Sunday, March 15, 2009


“Future Force” (*1/2 stars out of ****) qualifies as a cheesy, predictable, low-budget action crime saga that delivers no surprises and looks more like a modern-day, urban western rather than a futuristic tale about justice in Los Angeles. “Kill Bill” star David Carradine served as the associate producer so there is mystery as to why he appears in this tongue-in-cheek thriller, but the wonderful Robert Tessier of “The Longest Yard” provides the film with a few moments of fun. “Future Force” contains a modicum of nudity, and strippers chiefly furnish those fleeting moments in a bar named the DMZ where unsavory gun-totting civilian cops hang out between jobs. The special effects are really awful, with superimposed blue lines that spread like a spider web over whatever and laser beams that are straight blue lights. The biggest thing in his thriller occurs when a guy fires a LAWS rocket at a police helicopter and it vanishes in an explosion. The dialogue is forgettable, but “Jungle Assault” director David A. Prior keeps the mindless mayhem moving fast enough and shows a few interesting camera movements so “Future Force” doesn’t stall out.

The action unfolds with some lengthy exposition that sets up the world of “Future Force.” According to the narrator: “In the year 1991, crime in America was out of control. Prisons were overloaded. Police forces were understaffed. Gun battles in city streets became common place. No one was safe. The cities had become the battlefields of the future and the criminals were winning the war. The public demanded change and the government responded. Police departments across the country were shut down, and law enforcement was handed over to private enterprise. Civilian Operated Police Systems, Incorporated., took over. Within two years crime was under control. The price, however, was a heavy one. For justice as we once knew it had ceased to exist.”

Former L.A.P.D. officer John Tucker (a paunchy David Carradine) is one of the best in the business. He has acquired a bad reputation for not bringing in any prisoners alive. The Miranda-style statement that he utters to each lawbreaker is amusing. “You’ve committed a crime. You’re presumed guilty until proven innocent. You have the right to die. You choose to relinquish that right you’ll be placed under arrest and put in prison.” In his first encounter of many with a suspect, Tucker guns him down old West style in a fast draw showdown. The two other creeps that were with the suspect attack Tucker. He punches one in the balls and uses the club that they attacked him with to smash the other guy’s face. When these two try to escape, Tucker wields a huge bionic glove that he wears over his hand and forearm to stop them from fleeing the scene in their car. The power of this bionic glove is such that he can plant it onto the roof of the car and hold it in place when the driver floors the accelerator and the tires spin. When Tucke releases the car to check his computer in his Cherokee Chief truck, the felons try to run him down and Tucker uses the laser built into the glove to flip the car. When he learns from his computer whiz go-between, Billy that the two guys in the wrecked car were guilty only of parking tickets, Tucker shrugs and observes that they are going to be charged probably with another parking violation.

Tucker has an onboard computer in his truck and the computer nerd (D.C. Douglas) who keeps him posted with updates about new criminals and is confined to a wheelchair. Tucker accidentally shot him when Billy was a six-year old and Tucker and his partner responded to a crime call at the kid’s residence. Meanwhile, Jason Adams (William Zipp of “Operation Warzone”) is the Chief Executive Officer in Charge and he doesn’t have a qualm about killing people. The first time that we see him he has a rival tied up in a junk car. The rival begs Adams to let him go, but Adams sends him off to a car crushing machine to do a “Goldfinger” number on the guy. Becker (Robert Tessier of “The Longest Yard”) serves as Adams’ chief of security and he accompanies Adams anywhere. Adams is as corrupt as they come. He tries to get fifty percent of a mobster’s action, but the mobster, Grimes (Patrick Culliton of “Armed Response”), refuses to pay him. Eventually, the greedy Adams finds himself in a predicament when the Channel 3 News anchor girl, Marion Sims (Anna Rapagna of “The A-Team”), promises her viewers that she will feature an expose on Adams that concerns his illegal activities. An angry Adams has Becker put out an arrest warrant on Sims, but Billy intercepts it and channels it to Tucker and Tucker picks her up and tries to bring her in. Adams sends out other men to get the anchorwoman and Tucker guns down them. Adams has a warrant issued for Tucker and our hero finds himself on the run, too.

The best scene in “Future Force” involves Tucker’s use of the forearm glove. Just as Becker is about to shoot him, Tucker produces the remote control unit for the glove that he has refused to use and punches it up. The hatch of his Cherokee Chief flies up, the mechanical snap locks on the case pop open, and the bionic glove flies through the air and clamps onto Becker’s neck.

The screenplay by creator Thomas Baldwin and co-scenarist Prior is not without holes. After Adams calls criminal boss Grimes in for a conference and demands a 50 percent cut, we don’t see Grimes again until he shoots down a helicopter menacing our heroes. The irony about Sims is that she only reads the news copy.
Everything about this thriller is strictly routine, though Prior does handle some scene with a minimum of flair. A far better sequel “Future Zone” ensued in 1991 with Carradine reprising his heroic role as John Tucker, but Gail Jensen took over the role of Marion Sims that Anna Papagna had created. Patrick Culliton played another crime boss, but this time his name was Hoffman.