Short Circuit (1986) Poster

(1986)

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9/10
Underrated
simonperera200025 July 2005
I'm sorry, I can't see why this film has been given such a low rating. This film is wonderfully life-affirming through the character of robot Jonny 5 (the scene where he realises what it means to be alive through crushing a grass hopper is beautifully portrayed), Ally Sheedy brings a bucket load of positive energy to the character of the naive but loving Stephanie, and to top it all there is a subtle but powerful comment on American militarism. There is a real emphasis on quality screen writing here which only comes through on a small ratio of films. The characters could easily have become 2 dimensional stereotypes, but instead given some interesting dialogue and motives (science, military etc). Yes it is cheesy, and I think many people label it as a cheap and tacky 80's movie, but having watched it again recently I think history may well judge it a minor classic.
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8/10
A rarity among family-oriented films...
mentalcritic12 February 2005
There have been many films that claim they can entertain audiences of all ages. Indeed, this seems to be the most profitable kind of film to make, with the family-oriented often translating to the lowest common denominator. There is a rare kind of film in this oversaturated market, however. Namely, the film that claims it can entertain an audience in almost any age bracket, and really can deliver on this promise. I know how this sounds, so bear with me a moment.

Short Circuit is, at heart, a comedy about what happens when a robot designed to replace a special forces soldier is struck by lightning, and starts to believe he is a living entity. Much of the rest of the film revolves around either Number 5's attempts to evade capture by the people who made him, or his attempts to convince the people he meets of the truly wonderful thing that has happened to him. Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg provide an excellent support cast that does a first rate job of interacting with the character. This was one of the first films to show human actors engaging in conversation with what was essentially a full-scale puppet, and it remains one of the best. With brilliant voice acting by Tim Blaney, Number 5 seems more human than some of the other actors in the film, especially G.W. Bailey. They must have had a special on Police Academy alumni that year.

Speaking of Police Academy, the "let's rip the front seats out and sit in the back" joke gets a couple of references here. In fact, a few old classics get a good reference in this effort. Interestingly enough, the Three Stooges short that is shown and imitated in a couple of sequences is called Woman Haters. Go figure. The one weakness of the film is that it seems primarily constructed around a few puppeteering or special effects sequences. The use of the laser beams here seems very dated by modern standards, and the computers would look unbelievable if I hadn't personally seen the computers that were available to the public and business around this year.

Sadly, they do not make films like this anymore. In this day and age, where every film has to be made as expensively as possible, and even films aimed at children seem segmented, nobody seems willing to consider that the adults in the audience might need to be entertained, too. Which is a real pity. Films like Short Circuit have the ability to appeal to this viewer even more now that he is twenty-something years old than was the case when he was eight years old. I doubt that anyone who turns twenty-six in 2020 is going to same the same about the Pokemon or other such mind-numbing single-digit-age-only crap that is being churned out.

I gave Short Circuit an eight out of ten. It is starting to show its age, but as a relic of the mid-1980s, it also shows that there were people asking questions about the advancement of technology. Indeed, on the basis of films like Short Circuit, I am almost willing to regard the 1980s as the last bastion of creativity in the mainstream film industry. Give it a look expecting a film about more than money, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
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9/10
A very fun movie!
Troy2Slick30 July 2002
I remember watching this when I was 8 years old. It was all that and then some. When you are a kid, anything amazes you though, I guess.

However, I recently had the chance to watch this flick again. I must say, that it still has it's redeeming value to it.

If you ask me, Number 5, is STILL alive! I recommend this movie to anyone. 7 out of 10.
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7/10
A sweet and genuine comedy
MisterWhiplash17 September 2000
I think anyone any age can appreciate this film, and some might even find it funny. Not terribly funny, but just good. The plot involves a robot (#5) who after getting electricuted, becomes malfunctioned, in a good way (the robot thinks it's alive). And some light hearted comedy (and some messages about life) ensues. Nice to watch on a weekend day. A-
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10/10
I still love this one today
grayorca25 May 2005
I practically grew up watching this one. And this film is two years older than I am. Number Five has long been a movie personality I grew to adore, as well as his human co-actors. There has never been a time where I have watched and not smiled at it's quirky verbal humor. I have recommended it to many acquaintances looking for a good, old 80's comedy. The sequel is not quite as up there, but I also keep it mixed in with my favorite DVDs. For any science fiction fan, it can be seen as a classic and prelude to movies such as "I, Robot".

