REVIEW: Screamers (1995)

screamers

 

Screamers (1995): C
Based on the Philip K. Dick story “Second Variety,” this movie kind of shows how Karl Marx was pretty good at predicting the evolution of capitalism but not very good at predicting the evolution of killer androids.

When the biggest intergalactic corporation in existence finds a new radioactive minable energy source to replace fossil fuels, everything’s great and they totally get some poor schmucks on an obscure planet to mine it for them. When studies reveal that it’s hella poisonous and it is responsible for massive fatalities, the corporation does exactly what you would expect: they stop mining the highly profitable material, responsibly compensate the families of the dead, and they give everyone hugs and kisses…

SIKE!

The corporation suppresses the truth and wants more, more, more, mining! “Civil war” breaks out between the corporate bosses and their “Alliance” of workers who refuse to die working the mines, and just like how ol’ Marx predicted, the capitalists dispatch military forces to keep the exploitation of the working class going; if you don’t work in the toxic mines, goons will bust a cap in you. This conflict matures and basically turns everyone on the planet into a soldier.

Added into the equation are robots created by the workers which are programmed to slaughter the corporate sponsored soldiers. They are called Screamers because of the sound they make as they fly through the air and chop motherfuckers. The Screamers’ AI becomes self aware and they decide that their mission should not be to chop corporate motherfuckers, but instead be to self-replicate and kill all humans, even their Alliance creators. They evolve into different “species” of Screamers that the humans are unprepared to combat including ones that look/act exactly like people. Ironically, Robocop is the head of the Alliance forces.

CGI is really bad, but it’s the 90’s, so get over it, I guess. Lots of funny kills and robot antics. One of them quotes Shakespeare. There are some cool philosophical undertones that touch on themes common in Dick’s work such as technology turning on / mimicking humans, perpetual human conflict beyond the planet Earth, and robots go boom. It’s got the isolation/paranoia aspect of The Thing and the corporation is the bad guy like in the Alien movies. All in all pretty fun and totally 90’s.

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