Dark Future (1994) — Brothel bros fight against cyborg oppressors

“You have entered the forbidden zone.”

Justin’s rating: Synth oppressors are only slightly worse than synth music

Justin’s review: It’s time for another trip to extreme low-budget filmmaking with director Greydon Clark (Joysticks), who this time takes us to a shoddy post-apocalyptic future with Dark Future. It’s the kind of effort that you’d expect from a movie with a title so generic that Aldi discontinued it in their special deals aisle.

It’s the post-apocalyptic future. Or the present. But one thing is for certain — it’s really dark! For some reason, orange jumpsuited cyborgs have taken over the world and the few pureblood humans that remain aren’t exactly pumping out a lot of new kids. But when a new baby named Robin is discovered at a weirdly western brothel, it triggers a Children of Men-style tug-of-war between the sex worker underdogs and their cyborg superiors.

The brothel crew lives in “The Park,” which is an amusement zone for the cyborg that’s divided up into different themed sections for their amusement. Force fields keep the humans from traveling between them or leaving, but there’s some hope that normal life exists beyond it.

I have to admit… it’s not a terrible premise. It would be a much better premise, mind you, if it explained how the world got to this weirdly specific scenario. But the only way out of this movie is forward, so forward we go.

The baby’s birth prompts the brothel’s workers to take up arms against the cyborgs, which comes in the form of several scenes where people punch, throw, and shoot in awkward slow-motion. A bartender, a Nazi (I’m just assuming by his look), and a prostitute bundle up the baby and start a journey through whatever apartment buildings Greydon Clark had access to that week to find a sanctuary where humans aren’t oppressed.

Dark Future’s skimpy budget isn’t its biggest hurdle. Rather, it’s the incredibly stilted conversations that characters have in which they express incredulity with concepts like “birds” and “families” and the like. I get that it’s a weird future, but it’s only 30 or so years since the “Black Death” changed everything. That’s not really enough time to forget birds. And Bartender Guy adds to that awkwardness by delivering inspirational speeches so bad as to make listeners jump head-first into woodchippers.

Accusations also need to be thrown at the editing, which keeps this action film plodding when it should be, at least, stumbling with purpose. There isn’t a single shot of someone firing a gun where the camera doesn’t linger on them for a while until they raise a gun, aim, and then look at the target, and then look back at the shooter, and then a shot is finally fired. I know that sentence was terribly constructed, but that’s the sense of this movie. It already isn’t that long of a story, so I guess they had to put every single second of recorded film in there to keep this from being an eight-minute webisode.

If I was a betting man who only took the most surest of wagers, I’d put all my money on Dark Future never becoming a beloved cult hit or even a movie that’s going to rack up over $20 in rental sales this year alone. Then again, I watched this, so it’s always possible that this is what triggers the film watching revolution.

Didja notice?

  • The apparel of the future? Bright orange jumpsuits
  • Streets of the future are illuminated by countless flaming barrels
  • Well that’s just the worst bordello dancing we’ve ever seen
  • Cyborgs really love to throw people around
  • Screaming at babies to “shut up” is a good babysitting practice
  • Nice rando dutch angle
  • Someone found a tesla ball and thought, “I should make a movie out of this”

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