10 out of 10 is my rating because this movie has played a great part in my movie-watching life. I first saw it at the age of 9 (edited Disney broadcast version, with the adult language cut out) and have looked to it ever since if I just want to get a little laugh. And, for me, a little laugh in my otherwise stressful life is a great thing.

10/10
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10/10
"A wonderful film"
simon-trek26 April 2004
This is a great comedy and family film. No. 5 is a cute, friendly and fun filled robot. After he becomes struck by lightning and runs away from the Nova, he is at first just a curious wonderer, until he runs into Stephanie's house. Stephanie is this young woman who loves animals and finds No. 5 to be this innocent looking robot who she takes into her house. No. 5 keeps saying "Malfunction.

Need input." So Stephanie lets No. 5 reed all her encyclopedias then lets him watch the T.V. all night.

After all the initial fun and "input" the chase begins when No. 5 realises that the people from Nova are after him and want to dismantle him. Because they think he's malfunctioning.

"No dismantle! Not malfunction. No. 5 is alive!" Are what No. 5 says. And N. 5 has to go through a number of obstacles to avoid being destroyed by these soldiers and a ruthless general who will do anything to permanently shut No. 5 down. But No. 5 is just too smart. He out smarts military men in many was, using all these tricks he has up his sleeves...or in his massive memory bank.

So overall if you have a heart then No. 5 is the perfect friend. He will truly capture your heart.
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8/10
So cutesy but so good!!
Anonymous_Maxine12 April 2008
I haven't seen Short Circuit for some time now, but it is such a huge milestone in my childhood that I have to say something about it. Maturer audiences will have a hard time overlooking some of the childish nuances of the movie, but it is such a fun and entertaining family film that all of those things can be easily forgiven. It reminds me of other wonderful family films like Flight of the Navigator and The Goonies, that I used to watch over and over when I was a kid. I feel like I've lost something when I can't think of a single movie now that I love so much that I will watch it a few times a week. Maybe I just am more aware of the time involved in watching the same movie over and over today than I used to be.

Johnny 5 is a robot designed for military use until one day it's struck by lightning and, apparently, comes to life. This is a pretty tired formula, something man-made suddenly displaying life-like qualities and wanting to be recognized as a real boy, but it's accompanied by some clever messages about the advancement of technology, particularly technology designed to replace humans, which has always been seen as a bit of a dangerous idea, criticized brilliantly by everyone from Charlie Chaplin to James Cameron.

Johnny 5's adventures involve his efforts to avoid capture by the people who made him ("NOVA! No!!"), while at the same time trying to prove to the world that he's a living entity now. They could not make a movie like this today. Sadly, CGI has forever replaced the need to create a physical robot like the one that plays Johnny 5 in this movie, so any Short Circuit that was made today would just be some soul-less digital effect cavorting across the screen, instantly forgettable. But here, he's really there, and he's heavy and clumsy and metallic, but so memorable as a movie character that I've recently read that the actual robot prop was sold for something like $500,000. Now THAT is a fan!

Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy have a cute chemistry on screen that is satisfactorily simple. They are both cookie-cutter caricatures, Sheedy the lonely Stephanie, who drives an ice-cream truck for a living, and Guttenberg plays a scientist named Newton, who works for the evil NOVA but who only needs a cute ice-cream lady and a charming robot to change his evil ways.

