A lonely, misunderstood, android, Max 404 (Don Keith Opper) must service eccentric master Dr. Daniel (Klaus Kinski). Dr. Daniel is in the process of assembling the perfect woman. Max overhears Dr. Daniels on the radio stating that once this is accomplished, Max will no longer be necessary and be dissin-Maxed.
Max logs to go to Earth. It looks like his opportunity has come as the space outpost that he is occupying is going to be visited by what sounds to be a woman. Sure enough, three dubious characters one of which is a woman Maggie (Brie Howard) visit the spaceship. This also gives Max a learning opportunity and provides the missing element for leering Dr. Daniels female experiments.
I get the feeling that people are going to die. Will Max learn his lesson or become an electronic pile? Will Maggie become lunch or find out what you can do with a flashlight? In any case, let us hope the new blonde beautiful android (Kendra Kirchner) is not following Frankenstein's footsteps.
--------------------------------------------------------- The movie is okay for an independent movie is fun to watch and its middle-of-the-road sci-fi. The real fun in this movie is looking at the dated equipment and video games. Oh yes there is little bit of flesh but not enough to squelch the G. rating.
You will absolutely want to listen to the voice over commentary as it adds depth to the movie viewing experience.
Fun, and actual thoughtful sci-fi. It has that dark, sci-fi 80's feel to it, complete with the pinging electronic musical score. Klaus Kinski in my opinion, has a strong screen presence, and just by his presence makes the movie better. I think that sci-fi is a genre that you like or don't like, there are few fence sitters it seems when it comes to sci-fi as a genre. If you like the genre, then I would suggest seeing this if you haven't already.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
murder is a serious crime maxFeb. 28 2000
Matthew D. Phillips
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A fave from my teenage years - this is a charming and intelligent sci-fi B-movie with good peformances from all involved. Klaus Kinski plays a wayward nutty frankenstienesque scientist living alone on a space station with his android servant: Max 404, a bumbling android who yearns to know what it means to be human. Kinski believes himself to be on the brink of a major breakthrough but the corporation are about to pull the plug on his dodgy experiments. Enter three escaped convicts that fly into their airspace whilst on the run from the law - when Kinski learns there is a woman on board he allows them to stay as she would be ideal for his grand experiment. Max too is fascinated with her - queue many humourous, touching and tragic moments and a great minimal synth soundtrack - this film is a little known sci-fi gem with a heart - just don't expect star wars!
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Much more than human...Oct. 16 2004
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Androids... automatons that are created from biological materials and resemble humans...from Fritz Land's 1927 classic Metropolis to Ridley Scott's 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner, the notion of artificial life becoming more human than human has long been an interesting and somewhat neglected aspect of science fiction genre within film (personally, I think the main interest in this type of technology is put forth by men wanting to create their ideal woman and perform whatever sick, twisted desires lie within their perverted, depraved souls...I mean a woman who will do whatever you want, whenever you want and not complain about you leaving the toilet seat up? Free will is certainly a wonderful thing, but it shouldn't get in the way of having a good time).
Android (1983), directed by Aaron Lipstadt, whose primary work afterwards has been on TV shows like Miami Vice, The Equalizer, and Quantum Leap to name a few, stars the talented, but entirely creepy and obtusely intense Klaus Kinksi (Crawlspace) along with Brie Howard (Tapeheads), Norbert Weisser (Midnight Express), Crofton Hardester (The Devastators), and Don Keith Opper (Critters) as Max 404. Not only did Don have a starring role in the film, but he also wrote it...
The film mainly takes place on a fairly deserted deep space research station, once bustling with life, but now home only to Dr. Daniel (Kinski) and his android companion/man servant Max 404. Dr. Daniel has been feverishly working on a new prototype droid, one much more advanced than Max (all this work is done in secret out in space as due to a past incident on Earth involving rebellious androids and the killing of many humans, androids have been outlawed...at least that's the gist of what I got). Anyway, life is pretty quite on the station, and Max is growing bored. That soon changes as three escaped convicts, hijacking a prison shuttle ship, seek refuge on board the station due to a damaged engine. Dr, Daniel sees this as a prime opportunity as he's been needing a compatible female (no, no...not what you're thinking...) to use in some weird way to juice up his newest android, one with female characteristics..some sort of biological jumpstart...and one of the three escaped prisoners just happens to fit the bill. Max, who just recently learned of some disturbing news regarding his own future, decides to try and see if, once the they get the engine to the damaged shuttle craft fixed, the escapees will allow him to tag along to Earth, but they have other plans, and given that they are convicted criminals, you can imagine they involve something less than of an altruistic nature. There's a certain pathos to Max, one of a being forced into existence, now trying to find his place in a society that sees him as less than what he is...
