Friday, June 30, 2006

Major Input!

Major Input
Short Circuit 2 (1988) directed by Kenneth Johnson
Ben Jahrvi (Fisher Stevens) trying to make his way in a metropolis city has landed in a predicament. Jahrvi has a sneaky “business partner Fred Ritter (Michael McKean) who has borrowed money from a bookie, hired homeless people as employers all to make 1,000 robots in 30 days for a department store. Jahrvi and Ritter find themselves in luck with “Johnny 5” comes to visit Jahrvi in the city, ultimately helping them produce the toy robots.
The Sci-Fi side of this film is what will keep you watching. Short Circuit 2 is a sequel to Short Circuit – the creation of robots as defense weapons. “Johnny 5 is alive” and becomes the major character for the sequel.

The side stories of business scheming, romance and “making it in the US” seem to get lost in the film. The criminal storyline and how Johnny 5 is the hero will take over – but the kids will love it. Johnny 5 is exciting to watch and listen too as he offers a definition to everything! His speed reading and constant request for “input” is hilarious – no one can handle that much in one day!

Director Kenneth Johnson does an excellent job offering a variety of characters in this film as well as covering all spectrums of race and classes. He presents some taboo topics of sexuality and the self help books epidemic that took over in the 80’s. Johnson’s approach to the affects television had on viewers is interesting. He displayed Mr. Rogers and some Western flicks – but then had Johnny repeating lines later in the movie. At one point a transformation takes place and Johnny 5 becomes Rambo 5.

The abuse towards Johnny 5 will tug at heartstrings, but the use of a robot as the heroic figure is new and exciting. Not sure the flick will carry viewers through time, and I would rate the first Short Circuit much better – but this will be one’s that kids will love and can watch with little concern from parents.

A great link:

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