Are you interested in a Michael Crichton movie about Technology going wild? No not the one with Dinosaurs on the loose. How about Robots gone wild? No not the one with Yul Bryner that is being adapted for an HBO Mini-series. This one is about robots that are “Runaways”, that is they have gone out of control and threaten people or property in some way. Throw in a plot concerning an evil genius using micro-chip technology to weaponize robots and build a “smart bullet” and you have this next entry on the project, science fiction with Tom Selleck.
For me in 1984, this was a highly anticipated film because one of the co-stars was making his motion picture debut. Gene Simmons the bassist and singer of the rock group Kiss, a band that I have been of fan of since 1976 was signed to be the villain of the story. The idea that he was going to star in a movie with Tom Selleck jacked me up tremendously for the Christmas season in 1984. There were four big science fiction movies coming out in early December, and as a regular reader of Starlog Magazine I anticipated each of them.
Brian DePalma was once my favorite director. There was something so watchable about every movie he made that I was happy to see them, regardless of quality, and that means something because he made some films that are just weird. “Scarface” has a legion of cult followers but it is somewhat over the top and not my cup of tea, “Raising Cain” goes to the well a couple of times too often, and “Wise Guys” is not memorable at all, and I know I saw it. There are also the real classics “Blow Out”, “Carrie” and “The Untouchables” any of which I would sit down now and watch. I’m about to say something that may be a little blasphemous to many fans, I think “Body Double” is the most well made of his films when it comes to direction. It has story flaws and some acting weaknesses and the plot is stretched a bit here and there, but it has the most genius long takes and lighting choices and music in just about any of his films. It is a visual and directing masterpiece.
This movies camera angles and set decoration and location shots are just about visually perfect. We are going to get a tour of L.A. and the film business in 1984. It is often an ugly collection of people but the world they inhabit is made to look glorious and interesting, even when we are supposed to know that we are looking at a process shot. This movie plays with our minds by tricking us to see things from a cinematic perspective instead of a real world perspective. It is made by someone who knows how to make even the most simple things look interesting on the screen.