I have to say, this film pleasantly surprised me, as it was better than I thought. I really enjoyed the acting throughout, especially that of Opper. He presents a wonderfully naïve character, one with limited human contact, very awkward, but eager to learn and please. His efforts to develop human characteristics come out in interesting and quirky ways, much like that of a child trying to emulate what he observes through interaction with his elders. Oppers naturally buck teeth seemed in opposition to that of a created being, as such apparent physical aspects wouldn't seem to be something one would incorporate into a constructed being, but then that's just my own opinion. Opper does a great job making the audience believe he is what he's supposed to be, an awkward, clumsy, sometimes shy artificial man. Kinski's role seemed less than I thought it would be, as his character seemed secondary to the rest, especially since he seems to be used a lot in the promotion of the film. He is the biggest name in the production, so obviously the makers of the film wanted to capitalize on that, even though his part was somewhat small. I will say he seemed awfully creepy (some would say eccentric, but to me, I would call it creepy perverted), especially when working with his new female construct ("She vill be da perfect voman!") and his voyeuristic tendencies, but then just about any film I've seen him in, he seems to exude a sort of European creep/sleaze factor, one akin to a Jess Franco film...maybe it's those bug eyes and his lack of blinking. At first his character seemed to pursue his work with purely scientific goals in mind, but then that changed later on, becoming a bit freaky. The sets are decent, for the time, and look like sets and props used in the television show Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century (1979), starring Gil Gerald. The film had an early 80's feel, the sets, the music, etc., with a late 70's sensibility, the sexual aspects, the brief nudity, etc. I liked the little bits of humor, along with a smattering of originality, as it seemed to `humanize' the film, stretching it beyond just a standard science fiction type thriller to something more. Does it work? For the most part...it's an odd, multi-faceted story, simple, yet complex within the characters and their motivations. And in the middle of it all is Max, with the pure and simple desire to exist and become much more than human.
Anchor Bay Entertainment, a leading company in releasing the more obscure films to DVD, movies that would otherwise probably never see the light of day past a previous VHS release, presents beautiful wide screen picture here. The colors are sharp and the picture is clear. The audio is also very good, coming through very well. As far as special features, provided is a theatrical trailer for the film, along with an audio commentary track by the director Aaron Lipstadt and writer/actor Don Keith Opper. Given that this was the first film by both men, I was highly impressed and certainly pleased by their efforts.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
One of Corman's better entriesOct. 21 2005
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When I saw that the 1982 film "Android" came out on DVD, I knew I needed to take a look. I have recollections of watching this movie on cable back in the early 1980s, but I remembered almost nothing about it. It's a movie brought to us by Roger Corman, the man behind the 1980 B budget space opera "Battle Beyond the Stars." It's a film starring Klaus Kinski. And it's a movie that shamelessly rips off "Star Wars," "Blade Runner," and probably a half dozen other science fiction flicks of the time. Oh yeah! The presence of Kinski alone makes "Android" required viewing in these parts. I'm a big fan of the man with the golden hair and penetrating gaze, and I'll go out of my way to dig up virtually any film that has Kinski bringing his unique presence to the story. Sadly, Kinski disappears for large parts of the movie, but that's acceptable. He's as weird as always when he does take the time to show up. Besides, the rest of the story manages to hold the viewer's interest entirely independent of the manic Kinski. The words "interest" and "Roger Corman" don't often go together, but "Android" somehow pulls it off.
"Android" opens in a galaxy far, far away...well, somewhere in California where you can shoot a film on the cheap. It's set well into the 21st century when humanity has extended its reach across the solar system. Mankind has also managed to perfect the art of building androids, high performance machines that look and act like humans. Of course, some problems arose with the androids, problems requiring a ban on building new prototypes on earth, so companies now engage in secret research on floating space stations. That's where the movie takes place, with a scientist by the name of Dr. Daniel (Klaus Kinski) and his android servant Max 404 (Don Keith Opper billed as "Himself" in the credits). It's lonely in space, so Max 404 spends most of his time playing games and looking at pictures of human activity. He seems to yearn for knowledge about the human race, wants to interact with people on earth, but Dr. Daniel won't let him. It's far more important to stay in space working on a new android system--a female model called Cassandra (Kendra Kirchner)--than waste time with sentimental yearnings. But Max is about to receive a present in the form of three weary space travelers, and he'll have tough decisions to make.
