• Millennium/R.O.T.O.R.



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: February 23rd, 2016.
    Director: Michael Anderson, Cullen Blaine
    Cast: Kris Kristofferson, Cheryl Ladd, Margaret Trigg/ Richard Gesswein, Jayne Smith
    Year: 1989/1987
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    An all new action packed sci-fi double feature from Scream Factory! Let’s do this…

    MILLENNIUM:

    First up is Millennium, a film that begins when two jetliners collide in mid-air. This is a bad scene to be sure but hey, here comes NTSB investigator Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson) to check things out. As he goes about his investigation he can’t help but be intrigued by the presence of a lovely blonde lady named Louise (Cheryl Ladd), an airline employee. He asks her out, she says yes, and things get odd.

    A day later, he starts to snoop and when he asks said airline about said blonde, they have no idea who he is talking about. Back at the crash site, Smith finds a strange device amongst the debris that he doesn’t recognize. He tinkers with it and basically shoots himself with it, and once he does Louise and two other strange women appear, but this time around Louise looks very different. Decked out in some decidedly bizarre garb, Louise takes the strange item from Smith and then she and her friends head through a massive time portal into the future from whence they came!

    From here, we learn why Louse is travelling through time – see, in the future, the Earth has screwed itself, so some of the more intellectual types have sent her back in time to try and stop some of the little problems late 80s Earth has from becoming giant problems in the years to come. The main problem? Procreation. So they try to solve this by stealing people from plane crashes before they die to send off as healthy breeding horses to colonize new worlds. What Louise will soon learn, however, is that her meeting with Smith changed the past – and as anyone who has ever seen a movie about time travel will tell you, it’s a horrible idea to change the past.

    Directed by Michael Anderson (the same man who gave us Orca: The Killer Whale and Logan’s Run), this American/Canadian co-production is pretty amusing in its own bizarre way. Kristofferson, always a man’s man, is… manly from start to finish and while the movie takes a little while to get going, he’s in fine form. Cheryl Ladd’s career had slid a bit at this point, years after Charlie’s Angels went off the air, but she’s still got it going on and the two make an interesting team of sorts. Neither one really stretches as an actor in the film but Ladd looks pretty cool all decked out in her future suit and Kristofferson sports an impressive beard, so there’s that.

    Written by John Varley (based on his own short story), the movie exploits some interesting ideas about what the future cold hold and it moves at a good pace once we get through the first half hour, but the effects are very definitely a product of their time. At the same time, the film is admirably amibitous in scope and subject matter. There are a lot of interesting ideas here that sometimes take shape effectively, sometimes not so much – again, the effects work is of its time and clearly dated, but that gives the movie its own quirky charm.

    R.O.T.O.R.:

    Alternately known as Blue Steel (which is what the title card on the elements used for this release read), our second feature follows the exploits of a scientist/cop named Barrett Coldyron (Richard Gesswein) who is the head of the Dallas Police Department’s R.O.T.O.R. project (Robotic Officer Tactical Operations Research). It’s a research project wherein Coldyron and his cohorts seem to be in a race against time to develop a future proof cop, the kind that won’t be chewed up and spit out by criminals on the street.

    Soon enough, however, Coldyron’s benefactor takes him off the project because he wants done in six months what Coldyron says will take decades to accomplish. Coldyron tells him “You fire me and I'll make more noise than two skeletons making love in a tin coffin, brother!“ but surprisingly enough that line doesn’t do him any favors – he’s fired! So our hero goes home and makes steak with his wife but when they don’t have any charcoal, he heads to a mini-mart where he gets in an altercation with some Mexican robbers. While Coldyron is seeing that justice is served, his replacement at the lab is goofing off and during this period the janitor, a Native American called Shoeboogie, tells a foxy lab assistant that ‘once you go red, you’ll never get out of bed.’ She brushes off his advances and after that, something happens to the power source in the lab.

