Do you really think you have a choice? In Automatic six people examine that very question. Three reckless men. Three troubled women. Three unlikely couples. Each coasting through life on their pre-determined paths. Each fulfilling destinies bound only to them. Each tied to one another with varying degrees of success. As their lives unravel, they do what any good American would do...pull themselves up by the bootstraps and begin again. Except...it's worse than where they started.
Top customer reviews
An automatic is a personal defense unit, part human part machine, which is manufactured to protect its owner and uphold the law. They all talk, look and act the same (like Olivier Gruner). By the way, this is probably Olivier's best film. This role suits him perfectly.
The problem: the company that manufactures automatics is about to have a billion dollar loan recalled unless it comes up with something new. A day before a major press conference, a company supervisor attempts to rape Nora (an employee). In his attempt to protect her, an "Automatic" accidentally kills the supervisor.
To avoid a scandal, the company head hires a hit squad to kill the offending Automatic and Nora. Of course, this Automatic is anything but helpless. Here the action starts and never lets up.
To my suprise, something of a romance develops between Nora and this Automatic who, like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz, is in search of his heart. To my even greater surprise, the romance part of this story actually works.
With action, romance, great villains and a surprise plot twist, Automatic has become one of my personal favorite films, along with Terminator and Robocop. Enjoy.
Anyway, I highly recommend it!
The story: after a prototype Automatic (Gruner) - a cyborg engineered for home defense - accidentally murders the company owner while protecting a woman (Daphne Ashbrook, Doctor Who: The Movie), the two of them are locked in the company headquarters while two teams of mercenaries are sent in to eliminate them.
If you've seen any other low-budget sci-fi action movies from the 80s or mid-90s, chances are you already have an idea of what this one looks like. This is one of the films where a basic industrial design is shorthand to signify high tech and futuristic. The colorless, shadowy set design occasionally make this one depressing to look at, though some redemption arrives in the form of interesting special effects and prosthetics. However, the dramatic content is way livelier than anything the production design has to offer: the cast is loaded with supporting stars just hamming it up, including John Glover (Smallville) as the megalomanic engineer, Jeff Kober (China Beach) as the evil merc leader, Troy Evans (ER) as the blue collar security chief, and the late Stanley Kamel (Monk) as the doomed CEO. Nobody will win any awards for this flick, but they'll all keep you from getting too bored.
The movie's take on cyborgs is kind of unique and definitely silly: a more modern counterpart might be the Unisols of the most recent Universal Soldier flick, with cyborg Olivier being just about as frail as regular humans but able to heal himself in short order, and with the inconvenient ability to develop emotions out of the blue (the film treats these as a virus that is able to "infect" other cyborgs). As strange of a character as this makes for, Gruner's fight scenes are more solid. There ought to definitely be more of them, but the handful of scenes wherein he beats down multiple attackers using a combination of karate and aikido are roundly worth waiting for. Disappointingly, he has no good individual opponents to go one-on-one with: Marjean Holden (Ballistic) appears as a mercenary but doesn't get into any real fights and Jeff Kober isn't really compelling as a hand-to-hand fighter.
There are some cool/absurd bits, like when Olivier blows up a combat helicopter with a single bullet and then defies physics by turning a freefall down an elevator chute into a spider climb. Some more of these instances would have made for a more compelling movie, but as is, they're just high points in a film that could have been more exciting. Luckily, it's a fairly short flick at under 90 minutes of runtime, so even the snootiest viewers should be able to sit through it. Know yourself before you buy this one.