These three wanderers are actually escaped convicts desperate to return to earth. Maggie (Brie Howard), Keller (Norbert Weisser), and Mendes (Crofton Hardester) need to land on the space station to elude their pursuers and repair their ship. They attempt to pose as legitimate travelers, not easy when you're a raving psychopath like Mendes, but the three quickly become part of the space station's daily routine. Max 404 is fascinated with his visitors, especially the attractive Maggie, and in no time at all he's excited about the prospect of joining the trio and returning to earth with them. Dr. Daniel has other plans. In a plot twist lifted from every mad scientist film ever made, at least any involving women, he needs Maggie's "feminine essence" to complete his Cassandra project. Everyone onboard, it seems, wants something from someone else. Events come to a head when a ship full of intergalactic cops arrives at the station seeking to come aboard and arrest the convicts. What will Max do? Will he report this development to Dr. Daniel, as his programming requires? Or will he try to cover for the criminals in the hope that Maggie and company will acquiesce and take Max to earth?
It's difficult not to like "Android." The special effects and set pieces aren't bad at all considering the low budget. To pull off a science fiction film set in space on a meager budget is a task most filmmakers fail miserably at (look at the Italian post-apocalyptic actioners for proof of this assertion), but director Aaron Lipstadt makes the low rent production values work for him by eschewing lots of action scenes in favor of placing the characters center stage. Opper hits a homerun as the curious Max 404, coming across as a simple child who learns to grow up and make tough decisions quite quickly. Brie Howard is hot in an early 1980s way, and her dinner scene with the odd Kinski ranks as one of the film's finest moments. Perhaps the film's only downfall involves the twist ending, which I thought was a bit too contrived and gimmicky considering what we saw in the previous hour. Oh well. The filmmakers probably thought they needed one of those "Aha!" moments so typical with low budget movies. "Android" works extremely well as a character study about freedom, needs, and the connections between people that they shouldn't have resorted to standard science fiction cliches to end the film.
Anchor Bay did an outstanding job bringing "Android" to DVD. The picture quality is good for such an old, cheap film. Extras include a commentary track with Lipstadt and Don Keith Opper (who also wrote the script) and a trailer. The commentary track talks about something that every film starring Klaus Kinski should cover: how difficult it was to work with the mercurial actor. Kinski is a legend in the film community for his over the top outbursts, and it's nice to know that this picture was no exception. Anyway, "Android" is an entertaining film that I would definitely watch again. It's got an intriguing plot, good execution, and looks great on DVD. Definitely pick up a copy if you're a science fiction fan.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Hooray for Anchor Bay!Oct. 28 2004
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Obscure but worthwhile 1982 sci-fi from the Roger Corman stable that benefits from a better-than-average script than what you usually expect from a low-budget studio. Klaus Kinski portrays a Dr. Frankenstein (of sorts) living alone on a space station with his "homemade" manservant, the android Max. Max is played in a quirky, almost charming fashion by Don Opper (who also scripted). When Max innocently overhears that the good doctor is planning to dismantle him so he can concentrate on perfecting his next generation model, (a female,of course) he starts "acting out", much to Kiniski's chagrin. Complicating matters are three recently-escaped felons who easily con Max into giving them safe haven on the doctor's space station. "Metropolis" was the most obvious touchstone here, but observant sci-fi buffs will also detect echoes of "Silent Running" and "Bladerunner". Beware the packaging blurbs that bill this as a wacky comedy. There are comic moments (some unintentional, from either Kinski's over-acting or the rest of the cast's relative inexperience), but there is enough real violence to qualify it more as a "dramedy". Barely screened as a theatrical release in 1982 (a few second-tier international film festivals at best) and long out-of-print on VHS, "Android" has slowly picked up a cult following over the years, mostly from the odd 3am cable showing throughout the 80's. As the director and writer point out on the commentary, if this film had been released in today's more "indie-friendly" environment, it would have enjoyed much more mileage. DVD transfer is excellent. Kudos again to Anchor Bay, one of the few re-issue studios that seems tapped into the zeitgiest of the true film collector.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Do Androids Dream of Deception, Sex, and Murder?Nov. 24 2008
Michael R Gates
- Published on Amazon.com
As any true fan of science fiction will tell you, special FX alone do not a good science-fiction movie make. Now don't get me wrong--dazzling special FX can be really cool and entertaining. But if an SF movie consists solely of high-dollar, well-executed FX, then it's nothing more than a pretty picture. It's compelling eye-candy, sure, but it has no real substance. SF is a genre of intellectual substance. So first and foremost, good SF films are built on intriguing ideas that are then wrapped in an engaging story. If the film also has skilled actors, ones who can create sympathetic characters to whom viewers can relate and thereby vicariously experience the story ideas, then it's more than a good SF flick--it's a GREAT SF flick. And this is often true even if the special FX are mediocre. 1982's ANDROID, directed by Aaron Lipstadt, is one of those great SF flicks. Well, okay, so maybe it's not GREAT. But it certainly is a damned good SF flick, in spite of the cheesy FX.
