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Sci-Fi - ArtificiaI Intelligence

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Duration1h 38m
RatingsUK: 18, USA: R, Norway: 18 
Source of storyA short story “Trucks” by Stephen King
DirectorStephen King
Writers/ScriptStephen King
StarringEmilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardly Smith, Frankie Faison, Marla Marples, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.5/10 by 32k people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 15% by 13 reviewers. Review2view: 2,5/10

Elevator Pitch: When the earth passes through the tail of a passing comet all the machines on the planet become active and attack humans. The drama is focused on a truck stop where a young ex-prisoner is on parole working in the kitchen, and an enormous truck carrying scary toys stops for fuel. Then a bible salesman, who has given a young woman a lift, stops. A boy also cycles through the town seeing dead people everywhere. The trucks around the restaurant start up on their own and circle it trapping the people inside, and things come to a head when a military buggy arrives and machines guns a lot of the people in the store and then demands by Morse that the assembled trucks be refuelled. 

Content: No sex or nudity although the parolee and the hitch hiker get together, unconvincingly. A bridge opens with traffic on it. The coach of a baseball team is killed by a coke machine which fires cans at him. The boy cycles through the town, seeing many people killed by machines. He is chased by a lawnmower and a truck. The boss of the truck stop is unpleasant to the parolee. Once the trucks get going in a circle round the restaurant everybody inside takes it easy. A newly married couple make it to what might be a safe place and join the group. Some trucks are disabled with RPGs.

A View: Apart from one or two of the songs played by AC/DC on the soundtrack this was a terrible film. Surely at the very least the machines would have required software in order to be sentient. I just did not buy the aggressive carving knife. And once the trucks were doing their stuff everybody seemed to be relaxed in the truck stop, then some people we have never seen before appeared to be machine gunned. But some of the machines did not attack the humans. I could go on. Could be a watch if you are a Stephen King fan. But otherwise give it a miss.

It has turned out to be difficult for film makers to succeed in creating a believable narrative involving intelligent machines: Here are links to three attempts: Chappie, Stealth, Eagle Eye .

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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