Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Radioactive Theatre: Cherry 2000

Another selection from the dead PA movie website. This time around it's the Melanie Griffith/Sam Treadwell vehicle, Cherry 2000 (1988). Enjoy!

Cast: David Andrews (Sam Treadwell), Melanie Griffith (E. Johnson), Tim Thomerson (Lester), Pamela Gidley (Cherry 2000)

Setting: 2017. A time when humanity has apparently become stupid and has forgotten how to manufacture certain high-tech equipment.

Violent Mutants Present: No

Plot: When Sam Treadwell’s robotic wife short-circuits, he journeys to lawless Zone Seven in search of the Robotic Graveyard. Assisted by a rough wasteland tracker, he seeks to find a new body for his beloved sex-toy, but a bandit leader has other plans for Cherry 2000’s personality chip.

Rating: 2 Nukes

With a title that sounds like a soft-core porn film, you can hardly watch Cherry 2000 expecting a great film. I first saw this film on Cinemax during my post-adolescent years and remembered it as being a somewhat entertaining film. Then again, I thought Hell Come to Frogtown was pretty good when I saw it in college (Warning: Watching certain films under chemical enhancement can color you perceptions of reality).

The film can be fun, especially if you go into it with no expectations (a trend which Hollywood seems to encourage). It’s hardly Mad Max, but keep an eye open for some familiar faces and learn to roll with the ridiculous.

The plot involves uptight, mid-management stooge Sam Treadwell (David Andrews), a man who loses his wife/sex-toy Cherry 2000 (Pamela Gidley) to an electrical accident involving a wet kitchen floor and some over-active hormones. When he learns he cannot get a new body to reinstall Cherry’s personality chip and “resurrect” his beloved robot, he journeys to the lawless zones in search of a replacement. Along the way, he teams up with a hard-as-nails tracker named E. Johnson (Melanie Griffith) and runs afoul of a wasteland despot named Lester (Tim Thomerson). I won’t ruin the ending, but I’m sure you can figure it out on your own.

If there’s any reason to rent this film, it’s Tim Thomerson. Many folks will recognize Thomerson from the Trancers series, Dollman, and about a hundred other B-movies. Thomerson can be hysterical as Lester. He rules his band of wasteland outlaws as a cross between a maniacal despot and a 1960’s sit-com dad. Dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and white fedora, Lester entertains his troops and unwitting guests in a potluck barbecue setting. His hideout looks like post-apocalyptic swingers' resort. Thomerson is just too much fun to watch.

Griffith, while being baby-doll cute, is just not believable as the hardened wasteland tracker. Her breathy, little girl voice counteracts any of her attempts to get the audience to accept her as a tough and rowdy desert rat. Andrews’ role as Treadwell almost makes you think that the movie might have been better if another actor played the lovesick corporate pawn. Maybe Steve Guttenberg, perhaps? Two other actors in this film deserve brief recognition. The first is Brion James (Bladerunner, Steel Dawn) as another tracker who Treadwell attempts to recruit. James is always fun to watch. If I were ever going to make a movie involving wrestling, James would be on my A-list to play the film’s heavy. The second actor is…Lawrence Fishburne. Yes, Cherry 2000 is pre-Othello. Keep an eye out for Fishburne’s brief appearance. First one to spot him is Lord of the Wasteland for the night.

Cherry 2000 Pros:

1) E. Johnson’s Ford. They don’t make cars like that anymore. Even if you’re not a gear-head, you’ll still want one for yourself.
2) Tim Thomerson. Tim Thomerson. Tim Thomerson.


1) As Joe Bob Briggs would say, “Gratuitous Rocket Launcher Fu”. Not only does every other bandit seem to have one, but they all went to the Imperial Stormtrooper Training Academy and Firing Range to learn how to aim them.
2) The dramatic crossing the river scene. We’re supposed to believe that she does this EVERY time she wants to cross the friggin’ river?


edowar39 said...

Ah, Cherry 2000, a favorite from my youth. I rewatched it recently on Netflix and still found it entertaining, even with all the problems you mention. And Melanie Griffith, while incredibly good looking, just can't act (at least, not in this movie). Still, it's a fun movie to watch when you're in the mood for a decent PA B-movie.

Ed Green

JDJarvis said...

Man oh man, I must disagree. The wife and I caught this in the past year or so, we watched the whole thing because we couldn't believe how bad it was. It's given us a comparison point to measure other films against.

The wife just said "it made every other film better"