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Screamers (Bilingual)

Peter Weller , Roy Dupuis , Christian Duguay    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 68.99
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Despite the obvious, superficial similarities to movies like Aliens or the 1982 version of The Thing, this sci-fi/horror thriller is definitely aiming for something more profound. The story is set in the distant future on a colonized mining planet. The planet has been caught in a civil war for years, the population of both sides reduced to living in bunkers in a constant state of siege. When they realize that Earth has betrayed both sides and is uninterested in resolving the conflict, the leader of one side (Peter Weller) decides to set out across no-man's land to negotiate peace with the other side. He takes with him a green recruit (Andy Lauer) and picks up a war orphan along the way. Unfortunately, both sides have been relying on Screamers-automated killer robots that can adopt human forms as disguises-that are now out of control and out to kill all humans, no matter which side they're on. This leads to paranoia and uncertainty about who's really human when Weller's band meets up with the few survivors in the enemy camp (Jennifer Rubin and Roy Dupuis). Written by veteran Hollywood science fiction screenwriter Dan O'Bannon and Canadian Miguel Tejada-Flores and directed by Christian Duguay, it's based on the story "Second Variety" by writer Philip K. Dick. --D.K. Latta

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great science fiction movie Jan. 22 2004
Peter Weller is one of those actors you either love or hate. I know my opinions about him vary widely depending on which film I see him in. I thought "Buckaroo Banzai" a ridiculous waste of time largely because I couldn't stand Weller's smarmy performance as a brain surgeon/rock musician who takes time out to save the world. Even his turn as the doomed Officer Murphy in "Robocop" gives the audience little incentive to appreciate this actor, mainly because he undergoes the transformation into cyborg so rapidly. I admit I did enjoy his turn as a sadistic, drug dealing dad in "Firstborn." Then there is the 1995 science fiction film "Screamers," a movie where Weller really comes into his own as a gruff, laconic soldier attempting to battle his way off a distant planet. Based on a book from the science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick, "Screamers" is definitely a low budget film, but it is one of the more effective B movies I have seen recently.
The age-old battle between management and labor finally erupts into open warfare when the corporations involved in mining operations on distant planets decide to strike back when miners refuse to work after a spate of radiation induced deaths. The managers--now formed into an economic bloc called the NEB--decided to retaliate with atomic strikes on mining bases on Sirius 6-B, thereby turning the planet into a desolate plain populated by increasingly diminishing numbers of soldiers on both sides. The commander of the "good" guys, if there are any good guys, is Hendricksson (Weller), a miner turned soldier rapidly tiring of the attrition warfare raging on the planet. A message that the war may soon be over allows Hendricksson and his men a brief respite from their miseries until a shuttle crash lands near their base.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy To Miss The Point June 6 2002
Another reviewer here attributes the story on which this movie is based to "Andrew K. Dick". Well, at least he got it part right. Philip K. Dick wrote a short story called Second Variety a few decades ago, and it is on his interesting idea that this movie is based.
Philip K. Dick has been adapted before. Movies like Blade Runner [Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?], Total Recall [We Can Remember It For You Wholesale], and in summer 2002 The Minority Report [same title] have thrilled audiences while not remaining entirely faithful to Dick's ideas [especially Total Recall, in which Paul Verhoven took huge liberties]. Screamers holds to the idea, but not the setting, of Dick's story. To understand this story you must understand the context and what was on Dick's mind: The US and USSR [keep in mind the time of writing] have finally done it. They have finally blown each other up, and the remnants on earth fight it out in a style reminiscent of WWI. The US develops mechanized standoff weapons called Claws [the Screamers of the movie] which kill in an indiscriminate fashion. US troops are protected by wrist bands which ward off the Claws. Because the Claws are built in wholly mechanized factories, Dick takes them to another level - that of designing new weapons of their own. The obvious happens: US and Soviet armies alike are now targets. The clever, signature Philip K. Dick twist comes when the protagonist of the story finally recognizes the fact that these mechanized killing machines, just as we humans, have developed the means to start killing each other. What irony.
This movie's telling is small, yes, and it is low budget. The story does not need glitz and special effects. The story, in order to be understood, requires perspective and a recognition of what is actually being examined. Human folly is the tale here, and it is fairly well told. Enjoy this story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A blade runner style investigation of humanity May 31 2004
If you look at this movie as a version of "Aliens", you're missing most of the theme here. The movie isn't about "people fighting robots". It is how people initially create mindless devices to slay other humans. These devices grow on their own from spinning blades, to crawling lizards, to simple happy children, to "help me!" heart-string-tugging hurt soldiers, all the way up to Shakespeare-quoting men and real-love-feeling women.
When the robots reach that human-like point of development, they no longer simply focus on breeding and staying alive as a collective race. Now the ROBOTS start slaying each other for reasons that humans find all to understandable - love and personal desire.
Yes, there's the tension as you keep thinking "what will the NEXT robot look like". You begin to examine the actions of each character, wondering if he or she is a robot too. The line between "real human" and "mechanical device" becomes blurred. At one point Hendricksson grabs Jessica's hand and slices it open on purpose, to see if she really is human or a robot. She bleeds, and he apologizes profusely - leading to them falling in love. But of course the blood was fake - this was merely the next evolution in the robot progression. And it brings to mind the classic line, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" (Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 1). Given the large number of other Shakespeare quotes in the movie, the symbolism was quite apt.
It was impressive that Hendricksson treats the people around him with casual disregard many times - but the robots are showing emotions. The humans are often brusque and untalkative - but the robots make insightful comments drawing from Shakespeare and other great thinkers.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 months ago by ti-lain
4.0 out of 5 stars sream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ers
I only saw half of this movie so um i will try to be perfect.
At first,I thought it would be real dumb belive me I say that alot.anyway...... Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Philip K. Dick Does It Again
A movie that I rented this weekend was Screamers staring Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis and Jennifer Rubin. Read more
Published on May 18 2004 by Joshua Koppel
4.0 out of 5 stars VISUAL STUNNER
THE STORY: Based on Philip Dick's short story, SCREAMERS plot becomes very convoluted at times, and I found myself wondering just what the heck was going on; however, as the movie... Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by Michael Butts
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
Quick -- name a motion picture based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and starring a tough guy who played a killer cyborg in a previous hit movie. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by John S. Ryan
4.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite movies
What i like about this movie is that it is what it would be like in the future except for the screamers of course. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2003 by Replicators@excite.com
3.0 out of 5 stars This is quite embarrassing
When I saw this (in the cinema) about 6 years ago, I had never actually been frightened by a movie before. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003 by L. Blain
1.0 out of 5 stars So very very bad
This is perhaps the worst movie of all time. Granted, I haven't seen every movie ever made, but it's just hard to imagine anything topping this monstrosity. Read more
Published on March 28 2002 by "phaedrus1980"
3.0 out of 5 stars More barking than screaming
Amiable Sci-Fi tosh set, surprise, surprise, on an inhospitable, barren planet. It's hard to follow the plot but there is some sort of war over mining rights and technological... Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2001 by Gary
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good for a cheap Sci-fi
SCREAMERS is that type of cheapo sci-fi film that is better than most big budget science fiction movies of its sort. It's loud, creepy, and sometimes very exciting. Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2001 by James Andresen
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