a fascinating take on the possibilities of human computer cooperation, and the definition of life, quickly degenerates into a stupid bloody one-sided battle. Which in all honesty could have worked as a slickly filmed action movie if any of the character motivations logically lead the story in that direction. But they don’t, and there’s a frustrating disconnection here between what each character wants, and the decisions they make to achieve those goals.
This movie cost around one million dollars, so I was surprised how good it looked. The visual effects are very decent, and the action is well filmed and edited. The movie earns its R rating due to some moments of violence and bad language. If you’re looking for futuristic android battles, you’ll have a long wait before the action truly gets going. Those looking for serious science fiction could probably just watch the first five minutes and leave it at that.
Despite its low-budget, the money seems to have been used wisely, and this film is nicely photographed. A HD viewing at home is probably the best way to watch this film.
The absolutely worst element in The Machine is the woefully underwritten villain. The military base commander, Thomson (Denis Lawson), the quintessential two-dimensional bad guy.