Sound like fun? No? Well, it is, trust me. The film has definitely dated, but I'll take special effects that look dated 20 years later over expensive CGI that never looked real in the first place any day. A lot of films claim to be fun for all ages, but Short Circuit is one of the few that really is. It's too bad that movies like this seem to be gone forever now….
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8/10
I Heart Number Five.
vertigo_1419 April 2004
Short Circuit is an off-the-wall comedy about a series of robots made of the military. They sort of resemble Conky from the old Pee Wee's Play House series. One of the robots, 'Number Five', escapes and finds sanctuary in the home of Stephanie Speck (Allly Sheedy), a nice lady with a soft spot for runaways.

Speck becomes good friends with 'Number Five' who begins to take on a lot of human characteristics, transcending the static life of a robot or the hostile life of a military weapon, which is what the robots were designed for.

Speck learns that Number Five's owners are looking for him, but she knows that the military would only destroy Number Five or terminate the emotional drive that he has developed. Number Five's designer, Newton Crosby (Guttenberg) and his silly assistant Ben Jabituya (Stevens), have yet to appreciate what Number Five has achieved, as a shell of wires and controls able to take on human qualities, but, soon, they too will join Speck in the quest to save 'Number Five.'

Some of it is kind of reminscint of other 80s sci-fi movies like 'Batteries Not Included' and 'E.T.'

There's two issues at work in this movie. The first, and obvious one being about the development of human emotion and would it be possible for anything to gain an understanding and appreciation for it? And the second being the ethics of military useage. Plus, it's your standard 80s love and friendship story. Because of the story and the sharp wit comedy and sarcasm, it's makes for good comedy. I haven't seen the sequel in a long time, but I do remember enjoying it almost as much as the first. I think that's because 'Number Five' is such a funny, loveable robot.

If you like the theme of this movie, I recommend seeing the hilarious comedy, 'Making Mr. Right,' which is about a robot designed for space exploration rather than military use. But, the robot begins to take on human emotions while the owner becomes increasingly more like a robot. (It's from Susan Siedleman, the director of 'Desperately Seeking Susan.')
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8/10
This movie has been under-rated
Methodless_Man13 October 2003
This is NOT one of the best movies of all time, and I am not going to try to tell you that it is, however, this movie has been made well and considering it was made in 1986, it's funny. It's not 2003 funny, but it IS 1986 hilarious. The movie kept me laughing enough, and I felt that the ending was also a nice one. I'm not going to spoil the movie as to what makes the ending great, but I liked the way the movie ended.

I also think that the type of people who would enjoy this movie are the people who feel like Newton Crosby. He's devoted his entire life to something (science and technology), just to have others who used to be devoted to it steal it all away from him. It's almost like the whole movie you want to score one for the little guy. Most of us have been there at some point in our lives. This movie kind of captures that, and if you watch the movie with that intent, it does keep the viewer intrigued.

The movie also makes you appreciate what your life is, when you see just what the robot can do, and you realize just what your mind is capable of.

All in all, I think I found it a lot more touching than it should have been, because it was 3:15am when I started watching it, and I THINK I watched the movie Pi right before it.
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10/10
Great fun for kids and adults
TERMINATOR18027 November 2001
What makes this movie so entertaining? It could be a number of things: A cute robot, a good cast, great comedy, and John Badham, the director that can take a low budget film and make it into a classic (such as his previous work, Saturday Night Fever, which was alot more vulgar) Or Maybe it's just fun to watch all of the neat little gadgets Number 5 has, showing that some of the least expensive things can be made to look high-tech.
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10/10
What a great movie for kids!
punking7328 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I bought it this evening for my kids they are 7 and 5. My kids sat and they laughed like they've never laughed at any movie that i can recall like that before. They absolutely fell in love with Johnny 5. My son who is epileptic and has ADHD and high functioning autism sat through the WHOLE film, it was a wondrous joy to hear him squeal with delight, nearly uncontrollably, and i found myself in tears when the fake #5 that Johnny 5 built was blown up, as i saw my sons reaction, because he thought it was the real one, then he cheered in the end when Johnny 5 showed up from under the truck with Steve Guttenberg and Alley Sheedy. They begged me to watch it again after it was over, but it was bedtime so I promised them that they could watch it in the morning. Great movie for kids! 10 out of 10!
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10/10
Better than Must See TV...
macgyverdb1 March 2006
When this first came out in theaters...that by-gone age before DVD's and before VHS tapes were popular...and BETA tapes were still around...I went to see it at the earliest show. Then proceeded to watch every showing that day at that theater, on both screens. I do not think I've ever found such a movie that truly entertained..that was not offensive..that you wouldn't have a problem letting kids see.

