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SHOCKWAVE - 1 Slime
Rated R
Copyright 2006 CineTelFilms
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 18 January 2008

The Characters:  

  • Jack - Ex-military helicopter pilot who displays a lot of moral fiber. That means that he is nigh invulnerable. If the Pentagon put together a platoon of people like Jack, America would be unstoppable, because the only thing that kills heroic ex-military helicopter pilots is old age (and even that might not work).
  • Susan - She occasionally helps out by providing information about the robots.
  • Maj. Tunney - Leader of a Special Forces team (Delta Force, I guess) sent to deactivate and recover the robots.
  • Cage, Kirby, Saunders, and Ricks - Members of the Special Forces team. There is no redundancy in the abilities or equipment of the members, so losing any one of them immediately jeopardizes the mission. They all die.
  • Admiral Harrison & General Buskirk - Tim Thomerson & Michael Dorn! I bet the latter was happy to land a role which called for him to act the part of a strong military character, but without requiring him to wear lots of latex on his face.
  • Dr. Foster - He created the robots and they repaid him by stuffing glow necklaces into his head.
  • Any character introduced in the first 18 minutes - I wouldn't get too attached to them. Get my drift?
  • Rork, Tiffany, & Shane - A trio of robbers. The dangerous one is Rork; probably on account of his frustration with being suitably attired for a 70's cop drama and instead finding himself in a bad 2006 science fiction/action film. Three more additions to the dead pile.
  • The Killer Robots - A pair of highly advanced military widgets. They have four prehensile legs, a flattened teardrop body about ten feet long, and two retractable arms. Their weapon systems include: disintegration ray, microwave beam, people harpoon, symmetrical claws (for removing human heads and other fine detail work), twin-linked machineguns, and boomerang circular saw blades.

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The Plot: 

I tried to enjoy this film. I really tried. I even attempted to forcibly engage my suspension of disbelief, which nearly killed me when the film makers pulled a number of really bonehead stunts with the military aspects. Look, a semi-automatic pistol does require you to change clips after fifteen shots (let along fifty), and the hammer will move every time it is fired. That is how an M9 works! While I am at it, why would an F-14 be picked for the role of delivering a nuclear bomb when an F-18 is available? Not to ignore the fact that the bomb is missing when we see the aircraft, then conspicuously present for the CGI bombing run. There are plenty more problems like the two I just described, and I will be mentioning them.

The film begins as two scientists (white lab coats) and two Army officers flee from an out-of-control attack robot. The mechanical menace is equipped with more weapons than a veteran "Doom II" player, while the humans have two pistols and a couple of grenades. Even fleeing from the robot in a handy F150 pickup truck proves futile. The little group is killed off one by one and the robot deactivates itself after the female scientist is turned into a screaming swarm of scattered atoms.

Speaking of "Doom II," did anyone else ever envision their character as he should have looked? I mean, I was carrying brass knuckles, a pistol, a shotgun, a double-barreled shotgun, a chaingun, a rocket launcher, a plasma rifle, the BFG 9000, and a chainsaw. Not to mention two layers of armor and more ammo than you could stuff into a 7-ton truck. I must have looked like a pile of munitions that ran around and grunted.

Anyway...

Following that little developmental hiccup, the two robots are packed up and sent to Sydney via a chartered 747; the entire design team accompanies their creations. There is a teeny tiny problem encountered en route to Australia: a massive tropical storm. The 747 encounters heavy turbulence that causes one of the shipping containers to break free. Of course, that means that the robot wakes up and goes on a rampage.

Oh, sure. I have to remove the battery from my laptop due to safety concerns, but an entire team of scientists with Doctorates in "Whatever" forgets to do the same to their certified killer robots. We'll not even get into the reason that the deadly contraptions were being flown to Australia in the first place.

American Ambassador: "We have some dangerous military robots that require final testing. Can we bring them down to your country, just in case they go berserk again?"
Australian Prime Minister: "Sure thing, mate!"
(Meanwhile, half of the Australian scientific community is in the background, waving their hands, jumping up and down, and screaming, "Remember the bunnies!")

