Terminal Justice [Cybertech P.D.] (1996)

This is your basic 90s buddy cop revenge flick.

Well, almost.

The curious aspect here is that it is set against a detailed cyberpunk background with a lot of well-thought out technological developments, including cybernetic implants, unintentionally lethal VR videogames, virtual drug “analogs”, clones, assassin drones, super-soldier drugs, a cyber technology police department and, of course, virtual sex.

Mind you, if you’re expecting a film that deals with the virtual sex market (and creating cloned women as the next level) to have lots of naked women, virtual or otherwise, you will be disappointed.

Yes, we do have nudity and sex – this is a 90s action flick, after all – but ironically, we never see any of the virtual sex industry, or any glimpses of their product.  The hero (played by Lorenzo Lamas with far too much long greasy hair) gets to defend one of the industry’s biggest stars, but she’s more or less retired and living off her earnings.

Notable here is the inclusion of Hellraiser, a drug designed to put soldiers into a murderous fury, which has proved almost impossible to clean out of the Veterans’ systems and still causes murderous flashbacks.  It’s a nice metaphor for Post-Traumatic shock, which was very much in the news at the time.

Okay, I’m skeptical of the legal loophole at the end – regardless of which way it’s played out – but it’s at least unexpected.  Somehow, it seems simpler at the end than one expects – I’d really have a hard time saying just why – even though it gets there by way of a battle in an even more lethal version of the villain’s latest VR game.  It all feels like the first episode of a TV series in a way (perhaps the somewhat similar first Tek War TV movie), with a lot of the running time getting spent on getting the hero transferred to Cybertech P.D., and taking on his new Odd Couple partner (a computer nerd, naturally, even if a cool one).

And isn’t it strange, that almost a century later (2092), they’re still driving familiar 1990s cars?  And that the city looks exactly the same?  And what the heck did they call that Acura NSX?

Oh, well.  I’m willing to ignore a few absurdities in any film this willing to explore SF ideas (particularly the ones which would have cost them a lot of money to fix.  Mind you, they could have wrapped those cars in dryer vents as in Hands of Steel ).  And, I should note, that even if you might dismiss it as a MacGuffin, the villain’s goals are actually driven by his plans for how he’s going to use his technologies.  Bonus points there.

So it may not be a great film, but it is competent, modestly entertaining, has a few decent ideas and manages to use them in reasonably competent ways.

Which does put it ahead of a lot of the SF films out there, thank you very much.

So it’s probably worth a view, particularly if you are into Cyberpunk.

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