The only thing that sort of is upsetting was after this first movie. There was to be a sequel that had all the original cast in it..but it never made it to theaters in time. Where that copy is I have no idea. What was called the sequel...should have been kept under wraps.

I really do wish they would revisit the idea of a sequel for Number 5...this is one robot that deserves another chance at a far better script than what he was given in the 2nd movie.

But going back to the original. Very good job for his supporting cast. Steve and Ally were excellent. I don't think they could have picked better to be in this movie. I still see, and still laugh at the ex boyfriend getting his boot heels shot off...his belt and brim of his hat...the look on his face as he saw his precious car taken apart...not Number 5's fault he had left the Chilton manual in the car...:) :) :) This movie is truly an original tale, very well told, and will stand out as an excellent piece for a long time to come.
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7/10
"Life not malfunction."
utgard1417 June 2014
A robot made self-aware after being struck by lightning runs away from the military weapons testing facility where it is set to be disassembled. The robot, called Number 5, meets a woman (Ally Sheedy), who befriends it and tries to help it. As the military hunt for the escaped robot, two scientists (Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens) try to find it first.

A heartfelt sci-fi comedy that's funny, positive, and extremely entertaining. How cool was that robot? Old school effects are remarkable. People built these things by hand, you know? There's just something so much more effective and impressive about that than CGI effects. The cast is really good. Sheedy and Guttenberg are both likable leads. Fisher Steven is a lot of fun. Guttenberg's Police Academy co-star G.W. Bailey plays to type as he did so often in the '80s. Such a fun movie. I had a big goofy grin on my face the whole time I was watching this.

I recently read a review of this movie that trashed it. The reviewer's main reasons for doing so were based on how unrealistic it was. He went on and on about how robots aren't capable of this and that. It made me very sad for him because I know he must not have any friends. If you are reading this and you view Short Circuit the same way that reviewer does, please do yourself a favor -- go out, meet some people, have some adventures, enjoy life. Then come back and watch Short Circuit and see if the stick up your ass is gone yet.
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7/10
Fun film from the '80s
Tweekums23 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When I first watched this in the '80s I rather enjoyed it as I recall and upon watching it again recently found that it had lost little of its charm.

The film opens with five new military robots being demonstrated to a group of politicians and senior officers. After they show how the can eliminate a variety of vehicles everybody goes inside and the robots are recharged... while robot number five is still connected to the generator there is a lightning strike which causes it to malfunction. After a collision with a rubbish disposal robot it ends up on the back of a lorry with the rubbish and is taken off the base. At around the same time it is noticed that he is missing and everybody at Nova, the company that made it, starts to panic. Skroeder, the head of security sets off with his men to catch it while its inventor Dr. Newton Crosby and his assistant Ben Jabituya follow its tracking signal to help them locate it. They find Number Five but it evades capture by jumping off a bridge and parachuting on to the back of a van driven by Stephanie, by now it is out of range for the tracker.

When Stephanie finds Number Five she initially thinks he is an alien and invites it into her house where he seeks input, he quickly reads every book in the house and turns to the television for further learning. When she learns that instead of being an alien he is a robot from a weapons manufacturer she is not impressed and calls them to take it away, however when she tells Number Five that he is to return to Nova he reacts in a way one wouldn't expect from an inanimate object... he shows fear. Realising that he is in danger Number Five takes Stephanie's van which he learns how to drive by reading the instruction manual. She manages to jump aboard as he drives off but they crash and are found be Doctor Crosby who deactivates Number Five and puts him on a truck bound for Nova. Five however manages to reactivate himself and escapes once again. He returns to Stephanie and is present to help rescue her from her abusive ex-boyfriend. She believes that if she can persuade Doctor Crosby that Number Five is alive then he well help them, unfortunately they meeting is interrupted by Skroeder and as well as rescuing Stephanie Number Five must confront the other robots, I won't say what he does to them as it would spoil one of the films jokes.

