Death Machine title

Tag Line : Mans deadliest invention is about to show its metal.

Death Machine Set in the not-too-distant future, the film revolves around the exploits of the Chaank weapons corporation. A high tech arms development company who have been churning out some questionable weapons of late.

The vice president, Hayden Cale (Ely Pouget), is not pleased with the antics of their chief weapons designer Jack Dante (Brad Douriff) who's a bit of a manic character and thinks he's a "lore unto himself". She requests that he is fired, but the company director, Scott Ridley (Richard Brake) refuses, as he's plain scared of him and not without good reason.

Dante has been working on his latest invention, which he calls "The ultimate frontline morale destroyer" and it is thought it might have had something to do with the mysterious death of the previous Company director.

After Hayden discovers what Dante has been up to, her and the security chief, John Carpenter (William Hootkins), seal the metallic monster in the company vault. Only to have things ballsed up by a group of humanitarian eco-warriors, who break into the vault hoping to blow up the company's funds, but inadvertently end up releasing Dante's "Death Machine" again.

Finding themselves trapped in the building with this killer robot, they head over to the main weapons laboratory, load up with some super high-tech machine guns and try to break out. Of course, all hell breaks loose as the death machine comes after them and they try to fight it off.

Bullets and explosives fly during the ensuing battles, which are quite spectacular. One of the eco-warriors dons a "Hardman" cyborg suit where he then proceeds to blast the machine with rockets, then fights it hand-to-hand during one of the films more memorable fight sequences.

Written and directed by Stephen Norrington, who went on to direct the vampire film "Blade", this is a really enjoyable Sci-Fi/Horror shocker. The film may not be very well known here in the UK, as it was released direct-to-video over here, indeed the first time I saw this film was when it appeared on Sky Movies, but I would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Horror veteran Brad Douriff is most memorable in his role as mad scientist Jack Dante, although the film is a little reminiscent of "Hardware" (which also starred William Hootkins), with shades of Universal Soldier and Terminator thrown in for good measure, but don't be put off, this is great stuff.

Overall Marks : 7/10

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines..."It feeds on your fear", "Fear Is Death", "Suit Up And Fight Back", "The Future Has Teeth".

  • Brad Douriff, who is probably best known for his role as the voice of "Chucky" from the Childs Play movies, finds himself typecast again as a typical mad doctor/scientist. He has also starred in Alien 4 : Resurrection in a similar role, as well as having starred in such horror films as Exorcist 3, Grim Prarie Tales, Spontaneous Combustion and Graveyard Shift to name but a few. He also played a psychopathic crewman in the Star Trek : Voyager TV series.

  • Ely Pouget also starred in Lawnmower Man 2 : Beyond Cyberspace and poor old William Hootkins had previously been pitched up against another killer droid in the film Hardware, only to end up getting bumped off all over again in this movie in much the same fashion!

  • Director Stephen Norrington is probably best known for his Vampire film "Blade" which starred Wesley Snipes. He also provided the creature effects for Alien 3.

  • An interesting gag used throughout the movie was the naming of characters after famous horror and sci-fi directors, such as John Carpenter, Sam Riami and Scott Ridley (Ridley Scott). Another interesting name factoid, 2 of the eco-warriors were called Weyland and Yutani. These names were taken from the fictional "Weyland Yutani" corporation that featured in the sci-fi pic Aliens.

  • There are 3 different versions of the film in existence. The director's cut, which has only been available on Japanese Laserdisc, is the longest version and contains extended and additional scenes of dialogue and is the only version presented in its original 2.35:1 cinemascope ratio, but director Steven Norrington apparently hates his own version! The US cut is the shortest version, presented in cropped full frame ratio and is substantially different, excising the whole subplot about why Hayden Cale is so concerned about Chaank being branded child killers and trimming the gore. The UK cut (reviewed here) is reportedly the best version and is the cut that the director approves of. Which uses the shorter scenes from the US version, but retains the gore and subplot that was otherwise missing.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

 

US video box. Pictured left, the US video box.
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Buy the UK DVD (UK version).

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Buy the US DVD (cut US version).

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