Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cherry Bomb

Cherry 2000 (1986)

A pretty poster does not a good movie make. (Even if it looks like Bob Peak painted it.)

In the future, a yuppie’s pretty blond sexbot, the titular Cherry 2000, blows a gasket or v-chip or whatever after said yuppie is stupid enough to get down with the thing while pretending his kitchen floor is a bubble bath (the dishwasher overflowed, hence the suds). After somehow not getting electrocuted, he decides he can’t live without his Latex-covered Lovebot so he hires a "tracker" to take him into the only place left on Earth where he can get a new ‘bot: the Zone.

This is a terrible movie on about 57 different levels. First off, there was NO REASON for this to be science fiction, even the extremely weak sci-fi that it tries to pass itself off as. The Zone in the wasteland is inhabited by clean white jeans-wearing preppies, led by Tim Thomerson, who look like they walked off the Miami Vice tv show set, especially the ones wearing pastel shirts. This movie could serve as a time capsule to all of the ugliest fashion trends of the 1980s. The costumes are that bad.

There was one funny line of dialogue concerning life in the future, something about “unemployment going down to 40% for the first time in several years.” That was about the extent of the satire. Again, I could see no real reason WHY this had to be set in the future. Our yuppie hero Sam could simply have been in love with a call girl who provided him with a certain fantasy and now she's been kidnapped by a gangster who hides out in the Nevada desert, so he teams with a tough local girl to get her back.

They didn’t go all “Mad Max” on the ‘Zone vehicle designs; they didn't even try: Tim Thomerson rode in a nice clean mid-80s Jeep and his nicely dressed thugs rode 4-wheel ATVs in the climactic final battle. And instead of Mad Max football pads and leather they just wore tennis shows and shopped at the 80s version of Old Navy. The costumers barely even tried.

Cherry 2000 as played by Pamela Gidley is mighty pretty, but she’s too “Donna Reedish” (holla, my 2.3 Gilmore Girls fans!). But Melanie Griffith as tracker E. Johnson is only slightly better, and one assumes, a little more closer to yuppie David Andrews’ body temperature. Griffith is cute with her Dorothy Hamill goes punk red hairdo/wig, but her acting in the movie is practically non-existent. At this point in her training she had two acting modes: smiling and non-smiling. Her voice is flat, even when her car is dangling from a crane over the Hoover Dam and she’s out on the hood firing rockets at the bad guys! It all was looped afterward, but she read her lines as if they were simply stuck in traffic on the freeway. She often showed LESS emotion in her voice than the robot Cherry. How’s that for irony, folks?

Tim Thomerson wasn't as good as he is in the Trancers movies. I think he just did this one for the paycheck. Same with Brion James, who barely registers. The only bright spot in this movie was the late, great Ben Johnson (Oscar winner for The Last Picture Show). Watching him work his magic here reminded me of Alec Guinness in the original Star Wars. Both actors had such a weight and gravitas about them that elevated whatever project on which they worked. Johnson’s voice alone is amazing, with its smoothness, warmth and depth, and it baffles me that he never worked in animation.

The action scenes are dull, dull, dull. Even the big sequence where E.'s Mustang is snagged by a big crane magnet and hauled over the Hoover Dam. Instead of simply dropping the car, the nameless goons fire loads of machine guns and even Rocket Propelled Grenades, all missing their target of course. E. pulls out HER bazooka and evidently has the only aim in the future as she hits her targets. The big action scene at the end is even worse. They seemed to be aiming for The A-Team meets Saturday morning kid's fare, with tons of bullets whizzing by, but mostly bloodless kills. Beyond boring.

Oh, and I won’t even mention this goofy movie’s Hokey Pokey dance sequence. Yeah, you read that right, they do the Hokey Pokey. (However, those ‘Zone wasteland wackos don’t hold a candle to Jim Breuer’s AC/DC version of the Hokey Pokey.)

Cherry 2000 poster image copyright its respective rights holder. No infringement of those rights is intended with this review.


  1. There were a lot of bad Sci-Fi films involving android in the '80s following the cult status gained by Blade Runner and this wasn't the worst of them.

  2. Well, at least those other movies "involved" androids in their stories. Cherry 2000 could have been about a suitcase (like they had in Pulp Fiction) instead of a love-bot - she was simply a MacGuffin to get the David Andrews' and Melanie Griffith's characters together.