After losing contact with the 747, General Buskirk immediately orders a recovery mission. Fortunately, Dr. Foster activated a tiny GPS beacon that was built into his watch and that pinpoints the crash on a remote island. Dr. Foster's daughter, Susan, is sent directly to the nearest aircraft carrier and mated up with a crack Special Forces team led by Major Tunney. The soldiers will be inserted onto the island and tasked with deactivating the robots. The only man-portable weapon powerful enough to cut through the machines' experimental armor is a laser cannon. Kirby signs for one (1) cannon and the team is ready to go.

Elsewhere in the Pacific Basin, Rork and his two friends (I have a feeling that Tiffany might be more than a "friend") rob the cash vault aboard a cruise ship. Rork kills a crewmember during the robbery to establish himself as a right vicious bastard. The trio of criminals flees through the tropical storm to a clearing where Jack waits in the getaway 'copter. The hero (that would be Jack) is not a member of the gang; he was just hired as the pilot and apparently needs the money. The tropical storm makes flying nothing short of suicide, but Jack takes off and plunges into the storm. The helicopter is eventually forced to make an emergency landing on an uncharted island.

You know, for an island in the South Pacific, the vegetation around the chopper looks rather temperate.

Okay, so Jack, Rork, Tiffany, and Shane are now safe on the ground on an uncharted island. Guess what else has crashed on the island lately. Go on, guess. If you said, "Killer robots that zap Shane and then steal the helicopter." you get a cookie. Seriously, go get a cookie. Now, eat it. Good.

Something that becomes quite ludicrous is the location of Jack's chopper. I have this strange feeling that it has yet to leave the same field where we first saw it. Even after the robots carried it away, I swear that they just moved it to a different corner of the same field.

Deprived of their helicopter, Jack and the others start walking. Their main concern is avoiding the crazy killbots, but another short-term goal is finding a way off of the island. They see the Delta Force helicopter fly overhead and immediately head the same direction. Major Tunney and his team spend their afternoon wandering through the jungle in a blind search for the robots. Never you mind that we now have Delta Force operators on a Navy aircraft carrier, transported to their insertion point on a CH-46 (which one later refers to as a UH-1 Huey), carrying standard-issue M16s, and walking so close together that a single grenade is likely to kill the entire team.

Oh, and pay attention to the M16s. Sometimes they have rear sights, sometimes the top of the carrying handle is nothing more than a featureless piece of metal.

Did you read the last two paragraphs? Just typing them caused me to develop a nervous tic, again.

The robbers, masquerading as a film crew, join up with the Delta Force guys and encounter the robots. The first battle results in the deaths of Kirby, Saunders, and Ricks, along with the loss of the laser cannon and radio. Susan then brainstorms about an alternate way to destroy the deadly drones. What she offers is that the robots have a small solar cell. A lucky shot with an M16 might penetrate the two-inch-wide solar cell and cause the robot to explode. The vulnerable patch is near the top front of the body. In other words, exactly the optimum placement to shoot at if the robot is trying to kill you. Except for their Achilles Forehead, the machines are completely impervious to small arms fire. Why in the heck did they put the solar cell right where it is easy to hit? Heck, why have a solar cell anyway? It is not as if robot is going to run off of sunshine.

I feel all of the blood in my body rushing to my brain. They are going to find me, head popped real "Scanners" style, sitting in front of my computer with this review half finished.

Never ones to give up, even after Rork's moustache and sideburns fail to protect him from a patrolling robot, the Delta Force men locate Jack's helicopter and observe the artificial hunter/killers at work. The robots repaired the aircraft, turned Dr. Foster into a cyborg pilot, are engaging in kinky "energy information exchanges," and are preparing to leave the island! That is not to be allowed. Cage shoots Foster-borg, while Jack manages to get a lucky hit and destroys one of the robots. The second half of the battle does not go so well. A disintegration ray turns Cage into a mass of glowing mist that dissipates. Tunney, Jack, and Susan (Tiffany is also vaporized during this encounter) barely manage to escape after the major shoots the remaining metal menace in the grill with his flare gun. The humans camp out in a cave and take stock of their situation. One robot is still out there, the chances of getting a lucky shot again are close to nil, and the island is scheduled for nuclear sterilization at dawn. Not good.