As stated before the film still seems charming and Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg performed well in the lead roles and while watching it was easy to suspend disbelief and accept that Number Five was indeed alive. I'm not sure what to make of Fisher Stevens's portrayal of Ben Jabituya, on the one hand he was an amusing character, on the other it seemed very dated to have a white actor playing an Indian rather than actually employing somebody from the Sub-continent. There are one or two jokes some parents might find a bit racy but I think most children would enjoy this film as will plenty of adults, especially those who first saw it as youngsters in the '80.
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8/10
MEMORABLE CLASSIC probably the inspration behind WALL-E
Deathrow_nzl4 July 2008
I saw this movie at the pictures This Movie was a Classic back in 1986 I still remember this movie well "NUMBER 5 IS ALIVE" I would have been 7 years old when I watch this movie the reason I am guess it has such a low rating. is cause there have been so many movies in this Genre, Over lets say the last 8 years, Including Short circuit ripoff Wall-E http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910970/ Anyway it doesn't have the awesome graphics Wall-E has cause 3d computer graphics didn't really exist in 1986 Wall-E might even have a slightly better story line But you must remember Short Circuit was the original and did not have 100s of robot friend movies to copy of like wall-e at the time it was made to copy ideas off and revise from, Wall-e received 9 out of 10 Short circuit received 6 out of 10 I feel Short Circuit have been very hard done by for being a old movie. Anyway thats my piece its up to you to make the right choice when you vote.
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8/10
All About Ben!!!
Liberal_Libra19816 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
As cute as Number 5, Steve Guttenberg, and Ally Sheedy were in this movie, the greatest character was Ben! His witty "I don't get it" comments are hilarious. "Plus, we are needing gas money." Also funny, is all of the Number Five takes on Saturday Night Fever. Overall, this movie is 80's fluff, but we all loved 80's fluff at some point. Though fluffy, it does touch on some serious subjects such as military weapon usage, animal rights, and abuse. Howard Marner and Schroeder make good villains, and Guttenberg and Sheely have a very cute love/hate chemistry. Very lovable and adorably funny. And if robots don't interest you, just watch it for the Ben quotes!
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Don't get it ?
puneetp29 January 2002
I don't understand it. All the written reviews for Short Circuit I and II, on this message board are superlative. On the other hand, the ratings are pretty low.

Speaking for myself, I first saw the movie series when I was 12 years old. I thought at that time, that they were the greatest movies I had seen but that's just me. I recently saw the series again and still enjoyed them to the hilt. My ratings : 9/10.
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10/10
I love it and always will
jessie-montgomery13 October 2005
Hey I love this movie and the other one too! they are my favorite and Johnny5 (Number5) or J5 is my hero, he is always kind, funny play full, childish and cute. he is just like the friend I have always wanted, PERFECT! If he was with me and my mates all the time I would die! and so would they. he has been my friend for ages! and If there is one thing I learnt whilst watching Short Circuit of Short Circuit 2 is that I will always love Johnny 5 and no matter what I will never stop loving him of forget him like I done. (I saw it when I was little and after a couple of years I saw it a gen and thank god!) So all I can say is if you love Johnny 5 as much as I do then buy this movie and the first and vote it as a 10 star. it will make J5 so happy I know because I E-mail his creator!
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10/10
Johnny 5 is Alive!
danielbloome25 January 2015
This is a great classic comedy. I know, I know, it's not like it's a brilliant work of cinematic history or anything, and Steve Guttenberg is hardly the greatest actor of his generation, but if you are looking for just a fun movie with some cheap laughs that won't make you think too much, this is a great pick. Especially if it's for the whole family, because Short Circuit is definitely family friendly (for the most part).

