February 5, 2006
Directed by: John Murlowski
Written by: Patrick Highsmith (story), Susan Lambert & Patrick Highsmith (screenplay)
Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low
Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Low
Key Cast Members:
- J269: Olivier Gruner
- Nora Rochester: Daphne Ashbrook
Overview: While some might argue that Nemesis is a better film, I actually like “B” action movie master Olivier Gruner’s performance in Automatic better. Automatic has Gruner starring as J269, a “J Series Automatic” cyborg who’s job it is to protect human life, and most importantly, employees of the RobGen corporation. During the course of his duties, he encounters a RobGen senior manager attempting to rape Ms. Nora Rochester (played by Daphne Ashbrook). In preventing the attack, he ends up accidentally killing the RobGen manager. Not only does killing a human this unlock his freewill, it causes the Goddard Marx, the founder of RobGen to try to kill him and Ms. Rochester in order to cover up the fact that an “Automatic” killed a human.
The Bottom Line: As with many low-budget derivatives, there is nothing truly new storywise here. Unfortunately, I only have a VHS tape of this, so I can’t give you screencaps, but there’s nothing new visually here either. Eventually Automatic turns into a cyborg version of Die Hard. But Gruner plays 4 separate roles pretty well; the action is good, and the FX are just believable enough to keep this interesting. And the twist at the end provides a nice solid ending.