Evolver

Remember Virtual Reality?  You know, the game where you’d put on a helmet and hold a controller and it would look like you were actually in this low resolution polygonal game?  It was pretty big in the early 90’s, so much so that there were a few movies made about the fad.  Evolver is one of those movies, and it’s the name of the game that’s played.  Ethan Embry (as Ethan Randall) is one of the best evolver players, and he gets awarded a real robot that will play with him anytime he likes.   The robot learns after each round, and adapts to try to beat his opponent.  While it sounds like an awesome robot, the robot isn’t satisfied with shooting out foam balls and darts anymore, it wants to learn how to kill.

While playing at a local arcade evolver game tournament, Kyle (Embry) is gets to level 4 where he’s defeated by the evolver because a new player entering the match disrupts his concentration.  That player is Jamie Saunders (Cassidy Rae), a new girl in town who doesn’t realize that there’s a tournament taking place.  After an arguement, Kyle goes home with his friend Zack, and they try to hack into the mainframe of Cybertronix, the company that makes evolver, so they can see what place Kyle finished at.  Zack wants him to change his score so he can win the robot, but Kyle tells him that he doesn’t want to do that, he just wanted to see where he finished.

The next day, some people from the Cybertronix stop by Kyle’s house to present him with a certificate, and to let him know that he won the tournament, so he’s the winner of this little janky robot that will play evolver in real life… The robot is also known as the Evolver.  After extensive testing by it’s creator, Russell Bennett (John de Lancie) lets them know that this little robot is state of the art, and it will learn from it’s surroundings, eventually becoming even more efficient in taking out it’s competition.  It has 4 levels of play, and after each level, it will evolve into a new opponent.

After Kyle, Zack and Jamie play a game and defeat the Evolver, they dismiss it as simply a toy, but it starts to learn.  It watches violent television shows and learns about human nature, and it learns brutality.  After a few people end up dead, including a student at Kyle’s school, Jamie and Kyle start to become suspicious of the Evolver.  Soon they find out that they’ll have to beat the Evolver at it’s own game, but they’ll have to do it before Kyle’s own sister and mother become it’s latest victim.

Sean: Nothing beats cheesy virtual reality action.  Just add it into a movie and you’ve instantly dated it to a time period where future generations will laugh at your film instantly.  Technology has jumped by leaps and bounds, but you still look like you’re trapped in the era of Sega CD games.  Despite that, I thought Evolver was actually pretty fun.  Who doesn’t dream about having their own robot?  I think it would be pretty rad to be able to play some shooting game with a crappy robot that looks like the top half of the robot from Saturn 3, complete with one crappy claw arm, and the other one that shoots nerf balls, which can eventually accommodate steak knives.  Too bad it has really bad aim when it comes to shooting at the main characters.  Come to think of it, the robot was eerily similar to the ones in Chopping Mall

Raz:Yeah, I really did not understand how a robot could have such horrible aim.  It is a frickin robot, they build cars with super precision they should be able to kill with the same performance.  Plus that was one fairly stupid looking robot.  With it’s horrible aim and limited mobility there should not have been much of a challenge killing this thing.  I think R.O.B. the Nintendo robot could have taken that piece of shit out.  Sorry, if I won that thing I would have been pretty disappointed.

Sean: Man, hacking into computer networks back in the day must have been easy, because it only took these two dudes about 3 minutes to get connected and get into the system.  Programming a robot however, was still difficult, because lines and lines of coding go by and they don’t even give a crap about going back to look at any of it.  What, this robot was made for killing people, eh, big deal, let’s go ride around on my scooter and make out and stuff!  And Kyle’s friend Zack was a sleazy dude.  I don’t think I’d want to hang around some guy who’s basically just using me to make money by trying to exploit my robot by using it’s camera feature to take pictures of chicks naked in the locker room, or by taking bets on me playing video games.

Raz: The camera was the only redeeming factor of the robot, why not exploit it to get some nice girls locker room videos.  Mission “Snatch Snatch” was for a very honorable and noble cause.  Yeah…  I really didn’t know what to think about that portion of the movie.  It is one thing to have the robots record some naked women sauntering around in the gym locker room.  There is one problem though, these were high school girls sauntering around naked.  Hopefully those girls were over 18.  I guess it’s not child pornography when the people selling the videos are under age also.

Sean: The acting by the main characters I thought was pretty good, but John de Lancie (Q from Star Trek) has never been a favorite of mine.  He always hams it up, and I was glad to see him meet his demise.  Most of the rest of the cast was pretty bad, too.  I did like the movie as a whole though, and could see myself actually watching this one again.  I didn’t think the special effects were bad for the time, and even though virtual reality is pretty cheese, If I would have seen this in 1995 when it came out I probably would have been impressed, especially if I watched Brainscan first and then watched this.  I’d give Evolver 3.5 balled bearings out of 5.

Raz: This movie was so lame that I liked it.  You can’t go wrong with a lame ass robot trying to kill a bunch of high school teenagers.  The acting was cheesy and the story was pretty bad but that is what makes it so good.  The movie would make a great drinking game.  Every time the robot misses a shot you take a shot.  It is guaranteed that you will be extremely fucked up before the movie ends.  I will give Evolver 3 Snatch Snatches out of 5.

Evolver is available on VHS and DVD from Amazon.com

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnAGNxZ7tjU]

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