One thing we didn't appreciate was that Fisher Stevens was playing a silly comic-relief character, a nerdy scientist from India who talks with a stereotypical old Indian accent and just doesn't understand things and is super socially awkward. But I guess that was okay in the eighties.

Fun times!
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7/10
fun charming cute
SnoopyStyle4 January 2015
In Oregon, Number 5 is one of the experimental military robots build by NOVA Robotics. When it gets hit by lightning, its memory gets erased and becomes self-aware. Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg) and his assistant Ben Jabituya (Fisher Stevens) are its creator. It gets accidentally thrown out with the trash and gung-ho security captain Skroeder (G. W. Bailey) is sent to retrieve it. It lands on animal lover Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy)'s food truck. At first, she thinks it's an alien and Number 5 wants input. Eventually she contacts NOVA but it fears disassemble because "Number 5 is alive."

Ally Sheedy is adorable and Steve Guttenberg is adorkable. Sure Ben is a racial stereotype character but Number 5 more than makes up for it by being so much fun. Number 5 is like an adorable baby who grows up with all the pop culture references. It is light charming family fun.
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8/10
I Love this Movie because Johnny Five is a Great "Robot"
mike4812828 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
An amazing feat of electronic and wire puppetry every bit as good as anything that Jim Henson ever did! Everything fits including the "voice"! Directed by John Badham as a companion piece (I suppose) to "WarGames", as it has a somewhat similar theme. The adults are rather stupid and the young adults are wise beyond their years. As usual, A great cast including Steve Guttenburg and Ally Sheedy when they were both very young. Somewhat original in concept, although I am aware of many other Sci-Fi stories in which either a robot or computer achieved consciousness. Johnny is hit by a bolt of lightning and has a "short circuit" that makes him truly alive. Children will love it and not even pick up on the anti-war nature of the basic storyline in which a war robot decides to change his own destiny and become peaceful and loving instead of a laser-powered war machine. An often overlooked minor "classic", in my book.
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8/10
Johnny 5, a memorable robot
videorama-759-8593915 February 2014
In the spirit of ET, comes an 86 hit, from a director who makes films like John Hughes writs scripts. Though if you look beyond the computer components and the boring banter of this high tech machine facility, what we have is a quite an adventurous, and surprise fun flick. When a experimental robot, among a score of them, is electrocuted and grows smarts and takes off from the facility to tour the splendour of San Francisco, it's creator, likable Guttenberg, a stay in, and his peers, one another Police Academy favourite, are desperate to recover it, where they do whatever it takes. The robot is befriended by a female vet, sweet Sheedy who harbours it, and the two become great friends. The manipulation of the robot is very smart as from the designers of it, and the escape sequences are so well done. Too, I liked the geeky, sleepy voice of one of the managers, as if illustrating sarcastically the enjoyment of this job. Fisher Stevens is a hoot as Guttenberg's assistant, who lectures him on how there's another world outside the facility. SC pretty much has the same kind of approaching climax, whether it's ET, Starman, where Sheedy, who of course strikes up a relationship with Guttenberg, will protect Johnny Five at all costs, from the facility guy who will turn back into an experiment. Not being a lover of kid's flicks, though I was more flexible as a teen, this film had grown on me, and it's song from El Debarge rocks. Certainly a movie for all ages, this couldn't be a more perfect flick for everyone. Of course it spawned a not as successive sequel, not in the same class as the first, with only Stevens staying for it.
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7/10
Simple and Fun,
lesleyharris3018 July 2013
Short Circuit is a good movie with a good storyline and a decent but not fantastic cast.I watched the movie because my mom always talked about it as a fond movie she remembers as a child,but it definitely wouldn't hold up today,the effects and especially the acting is very cheesy,but its almost impossible not to fall in love with Number 5,he's a very funny and lovable character.I wasn't impressed with the cast,however,I did enjoy G.W. Bailey's performance,I really enjoyed his asshole that he proved from Police Academy that he can pull it off very well.Short Circuit is a very fun movie that the whole family can enjoy.

