Short Circuit (1986) Film Review

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Ah, the 1980s. What a ridiculous time you were for movies. It’s not the concept of this one that makes me groan, but the execution.

There is an army facility that is showing off their new toy – weaponised robots. Then a freak thunderstorm appears and one of the robots – Number 5 – spontaneously develops intelligence and escapes. It takes a little while before anyone realises, then the robots creators Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg, with all his wide-eyed naivety) and Ben Jabituya (Fisher Stevens in the tradition of having white actors play somewhat offensive non-white caricatures) need to get to him before Skroeder (G.W. Bailey playing the same character I’ve seen him play in pretty much everything from the 80s) blows him up. Meanwhile Number 5 has stumbled onto the property of Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy in all her sweetness) a woman with an evil ex and an obsession with helping animals.

All that is good and leads to mostly fun times. What I found very odd was the amount of swearing – yes, it was mostly just ‘shit’ or variations on that, but I remember the eighties, and saying the s-bomb was a pretty big deal – especially in movies. Apparently, this film may have actually been marketed to adults – that makes me wonder – what was going on with films in the eighties that this was not a kids film? (Loved it, by the way)