Friday, November 17, 2017

WHAT AM I WATCHING THIS WEEK? - Edition 10: 11/17

This week's streaming selections on Amazon Prime should be very familiar. They all come from the year 1993 and are nowhere to be found on Netflix. Movie lovers rejoice, because there are options out there for your needs. This week, we have the final installment of a well-known trilogy, a Stephen King adaptation and a sci-fi film that is based on alleged actual events.

RoboCop 3 - The third and final installment of the RoboCop trilogy. Robert John Burke steps in for Peter Weller, and the difference is really night and day. Where Weller brought some humanity to everyone's favorite crime-fighting cyborg, Burke is much more robotic. The OCP corporation gets much more evil in its machinations here, with Rip Torn now standing in as CEO. They're losing money, see; so now it's time to pull no punches, as they attempt to forcefully remove citizens from their homes so that they can bulldoze inner-city neighborhoods and create Delta City. Circumstances see RoboCop joining forces with an underground resistance to take on OCP and their brutal enforcers. There is also time to throw in robot samurai warrior into the whole shebang. Much maligned by critic and fans alike, RoboCop 3 isn't all bad, but it certainly brought the trilogy to an unsatisfactory end.

The Dark Half - The late, great zombie genre master George Romero directed this big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The story concerns a writer, Thad Beaumont (played by Timothy Hutton), who decides to figuratively "bury" his alternate pen name "George Stark". It turns out, however, that it's not as easy as it sounds, as "Stark" is fully alive and murdering anyone that participated in the "burial". Of course, suspicion falls on Thad and he attempts to clear his name while simultaneously dealing with "Stark". The film attempts to explain how the alternate identity came to be but that is the biggest issue with this movie: it fails to really, convincingly explain anything. Hutton's performance as "George Stark" is great, however. Stephen King film completists, this is the movie for you. For everyone else, proceed with caution.

Fire in the Sky - Based on an alleged alien encounter, as detailed in the book The Walton Experience by Travis Walton, played in the film by D.B. Sweeney. Six loggers witness a UFO sighting while working in the forest of Snowflake, AZ. Walton gets out to investigate and disappears, leaving his comrades to get their stories straight for the authorities, who are led by James Garner. There is suspicion, of course, that the one or more of the guys killed Walton and are concocting the UFO story to cover up. However, when Travis suddenly returns, things get even stranger. The movie is mostly concerned with crew leader Mike Rogers (played by Robert Patrick) and the lives of his crew after the fact. Near the end of the film, Travis has a flashback to his time on the alien ship, which is the best part of the film. The set design and special effects here are the highlight. The film takes the side of "yes, there are aliens" rather than remain impartial, so believability is up to the viewer. As a stand alone film, this is a solid entry in the sci-fi realm.

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