After the fifth member of a group of robots is electrocuted,he forms human feelings and emotions,and escapes his organisation with no intention of returning.
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5/10
Can't decide if it's a crude comedy or kid's movie
robotbling12 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
(www.plasticpals.com) Short Circuit is one of the most beloved robot-related movies of all time. More than 20 years have passed since I had last seen it, so it was with cautious optimism that I selected it on Netflix. I have fond memories of it, but I was just a kid then. Now, I can see it falls into just about every pitfall of the comedies that characterized the '80s. It closely follows the sappy E.T. formula, where an innocent, otherworldly creature is hunted by the heartless military authorities. So this is definitely a kid's film… or is it? It stars the contemptible Steve Gutternberg (who hasn't starred in anything worthwhile since), as a carefree roboticist, and Ally Sheedy of The Breakfast Club gets caught in the middle as the animal-loving girl who can't find a trustworthy man. Notably, Fisher Stevens rounds out the cast as a racist "brown face" East Indian character with a thick accent. He's full of off-putting sexual innuendos, which kind of tars the film's family-friendly image. But there's enough slapstick gags based on The Three Stooges that Short Circuit is clearly appealing to a younger audience.

The undeniable star of the show is Number 5, a prototype built by the NOVA company for the military. It was designed by the legendary concept artist Syd Mead (who gave us the TRON lightcycles and Blade Runner's spinners, among others). It's a fantastic looking robot puppet, and was one of the most sophisticated movie props ever built. It's expressive eyes are enough to melt any robot junkie's heart, even if it's primary objective is to nuke the Soviets. Hit by a jolt of lightning after an explosive demonstration of the robot squad's firepower, Number 5 inexplicably becomes self-aware and shows incredible intelligence and curiosity. It's a far cry from the complex and semi-believable explanations made by smarter science fiction, but it's just one of those things you have to go along with for the sake of the plot.

Of course, all hell breaks loose when Number 5 inadvertently escapes from NOVA's lab. It's absolute nonsense with few if any laughs, but it's still sort of fun to watch out of curiosity. One can't help but notice the similarity between Number 5 and certain real robots developed since then. I'm sure I'll probably make a lot of people angry by saying so, but Short Circuit hasn't exactly aged well. It's one of the few examples of robots on film where the robot isn't a villain, so at least it has that going for it. It's practically required viewing if you're into robots, but unless you're on a serious nostalgia kick you're probably better off skipping it and watching WALL-E again instead.
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7/10
A consistently entertaining piece of 80s fun.
BA_Harrison6 September 2008
Looking like a cross between a mechanical ET and a prototype Wall•E, Johnny 5, the robotic hero of John Badham's Short Circuit, is a top-secret, multi million dollar piece of army hardware that comes 'alive' when he is accidentally zapped by a bolt of lightning. After escaping the high-tech facility where he was designed and built (by Steve Guttenberg, of all people!!!), Number 5 meets animal-lover Stephanie (Ally Sheedy), absorbs huge amounts of information from her books and television, and learns that life is precious—especially his own.

Oozing 80s style from every frame, Short Circuit might be an extremely dated movie (check out the computers that feature in the film—a Mac classic is seen being unpacked!) but it still manages to be a whole load of fun thanks to its likable characters and a pretty funny script. I just finished watching the DVD with my kids (aged 7 and 5), and we all had a great time: I particularly enjoyed the sense of nostalgia I got from watching a 'pre-internet, pre-mobile phone era' piece of cheesy sci-fi from my youth, whilst the children just lapped up the silly antics of Johnny 5.

Badham might not be the most stylish of directors, but he can always be relied upon to deliver a solidly entertaining film, and although this one isn't packed with state of the art special effects (even for the time), sometimes the action is rather weak (the 'high speed' chase scenes look rather slow to me), and Fisher Stevens' portrayal of an Asian is rather dubious, it's still worth a try. Even if Guttenberg is in it.
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