Year: 1984

Production: Tri-Star / Delphi III

Director: Michael Crichton

Starring: Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley

Screenwriter: Michael Crichton

97 minutes; Color

Crichton again exercises his love/hate relationship with machines in this predictable but exciting thriller about a policeman whose job is to deal with defective robots. He is pitted against an evil businessman who is deliberately making mechanical killers (by reprogramming household robots) and can deploy heat-seeking bullets personalized to their targets.

Crichton's main theme, as ever, is that machinery tends always go wrong; his subtext is that humans, too, are usually defective, thus creating the typical Crichtonian gloom that may have prevented him gaining lasting box-office success. However, he seems fond of his mutinous machines, and the best parts of this robot-saturated movie are affectionate observations of the little beasts at work.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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