Cherry 2000 (1987)
By: Sam Bowron on September 8, 2011  | 
DVD
Bounty Films | All Regions, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 94 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Steve De Jarnatt
Starring: Melanie Griffiths, David Andrews, Ben Johnson, Tim Thomerson
Screenplay: Michael Almereyda
Country: USA
External Links
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In a future where the customization of love is commonplace and the ability to maintain a personal companion for life consists of a mere digital chip, questions of ethics would likely become a thing of the past. The concept of a domesticated robotic machine that can meet your every request and desire without hesitation or the summoning of conscience is arguably an intriguing one, even for those claiming the moral high ground. Ultimately, if the opportunity were to present itself it's hard to imagine many of us would turn an immediate blind eye.

But is artificial intelligence really what it's all cracked up to be? And what are the chances that such ever-increasing advancements in bio-mechanic technology could instead be leading us toward the destruction of an idyllic existence? Fusing the post-apocalyptic landscape theatrics of Mad Max with a romance story straight out of Love Boat, Steve De Jarnett's hopelessly juvenile yet knowingly light-hearted sci-fi romp Cherry 2000 takes the idea of man's fantasies for the perfect fembot and transposes them to a future realm where even the most seemingly flawless of women are but a mere pretext for what man really needs in order to achieve true happiness.

The year is 2017 and romance is dead. In a world where couples meet in bars for systematic sexual encounters to be approved by legal officials, the idea of finding true love has become a virtual fairytale at best. Created as an alternative to society's sweeping spate of sanitised sensuality, fully automated robots with the complete appearance of a living human being are available to those who can afford them. When recycling plant worker Sam Treadwell (David Andrews) looses his beloved 'Cherry' android to an unfortunate kitchen sink accident, he enlists the help of sexy bounty hunter E. Johnson (Melanie Griffith) to help him track down a duplicate model hidden somewhere deep within the barren wasteland of the former Las Vegas (also known as 'Zone 7'). What starts as a tricky assignment quickly becomes a dangerous venture into hostile territory as Sam and Johnson encounter an army of desert rebels (lead by the great Tim Thomerson) hell-bent on stopping their retrieval of the illustrious Cherry… at any cost.

There are potentially two ways you can view Cherry 2000 as a piece of genre cinema: either as an embarrassingly dismal attempt to portray a post-apocalyptic world or as an alternately cheeky, knowingly camp in-joke targeted toward popular cult favourites such as Metalstorm, The New Barbarians, Wheels of Fire, Stryker and others. Ultimately, the overall tone of Steve De Jarnett's low-budget yarn is simply too cheerful and naive for it to be mistaken for anything but a silly and mindlessly entertaining romp, probably not a bad thing considering the direction the story ends up taking when all is said and done. Furthermore, the films' numerous flaws actually wind up working in its favour, such as the painful costuming (a bizarre mishmash of dated 80s summer fashion and second hand drama school outfits), hilariously out of place dialogue ("Well then, you can just go shit in your hat!"), flimsy action set pieces and one of the most awkward celluloid villains to ever rule a western frontier in a sun hat.

The playful disposition of Cherry 2000 is further emphasized through the good-natured performances of both Andrews and Griffith who manage a believable screen chemistry and work well together, both as romantic leads and (mostly) competent action stars. The film also features an enjoyable cast of B-movie veterans such as Marshall Bell, Brion James, Robert D'Zar and others, the latter of whom receives no dialogue whatsoever but still manages to make an impression with that famous chin genre fans have all come to know and love. The only weak link in the chain is Thomerson, however not by way of performance but rather as a result of being left stranded in a hugely underdeveloped bad guy role that comes across as if it were written by a nine year old.

Of course, it would be foolish to uphold Cherry 2000 as an exceptional piece of genre cinema, as many subsequent films have managed to more or less take the same concept and reinvent it to arguably greater success (Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence for one). The movie also uncomfortably attempts to deliver its message primarily through pure unbridled sentiment, the manner of which is likely to provoke a gag reflex in even the most seasoned Disney devotee. Either way, this bouncy bubblegum voyage is sure to remain a nostalgic reissuance for long time fans and a fun Sunday afternoon watch for newcomers.
Video
Bounty have presented the video in a 16:9 enhanced 1.85:1 transfer, improving tremendously on previously flat VHS transfers. All colors are rich and vibrant (particularly the opening neon-filled city sequences) and remain strong throughout the 94 minute run time.
Audio
Unfortunately, the Dolby Digital 2.0 track included on the disc is rather flat and monotone through the speakers. Whether inherent in the film itself or otherwise, the audio definitely does an injustice to the images on display. A shame.
Extra Features
None whatsoever.
The Verdict
Give Cherry a look. She may not be a total knockout but she's definitely a cutie.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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