Thursday, 31 December 2015

Short Circuit (1986)

"Number Five is alive!"

I remember seeing this on video in the '80s and, being nine or ten, quite liked it. I had fond memories of the film so, I thought, why not blog it? It'll be a pleasant jog through memory lane, right?

Er, wrong. Watching it as an adult, the film isn't exactly awful but it's functional, by-the-numbers, slow and, despite the cuteness and coolness of the robot itself, not more than mildly engaging.

But there is, of course, another thing, a film that makes the film quite arse-clenching embarrassing to watch in 2015 and, surely to Hod, in 1986 as well.

Yep, it's all about the character of Ben, a character who is supposed to be of South Asian origins with an Indian accent. I vaguely remembered that the film had an Indian character but it's something to see that the character was played by a white actor, in brownface. Yep. This really happened. Ten years earlier or so you'd just sigh and reflect that this sort of thing used to happen... but this is happen 1986. And it isn't helped by the fact that the character is written and played as a "funny" foreigner with "hilarious" malapropisms. I've just looked around the Interweb and, while there are a few appalled bloggers out there, most people (then and now) seem not to be particularly concerned that all this might be just a little bit incredibly racist.

The early scenes between Number Fove and Stephanie (Ally Sheedy is rather good) are entertaining, as are all the scenes where the robot runs rings around his pursuers, but that isn't anywhere near enough to make up for the character of Ben. This is a film I once remembered fondly, but it's probably best forgotten.

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