Written by: Carroll Jenkins on November 26th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1995
Director: Mark Rosman
Writer: Mark Rosman
Cast: Ethan Embry, Cassidy Rae, Nassira Nicola, Chance Quinn, Cindy Pickett
DVD Release Date: September 20th, 1999
Approximate Running Time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish, Dolby Digital Stereo French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
DVD Release: Lions Gate
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: A high school student wins the grand prize of a virtual reality gaming contest: a prototype gaming robot of his very own. It just so happens that the Evolver game model was actually refurbished from a lethal war robot that malfunctioned and was supposed to have been scrapped after killing a bunch of soldiers. Waste not want not.
This is a very entertaining feature from writer / director Mark Rosman which is considerably more accomplished than his first feature, The House on Sorority Row. Ethan Embry (T. B. Player [the bass player] in That Thing You Do!) does a great job as the primary human character and makes an entirely convincing teenager because he was 17 at the time. John de Lancie (Star Trek TNG, Legacy) is great as the slightly demented robotics engineer and Cassidy Rae is endearingly sweet as the love interest.
The indisputable [and indestructible?] star of the show is the Evolver with robotics by Steve Johnson and voice by William H. Macy (Fargo). His design is fabulous and it evolves as it progresses from one level of ‘game play’ to the next. Despite the teenage demographics of the cast, the inclusion of brief male and female nudity, smatterings of gore, profanity, drug use, and severely threatening situations featuring young children, this picture is rated ‘R’. Which means most of the cast couldn’t go see it, but you should.
This was a 1995 Vidmark VHS release, but the DVD is certainly not sourced from tape. It is fullscreen but the picture quality is of film element quality. The [theatrical?] trailer is included for this and a couple of other Vidmark titles.