If only they had another flare gun! In fact, if only they had a flare gun cannon!

Lacking such a powerful weapon, the trio needs a different plan. (Seriously, when have you not seen a flare gun work when used against robots, aliens, or any other sort of deadly menace?) Needless to say, Jack's crazy plan works, proving once again that a tower made from rotting wood is a better lightning rod than a fifteen-foot-tall, all-metal, robot. At least the ending meant that we finally watched Jack's helicopter actually leave the field where it had been languishing for the entire film.

To recap: do not attempt to manually engage your suspension of disbelief while watching this movie. The CGI for the hunter-killer machines is good enough, but the glaring mistakes obvious throughout the film will hurt you. I nearly had a stroke.

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Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Standard issue Army service pistols are equipped with a hammer for aesthetic purposes only, have no recoil, and never require reloading.
  • The real problem with secret desert research facilities is how far out you have to park.
  • The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy does not cover the "Are you a gay 'Star Trek' actor?" "No, but I play one on TV." issue.
  • Never store your killer robot deactivation gadget in the overhead bin.
  • Cruise ship cash offices are less secure than public restrooms, but completely soundproof (unlike public restrooms).
  • Catastrophic airline crashes are a leading cause of acute gingivitis.
  • The best way to determine if a boulder is real or fake is to throw a dead body at it.
  • If APC ever becomes a major defense supplier, mankind is doomed.
  • There are two situations when a shotgun with dove load works better than an M16. Hunting doves is one of them. Trying to hit the 2" photovoltaic cell on a killer robot is the other.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Hey, how about "No disassemble?" No disassemble, dammit!
  • 5 mins - One road out of there and it turns out to be a dead end. Some days you feel like you should have stayed in bed.
  • 14 mins - I see the problem: they are using light duty magnetic tethers and the container is on rollers. That loadmaster should be court martialed.
  • 26 mins - As the helicopter lands in the same clearing that it just took off from.
  • 36 mins - Shane was 15 meters away and standing still. These things are terrible shots!
  • 46 mins - Why did you teach them to fly a 747?
  • 50 mins - The chunks of exploding meat must have been a steak that Kirby had up his sleeve, because his body looks intact.
  • 57 mins - Since when did they use a Saffir-Simpson Scale for tropical storms?
  • 59 mins - So, it would not be incorrect to refer to Tunney as "Major Dick..."
  • 76 mins - Why are you not using the large rear sight aperture? I mean, when you actually have a rear sight. Did it just disappear?
  • 82 mins - Who forgot to turn the lights off in that shack 50 years ago? My taxes are paying that electric bill and I am not happy!

Quotes: 

  • Jack: "This wind's blowing us off course."
    Shane: "Look, there's an island down there!"
    Jack: "Must be uncharted."
    Tiffany: "Can you land?"
    Jack: "No, but I can crash real good. I guarantee it."
  • Maj. Tunney: "They don't hear back from us that the robot's been neutralized, they're going to assume the worst."
    Tiffany: "And exactly what is the worst?"
    Maj. Tunney: "If my superiors don't hear back from me by 0700 hours tomorrow morning, they're going to nuke this whole little garden spot into eternity."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note shockwave1.wav Officer: "Can't you just shut it down?"
Scientist: "It's overriding the command. Somehow it's issuing itself a new one."
Officer: "What the hell does that mean?"
Scientist: "It thinks it's on a real search and destroy mission. It won't stop 'til it finds us."
Officer: "You mean it won't stop 'til it kills us."
Green Music Note shockwave2.wav Susan: "My father was on his way down to Australia to give these machines their obedience programming when his plane went down last night."
Maj Tunney: "So, does that mean we have a couple of crazy machines wandering around this island, looking to kill people?"
Susan: "Not crazy - very, very smart and capable of learning from their experience. And, being that they're equipped with lasers, infrared cameras, and a rolling arsenal of weapons, they are, of course, incredibly dangerous."
Green Music Note shockwave3.wav Rork: "Well, there goes our ride."
Tiffany: "Our ride? Christ's sake, Rork, is that all you can think about? Shane just got ripped apart and we're probably next!"
Green Music Note shockwave4.wav Susan: "I know it's a long shot. There's a small photosynthetic pad on the upper surface that converts ultraviolet rays into energy. It's about two inches in diameter, covered by a small red grating. Now, if someone could get close enough to get a shot into that pad, it would paralyze the motor sensory system and blow the core."
Jack: "Where exactly is this thing?"
Susan: "Just above the visual ports."
Jack: "So, what you're saying is 'right between the eyes.'"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipshockwave1.mpg - 3.5m
Meet the last two members of the desert research facility staff, an army officer and female scientist (white lab coat = scientist). Notice that I do not refer to them as "survivors."

