Friday, September 21, 2012

The future still kind of sucks...

CLASS OF 1999 (1989)
Full Frame (Park of the Lions Gate Horror 8 movie Multi-pack)

Quite of a few years after the success of CLASS OF 1984 director Mark Lester went back to high school to make this much more science-fiction tinged psuedo sequel. Taking a lot of ques from the then recent hits ROBOCOP and THE TERMINATOR, lester ramps up the action and special effects to create a goofy, but very satisfying afternoon time waster. 

The film opens in the title year (that seemed far off in 1989); youth gangs have run rampant in society. With violence so bad that whole pieces of the cities have been related to "no-reply zones" by the cops, leaving the gangs to rule as they see fit. But one high school is trying to not take it lying down and team up with government corporation to use "experimental" teachers (John Vernon, Patrick Kilpatric, and Pam Grier). Actually combat mode androids that are more bloodthirsty than the kids they are fighting. Our hero Cody, played by Bradley Gregg is a kid just getter of of jail and trying to go back to school. But his friends in the gang all consider him a sell out, the rival gang want to kill him, his little brother is joining the gang and best friend is a junked up dope addict looking for a bad way out. He has also fallen for the pretty daughter (Traci Lind who later dropped the "D" from her name to be just Traci Lin) of the principal (Maclom Macdowell). But all of that will become back burner material when he runs afoul of the Teaching Droids who have started their own very violent programming.

The movie is primarily an action flick with several well mounted shootouts, fist fights, car crash and the F/X heavy finale where the androids dispose of their limbs to have heavy artillery hiding within. The finale has these heavily armed robots fighting the teenage gangs on motorcycles in the hall of the school.  Their is some impressive explosions, motorcycle stunts and some really splashy gore including one teen who is literally torn in half.

When I saw this in the theater in the fall of 1989 I had a lot of fun with it, enjoying the stunts and grue. Watching it now, over twenty years later it is amusing how dated the film feels due to the costumes, language and special effects. It was still kind of low rent back then, but pretty impressive for the really tight budget. Now it is hard to look past Bradley Greg's Half jacket that no self respecting gay club kid would wear. Or Stacey Keach (who plays the man behind the cyborgs) and his white rat-tail buzz cut. The movie becomes a bit more campy than I am sure was intended. Though a lot of it is INTENTIONALLY campy. 

This was out as a stand alone DVD, but I never got to see that. This review is taken from the Lions Gate 8 film horror pack that also included GHOULIES GO TO COLLEGE, CHUD 2, 976-EVIL 2, WAXWORK, THE UNHOLY and SLAUGHTER HIGH.

Review © Andrew Copp

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