Automatic (1995) starring Olivier Gruner, Daphne Ashbrook, John Glover, Jeff Kober, Dennis Lipscomb, Stanley Kamel, Penny Johnson, Annabelle Gurwitch directed by John Murlowski Movie Review

Automatic (1995)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Olivier Gruner in Automatic (1995)

Cut Price Verhoeven

Robgen have been the leaders in personal security for years thanks to their "The J Series Automatic" protection androids who when they are not protecting humans from attack help around the home. When one of these androids called J269 (Olivier Gruner) finds a Robgen executive raping Nora Rochester (Daphne Ashbrook), a member of staff, he accidentally kills the executive when he stops him from raping the woman. Having called his designer Goddard Marx (John Glover) to inform him of what happened J269 is told to sit tight till help arrives. Except Marx sends a hit squad to kill Nora and destroy J269 in order to make this incident vanish forcing the android and woman to go on the run.

"Automatic" looks like one of those movies which are only destined to disappoint, it has that low budget action movie look about it with a cast of minor stars and a storyline which is a bit of a rip-off of other movies. Yet within minutes of watching "Automatic" it has your attention because whilst corny and lacking in many departments it at least tries and you can see what it could have been with more money spent on it. Take the opening scenes which turn out to be an advert for Robgen, it is obviously trying to be like the adverts from movies such as "Robocop" and "Starship Troopers" and it gets close but director John Murlowski doesn't quite match Paul Verhoeven's vision for the darkly funny.

And that is the running theme, it never quite matches something else be it Olivier Gruner's performance as an android or Ashbrook's performance as the woman on the run. It is the same visually as the futuristic looking offices, vehicles and computers just don't quite have the right look. Yet it is a case that despite not quite being the finished product it is still entertaining and yes that is partly because it is at times cheesy.

What this all boils down to is that "Automatic" is a pleasant surprise as it is by no means the bad movie it looks like it is going to be. But it is a movie for those who enjoyed the Paul Verhoeven action movies of the 90s as it has a very similar look and tone but done on a lesser budget.