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #1. Posted on January 19, 2008, 12:46:28 AM by Jay the Magnificent
the only reason i ever watched this was that my car was broke down and it was raining.. BounceGiggle

boredom leads to pain
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #2. Posted on January 19, 2008, 10:33:43 AM by Keiper
A lot of this movie's script, from what I recall, was really really similar to "Curse of the Komodo". I guess they couldn't afford a writer so they just ripped off another movie (although they probably owned the rights to it).
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #3. Posted on January 19, 2008, 10:36:58 AM by Dr. Whom
Now, the bunnies were probably the reason they sent them to Australia in the first place. Probably the Pentagon said something like: we are looking for a place to test a new weapon system, it's called Bunny Killer 3000.
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #4. Posted on January 19, 2008, 11:56:59 AM by CheezeFlixz
Hey you missed the paved path on the deserted tropical island. While they were walking through the jungle, in a couple of shots you can see they were on a blacktop walkway, as this was filmed in the national park in Hawaii. 
Also the huge boulders tended to rock a bit when grabbed on to, clearly these massive stones must have weighed about 20 pounds.

There was a ton of other errors but I haven't watched it in a while, it wasn't THAT bad, it wasn't THAT good either.
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #5. Posted on January 19, 2008, 04:01:35 PM by Andrew
Lots of the SciFi original movies seem to follow a basic formula.  I'm royally sick and tired of the helicopter pilot who saves the day.

Now, the bunnies were probably the reason they sent them to Australia in the first place. Probably the Pentagon said something like: we are looking for a place to test a new weapon system, it's called Bunny Killer 3000.


Bunny control would explain the multitude of weapons on the robots, especially stuff like the harpoon and circular saw blade shooters.  They're just too darn big for hunting rabbits, unless we're talking Night of the Lepus bunnies.

Hey you missed the paved path on the deserted tropical island. While they were walking through the jungle, in a couple of shots you can see they were on a blacktop walkway, as this was filmed in the national park in Hawaii. 
Also the huge boulders tended to rock a bit when grabbed on to, clearly these massive stones must have weighed about 20 pounds.

There was a ton of other errors but I haven't watched it in a while, it wasn't THAT bad, it wasn't THAT good either.


I was probably distracted by some other error at the time.  It turned into an exercise in futility to keep track of them all.  It is definitely better than Octopus and a number of the other SciFi originals.  I almost gave it two slimes, but decided it just barely fell short.  The robot design and the CGI was better than normal; of course, a convincing CGI robot is easier to do than a convincing CGI mammoth or crocodile.
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #6. Posted on January 22, 2008, 11:34:05 AM by Flangepart
Wait, wait...it was better then OCTOPUS? Octopus? He said Octopus, so slooooly I turned and...
Hummm...yeah, okey I gotta give ya that one...but its still s stupid movie that Mike and the Bots should roast one day.
Tom and Crow will be happy to see killer robots...till they see the movie...Ba-hahahaha!
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #7. Posted on March 19, 2008, 06:41:58 AM by Mick
MMMmmm
I thought it was a comedy.
Re: Shockwave (AI Assault)
Reply #8. Posted on March 19, 2008, 07:51:50 AM by Jack
During the robbery and the helicopter flight, the script was actually identical to the one in Curse of the Komodo.  Even the names were the same.  Jim Wynorski made both of these, I think he's getting a tad lazy.  One of the military guys was also one of the stars in COTK. 
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