Future Force (1989) — This power glove is so bad

“You have committed a crime and are presumed guilty. You have a right to die.”

Justin’s rating: Barely a mechanized pinky in the grand pantheon of greater cinematic cyborgs

Justin’s review: Let’s talk about the great blow that comes when movie expectations crash upon the gritty, desolate shores of reality, shall we? At first glance, a 1989 scifi movie called Future Force, starring David Carradine with a super-powered robotic glove sounds like it should be, at the very least, an entertaining discount RoboCop. For those who got suckered into watching it based on those expectations (mournfully looking at myself in a mirror without saying a word), it is soon revealed that this is one of the most tepid and unimaginative “scifi” movies ever made and a gross disappointment all around.

It’s just that nobody — from the screenwriters to the director to the set dressers to the actors — put in any effort in the least. If they don’t care, why should the audience?

Here we have the gripping tale of the future year of 1993, in which John Tucker is the best C.O.P.S. around. Basically, he’s a bounty hunter who gets to kill people if a computer puts a name and cash value on a board. It’s a wonky and completely unexplained justice system that seems to require that its agents wear sleeveless jean jackets and only use revolvers. Truly, this was a startling vision of future times!

Tucker has two advantages up his non-existent sleeve: a robot hand that he very, very occasionally wears that can shoot electricity and fly around via a one-button remote and a computer kid named Billy. Turns out that Billy got shot by Tucker during a police home invasion a while back and Tucker’s been taking care of the handicapped kid ever since. Well, Tucker’s going to need all those advantages, because a bad C.O.P.S. dude is trying to, I dunno, rule the city and has put out a hit on Tucker and a journalist.

Again, as I’m writing this, I’m sure it conveys far more action and excitement than actually happens. It’s so clear that Carradine was, shall we say, in less than excellent health during the making of this movie, and he moves with the speed of someone trying really hard not to trigger arthritis flare-ups or unsettle his five-burger dinner from the night before. He spends nearly half the movie runtime just aimlessly driving down the L.A. industrial district in a Jeep Grand Cherokee and delivering his dialogue so deadpan that there’s no “pan” in it.

Everything here is wasted. The glove and C.O.P.S. concept are both given the bare minimum, the future setting never explored (or even shown, really), and the pacing is so slow and dull as to put me to sleep before I was ready to knock off for the night. About the only thing worth watching here is a junkyard fight scene between Carradine and Robert Tessier, and only that because both men are so tired and so out of shape that it’s kind of funny to see them huffing and puffing while trying to come off as action heroes.

What really astounds me is that this movie actually got a sequel. I say it’s your turn to watch it, because there’s nothing here that convinces me that this is a franchise worth establishing.

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