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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Eerily fascinating low-budget sci fi flick

6/10
Author: robert-temple-1 from United Kingdom
23 April 2010

The German director Peter Lehner only ever made one feature film, and this is it, shot somewhere in the Western USA. It is a rather surreal dystopian vision of a not-too-distant future where two incompatible regimes live side by side. On the one hand, there is Megaville, a rollicking and open commercial metropolis where uncontrolled violence takes place on a daily basis, and we see its 'President' assassinated live on television by having a plastic bag put over his head so that he suffocates while we watch. No one seems particularly bothered by this, and no one will admit having seen who did it. This is presumably meant to be a sarcastic reflection on the 'mindless violence' of 'normal society'. On the other hand, somewhere near Megaville is a horrible regime called the Hemisphere, or just referred to as the 'Sphere'. It resembles the more derelict part of East Berlin prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Just to make the film weirder still, it is ruled by a whining individual who lies in bed as an invalid, with breathing apparatus and heart monitors, perpetually on the verge of death but never actually dying. In between gasping for breath, he barks orders for people to be terminated. This may have been inspired by the geriatric Soviet leadership, as leaders like Brezhnev were said to be notoriously semi-comatose much of the time. The main character is played by Billy Zane. He has had a brain implant so that he is either Jensen who believes he is Palinov, or Palinov who believes he is Jensen. This is never made clear, and the ambiguity is intended. Whichever he is, the memories of the other have been implanted in his brain, by a device inserted there which also responds to signals from a box held by the invalid leader of 'the Sphere'. In 'the Sphere', all media are banned, and people caught watching television are rounded up by the police and executed. Into this equation comes a new virtual reality device called 'Dream-a-Life', which you put on your head and you can live an adventure as somebody else. 1990 was pretty early to be making films about the influence of virtual reality devices on human behaviour, so this film was in that respect and in others rather innovative. But the budget was so low, most things had to be left to the imagination, as there was no money to pay to show them. I think that Lehner was very creative in making something out of nothing, and that this film was quite an achievement under the circumstances. It has a 'weird feel' to it, which owes nothing to special effects, of which there are none. The film is strangely fascinating, partly because of the unexpected quirkiness of its conceptions and of various bizarre story details. It combines gritty reality, such as thugs with guns threatening to kill people and sometimes doing so, with dream-like events in which reality appears to dissolve. The film can only be seen on a 1990 video, if you can find one. It is an interesting sci fi film for those who like to keep track of them, and of special interest because hardly anyone ever saw it, so that no one really knows about it.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Needs Much More Than It Was Given.

1/10
Author: rsoonsa (rsoonsa@bandbbooks.com) from Mountain Mesa, California
29 July 2003

A seedy production throughout, not helped by a manifest lack of funding, this unrefined attempt at making a cyberpunk noir film relates events in an unrevealed future when, in a locale referred to as The Hemisphere (and sometimes as The Zone), it is illegal to view television or movies, including those on video tape, thereby naturally causing a thriving market in bootleg recordings. Billy Zane portrays a member of the Media Police, Raymond Palinov, selected by the "CKS" (Internal Security) to infiltrate into a neighbouring city-state called Megaville wherein "media" is legal, in an ostensible attempt to assist in discouraging the continuance of a conduit of media products into the Hemisphere, and who has been recipient of a remote control transmitter installed in his brain, from which he will receive instructions from the CKS head, played by Daniel J. Travanti. There is a good deal of raw material here for application of satire, but the work is poorly written, directed and executed, with bafflement rampant as to what is transpiring during a majority of scenes, while poor Zane, charismatic under strong direction, is permitted in this instance his full range of fey mannerisms, and with contemporary street scenes of the Los Angeles Civic Center dolefully failing to impress as a future anything, at all.

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Smegaville

1/10
Author: Jinn from Sydney Australia
10 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

They should have minus stars. 1 awful - minus 5 GODawful.

Megaville's motto was it was "Total Recall" Meets "Terminator." Where? In the toilet? Interesting premise, sadly so very badly executed. My stepfather and I usually LOVE these types of movies, this one was a sure-fire corker. It was one of THE most boring pieces of brain-bashing tripe I've ever seen in my life. Saw it when I was 17. I'm 38 now and *still* hate it. Congrats, Megaville! You've been at #1 of the most boring moves of all time for 21 years!! And with all the recent Hollywood 'blockbuster' rubbish that's quite an accomplishment! Good thing this waste product was only $1 to hire. Waste of that even.

The hero was flat as a pancake and when the moron was finally shot in the head at the end, I said "Thank the Gods for that!" and my stepdad seconded it. Good thing we also had pizza & juice.

Total snoozer. Watch if you are in need of a cure for insomnia or need to laugh hysterically at how bad a so-called movie can get.

Waste of time, money & brain cells.

Sad as it promised to be SO much better... sigh... Much sadder that these idiots have so much money to make movies and they make shite, when people like me have zillions of amazing ideas but lack the $$ and contacts to make our unique voices heard. Stupid matrix or a world we live in :( as bad as that GODawful Megaville...

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