Film (1986). Turman-Foster/Tri-Star. Directed by John Badham. Written by S S Wilson, Brent Maddock. Cast includes Steve Guttenberg, Brian McNamara, Ally Sheedy and Fisher Stevens. 98 minutes. Colour.
Military Robot Number Five, a prototype killing machine, is struck by lightning which endows it with sentience. It escapes from evil Nova Robotics, finding refuge with nice animal-lover Stephanie (Sheedy), who assumes it to be an Alien. It educates itself and is winsome. When she finds it is a robot she turns it in, but has second thoughts and helps save it from deactivation. Short Circuit's assumption that, with a bit of divine aid, even a Weapon will turn to peace and love is pleasantly silly. Short Circuit is amusing but formulaic, and the robot is nauseatingly cute; the film is much weaker than Badham's Blue Thunder and Wargames. The novelization is Short Circuit (1986) by Colin Wedgelock, a pseudonym of Christopher Priest. The displeasing sequel is Short Circuit 2 (1988), directed by Kenneth Johnson, who normally directs for television (The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk), and stars Fisher Stevens again as the Indian co-inventor of the robot, played in an offensively patronizing Peter Sellers-style Indian accent. This is a caper movie in which Number Five (now Johnny Five) is duped into helping criminals out with a jewel robbery. [PN]
see also: Cinema.
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