(Richard Pepin, USA, 1995)


From the crowded production slate of Richard Pepin and Joseph Merhi, masters of low budget exploitation fare, comes T-Force, a truly wacky cocktail of science fiction and action elements.

This is plagiarism with élan: beginning with a no-nonsense Die Hard (1988) pastiche (terrorists take over an embassy), it quickly accumulates borrowings from the Robocop and Terminator films, and even manages to squeeze in a mismatched-cop duo comprising a hardboiled human (Jack Scalia) and a warrior android (Bobby Johnston).

The "terminal force" is a team of state-controlled androids who, one fine day, start reasoning amongst themselves that the only true way to uphold the law is to destroy the currently prevailing social order. Once they become renegades, these "cybernauts" do much more than talk political philosophy. In one hilarious scene they even attempt, with the aid of a handy girlie magazine, to procreate.

Scalia, in this futuristic milieu, is an old-fashioned kind of guy. When a computerised sex worker approaches him in a bar, he growls: "Darlin', for me that would be ... un-American". He resents at first having to team up with an android, but soon submits his partner to a charming regimen of "male bonding" rituals – fixing a car, shooting pool, and learning how to include either "kiss my butt", "sonofabitch" or "smartass" in every second utterance.

© Adrian Martin January 1995

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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