    R.O.T.O.R. project 222 emerges from his containment cell, suits up in leather, hops on his supped out motorcycle and heads out to commit his prime directive – judge and execute! Only Coldyron knows how to stop this thing, but he’s going to need help from a hulked out female scientist named Dr. Steele (Jayne Smith, whose only other credit is as Mary Turd in Flesh Gordon Meets The Cosmic Cheerleaders). When their experiment kills a motorist and then heads after his girlfriend, Sony (Margaret Trigg), Steele and Coldyron find themselves in a race against time…

    Directed by Cullen Blaine and written by Budd Lewis (whose only other writing credit is the Robert Z’Dar/James Hong vehicle Dragonfight), R.O.T.O.R. does everything so, so wrong, but it feels so, sooooooo right. For some reason Coldyron and Steele (the coolest sounding team ever) are dubbed but no one else in the movie seems to be. Steele is huge, she throws people around like ragdolls, but she’s got a big poofy skunk striped mullet that makes her look like a nice person. Shoeboogie just wants to get laid but the girl who says no is probably ‘one of them white supremacists.’ None of this makes much sense and every goddamn car in the move is an Isuzu. There’s also a lot of product placement for Coca-Cola products in the film. The pacing is off, the music doesn’t suit the tone or vibe of the film at all and long stretches of dialogue go nowhere. Clearly nobody here really knew what they were doing, but they did it anyway.

    And then there’s R.O.T.O.R. himself, badge #222. He’s like a mustachioed Terminator/Robocop hybrid dressed for a Judas Priest video. He rides around on his bike (which he steals by moving the velvet rope put in front of it to stop people from… stealing it) and punches people. He shoots people and hates the sound of car horns, but that doesn’t matter. He’s also got the ability to see what has happened at a specific location in the recent past. He’s bad ass but he also looks like he’s got a leather fetish.

    Coldyron starts off narrating things but then later in the movie he just stops. Early in the film we get a bird’s eye view of a Dallas highway. The guy on the radio tells us how bad the traffic is but the highway we see looks like it’s moving quite nicely. There’s also a robot in the movie named Willard. It’s all amazing.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Both features are presented in AVC encoded 1080p, the first framed at 1.85.1 and the second at 1.78.1 widescreen and they look pretty good, definitely better than the previous DVD releases that came out a while ago. Colors in particular really get a nice boost, especially in Millennium during the fairly trippy time travel sequences. Detail isn’t reference quality as some shots do look soft in both films, especially during heavy effects work, but the picture on both transfers is quite clean and clear and it definitely takes advantage of the format quite nicely. There’s reasonable depth here, close up shots are often very impressive, and solid black levels and colors help give the picture a nice boost. There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction and both films look quite clean. Print damage? Not much, just minor specks now and then. These movies look quite good on Blu-ray.

    English language DTS-HD 2.0 options are provided for both features. There are no issues here, dialogue is clean, clear and properly balanced against the films’ respective scores and sound effects. Depth is reasonable and clarity is just fine. Optional subtitles are included in English only.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for each feature and an alternate ending for Millennium.

    The Final Word:

    Scream Factory’s Blu-ray double feature release of Millennium and R.O.T.O.R. may not be stacked with extras but both movies look good and provide plenty of entertainment value. Really though, all you need to know about this one is that it’s R.O.T.O.R. on Blu-ray. If that means to you what it should mean to you, you’ve probably already got this on the way.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
































    Comments 2 Comments
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      Picked this up last week. I haven't seen either before and was looking forward to watching them.Millennium was my favorite of the two and was a pleasant surprise. A fast paced and entertaining time travel movie.The HD transfer wasn't great but got the job done.R.O.T.O.R was a big fat turd but a great movie to watch with some booze in you and with a group of people.The HD transfer for it was fantastic. I was shocked how good it looked.
    1. Randy G's Avatar
      Randy G -
      An odd combo as Millenium is a pretty serious if kinda goofy movie whereas R.O.T.O.R is straight up camp trash. Enjoy both movies though, will pick this up soon.