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Before Tony can get to work on the first day of his new job, he manages to lock himself out of his appartment. To get back in he uses the his new security pass, which resembles a credit card. The card becomes damaged when it is used to open his front door, and then causes mayhem at work when the main computer fails to identify Tony as the new employee. The high-tech building is run by computer, which interprets its programming as meaning; "destroy all threats". The BUILDING is out to get Tony. Written by
A high-rise tower-block becomes dangerous when the computer controlling it goes mad.
This film brilliantly explodes the uneasy relationship we have with machines in our isolationist, paranoid, postmodern society. Actually, I'm lying: it's derivative rubbish. You can almost imagine the production meetings: "Hey guys - let's take the best bits of the best films and mix them all together to make the best film ever!" That must have seemed like such a good idea at the time
Don't worry if you haven't seen this film - the plot is so familiar it will seem like you have anyway. It concerns a monumental tower-block (Hey! Just like in "The Towering Inferno" (John Guillermin: 1974)) with which the owners are seriously pleased - until it all goes terribly wrong ("The Towering Inferno" again.) It seems this tower-block is controlled by a powerful, state-of-the-art computer which, fed up with playing Minesweeper all day, goes bonkers (Anyone seen "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Stanley Kubrick : 1968)?) and decides to take over the control of the tower - and eventually the world. This is where Julie Christie comes in. Oh - sorry that's "Demon Seed" (Donald Cammell: 1977) No, this one is totally different. Here we have just one man who is pitted against the might of the computer ("2001" again) - played with an admirably straight face by Paul Reiser. This is a hideous bit of miscasting: Reiser, though a competent enough actor, isn't exactly lead material mainly because he's far too familiar - predominantly as a lightweight comedy actor, playing the intelligent one in the TV sitcom "My Two Dads"; and in films like "Sunset Limousine" (Terry Hughes: 1983), Cross My Heart (Armyan Bernstein: 1987) and "Crazy People" (Tony Bill: 1990 ) Herein lies the problem: is this being played for laughs? Unbelievably, it appears not. Reiser runs, ducks, types energetically on a computer keyboard , swims like Shelley Winters in "The Poseidon Adventure" (Ronald Neame: 1972 ), and rescues a cat like O. J. Simpson in "The Towering Inferno". Okay so I lied about the last two - but I eagerly await the sequel - and the point I'm making is that despite the corny lines, the clichéd plot and uninspiring special effects, Reiser works like a trooper to try to get you to care. Ultimately though, it's all in vain.
This film serves as one of those spot-the-originals, where the audience is constantly reminded of other - generally superior - films and as such provides moments of entertainment. They are only moments, though. With a little more care, this could have been a really good film - the idea is sound enough - but instead it inhabits that lonely middle-ground of mediocre films that are neither good enough to be taken seriously, nor bad enough to be worth watching. Generally, if it's three o'clock in the morning, you can't sleep and have already scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom , then I'd recommend you rediscover the joys of a good book rather than waste your time with this. Contains swearing. 2 out of 10
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