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A time-travel experiment in which a robot probe is sent from the year 2073 to the year 1973 goes terribly wrong thrusting one of the project scientists, a man named Nicholas Sinclair into a plague ravaged alternate time-line whose war weary inhabitants are locked in a constant battle with killer robots which are automatically being sent there from Sinclair's lab. To escape this situation, Sinclair must find a similar time machine in this alternate world and prevent the disaster from ever happening. Written by
Patrick D. Rockwell <email@example.com>
Flawed but ambitious and fairly watchable low budget science fiction affair
I first saw A.P.E.X. a long, long while back, I couldn't have been more than about 10 years old at the time and my understanding of it was negligible. All I really remembered was cool robots and a complicated story involving time travel and a plague, which was about enough to convince me to give it a second shot when it appeared on TV, since the passage of years has given early 90's straight to video science fiction of this sort a curious fascination for me that actually outstrips the excitement that they originally induced. Remarkably A.P.E.X. actually repaid my interest, its certainly no classic but as far as its genre goes it certainly ain't too bad. The key is the plot, the film deals in a pretty interesting science fiction concept with a neat emotional hook for its main character. Basically, a mishap involving an exploratory time travelling robot results in our hero landing in a parallel reality that has branched off from his own, confronting him with his greatest fear, that of losing his beloved wife. The film tries to deal with post apocalyptic themes, parallel worlds and the consequences of paradoxes upon the time line, and though it can't quite keep itself together its imaginative and intriguing stuff. The plot actually holds up better than a number of reviews here would suggest, although there are one or two notable holes and clear contrivances. Despite problems the ambition is laudable, it's just a shame that the same ambition didn't carry over to the action, which mostly consists of repetitious shoots outs with robots. The pyrotechnics budget was clearly decent so there are plenty of explosions, plus the robots are pretty cool, shining golden creates with ridge plated armour and both shoulder and hand cannons. But the action gets dull pretty quickly and neither the robots nor humans have realistic or interesting tactics. Acting turns do a better than expected job of sustaining interest, though nobody is much more than merely "there" certain of the cast do convey a certain sympathy and interest. Richard Keats for example as the hero, he can't put across much reaction to the situation but is likable enough, Lisa Anne Russell has a sullen attractiveness, Marcus Aurelius appropriately grating as the token a-hole character, it's all fair enough for this level of film. Some of the writing works, some doesn't and while I appreciated that the film wasn't bogged down with techno-babble it could have done with a bit more explanation. The direction from Philip J. Roth (who turned out to be a low budget sci fi regular and also wrote the film) is occasionally stylish in its use of lighting, with green, red and dark moments put to good effect, he has a fair handling on atmosphere but I wish he had put more flair into the action. Altogether I thought this was a fair enough film. Only likely to appeal to sci fi buffs and they'll probably have a field day tearing it apart, but I had a reasonable enough time. 5/10 from me then.
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