July 9, 2006
Android Apocalypse (2006)
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
Starring: Scott Bairstow, Joseph Lawrence, Chris Jericho
As far as the direct interest of The SLAM! Wrestling Movie Database is concerned -Ė there isnít much in Sci-Fiís original movie Android Apocalypse to talk about. Chris Jericho receives prominent showcasing in the opening credits but is relegated to a minor role, though his character does play a pivotal part in the inciting incident of the story. In promoting his part in an interview with SLAM!, Jericho spoke frankly about his limited role. ďI play an android, coincidentally,Ē he says with a laugh, ďItís not a huge part, but my character ends up getting killed and thatís why the whole movie takes place. Itís a key role, not a big role, but itís a great way to get my feet wet. Itís exciting, and Iím a little bit nervous about how itís going to come across.Ē His nervousness was well-founded, seeing as he also spoke about his desire to show off a different side of his acting ability in every role he takes on. Unfortunately, Android Apocalypse doesnít give him that chance, and what weíre left with is a stoic Jericho whose main on-screen time is spent fighting.
Imagine how hard it must be for a wrestler to avoid wrestling or fighting when acting in a film or on TV. Typecasting, pigeon-holing, call it what you will. Jericho is stuck in a role so many other wrestlers get plugged into: one that is based on his wrestling background, not on his acting potential. In that light, of course, he does a fine job. Itís impossible not to recognize his grace and ease of movement in the fight scenes. Itís simply a shame that he couldnít do more than just put up his dukes.
The film itself follows the intertwined journeys of Jute (Scott Bairstow, TVís Party of Five) and Deecee, an android (still on the topic of trying to break typecasting: Deecee is played by Joseph Lawrence of TVís Blossom and ďWhoaĒ fame). In the future, after mankind has wiped out much of its own civilization, cities are encased in giant domes for protection against deadly elements, after-effects from the wars. This new living has prompted the use of robots and androids to do work for humans in areas that they are not capable of surviving in for long. After the setting has been established, the main story kicks in as Jute is arrested for killing an android (Jericho), while Deecee is scheduled for repair and a memory reboot. Both are on their way to an execution of sorts, and both know it. Before this can happen, though, the two escape after an attack by worker robots gone crazy. The two fugitives are still attached by a handcuff-type cable, connecting the two unlikely partners in the manner of a futuristic The Defiant Ones.
The film plows through would-be emotional sequences between the characters in order to get to the next fight, which betrays its commitment to cool action over dramatic quality. Action movies like this are a dime a dozen, and it usually takes something special to make one stand out. Android Apocalypse fails to deliver anything special, leaving us with a middle-of-the-line TV movie, albeit with some good special effects. Truthfully, though, in these days of digital filmmaking bad special effects are more of a story than those with any quality. Both Chris Jericho and James Cameron fans would do well to skip this one.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org -- SLAM! Wrestling.