The primary thing that makes ANDROID a damned good SF flick is that the script is very well written and contains some pretty thought-provoking ideas. It tells the story of an android, name of Max 404 (Don Opper, who also co-wrote the script), who lives and works on a somewhat derelict space station with only the companionship of his self-centered and egotistical creator, Dr. Daniel (Klaus Kinski). As an android, Max is your typical Pinocchio type, studying human culture and dreaming of visiting Earth and becoming a real "boy." Unfortunately for Max, Dr. Daniel is working on a new generation of android that will render Max obsolete. It seems that androids have been outlawed on Earth because of a malfunction that resulted in an uprising against their human masters, and Dr. Daniel hopes to restore his reputation, as well as the legal status of androids, by creating a better, more fool-proof android. Once he achieves success, Daniel plans to deactivate Max and return to Earth. However, Daniel's plans are thwarted and Max's dreams pushed back within his grasp when the space station receives an unexpected visit from three strangers.
As in the case with many androids in SF stories, Max faces a constant dilemma between his duty to his creator and his desire to become more human. But what raises ANDROID above the standard cliche is that the story is not about how Max strives to achieve his humanity; rather, it is about what Max does with the humanity he has already acquired. Soon after the film begins, things happen that make it clear that Max has already become human without even realizing it. Or he has at least developed characteristics that are clearly human-like and therefore raise him far above the level of mere machine. For example, he shows signs that he is capable of desire, love, loneliness, jealousy, and an appreciation for the arts, and he even questions the idea of blind faith in his creator. And it is made equally clear that, like some humans do, Max can also lie, cheat, and manipulate others. Indeed, he even commits murder in order to achieve his goals and fulfill his desires.
Because it was released the same year as Ridley Scott's more famous android flick BLADE RUNNER, some fans and critics tend to decry ANDROID as an inferior imitation, but both the comparison and the depreciation are unfair. Based on the sardonic novella DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? by Philip K. Dick, BLADE RUNNER is essentially a critique of human society that questions both human ethics and the various stratification systems prevalent in most (if not all) human social structures. ANDROID, on the other hand, ponders the nature of humanity itself and questions what it means to be human. Where BLADE RUNNER says that we humans are often wrong in our treatment of both our fellow humans and other intelligent beings, ANDROID hints that some of those very foibles, as well as our decisions to either embrace or reject them, are part of what makes us human. In many ways, ANDROID is much more thought-provoking, and way less preachy, than BLADE RUNNER.
The second thing that makes ANDROID a damned good SF flick is the acting. In his portrayal of the Frankenstein-like robotics scientist Dr. Daniel, Klaus Kinski restrains his usual over-the-top intensity and delivers a very believable performance. As Max 404, Don Opper acheives the necessary balance of naive innocence and unfettered cunningness to make the android both a sympathetic character and a scary reflection of humanity gone askew. Although her part is small, the beautiful Kendra Kirchner is frightening as the mechanically icy Cassandra, Dr. Daniel's "ultimate" android. And supporting actors Brie Howard and Norbert Weisser, who play two of the unexpected visitors to the space station, are very good. Only Crofton Hardester, playing the sociopathic third visitor, takes his performance a few notches too far over the top, but he's not bad enough to spoil the overall production.
Yes, ANDROID is a product of low-budget king Roger Corman's New World Pictures, so the sets and the special FX in ANDROID lean towards the cheesy end of the scale. It has long been rumored that film's sets were leftovers from another New World cheapie, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980)--although this is disputed by Lipstadt and Opper in the DVD commentary, the sets do look strangely familiar--and most of the computer-screen FX in the film are clearly lifted straight off the screens of early 8-bit microcomputer consumer products like Vectrex video games and Commodore 64 computers. Still, the writing and characterization are so strong that the cheesy FX detract little from ANDROID's overall substance and convincing verisimilitude.
Anchor Bay's DVD release of ANDROID presents the film in anamorphic widescreen at its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The digital transfer is reasonably clear and crisp, with vibrant colors and few noticeable filmic artifacts, and the original mono audio comes through very nicely on the Dolby 2.0 two-speaker soundtrack. Bonus features include an interesting feature commentary with director Lipstadt and star and co-writer Opper, as well as the original theatrical trailer. At amazon.com's reasonable price of admission, ANDROID should be in the collections of all fans of compelling SF cinema.