Cherry 2000 (1987) is like a who’s who of awesome 1980s B-action movies. Seriously, David Andrews, Brion James, Tim Tomerson, Robert Z’Dar, Marshall Bell, amongst others. Laurence Fishburne even makes an appearance in the first act for good measure. Director Steve De Jarnatt wrote Strange Brew, and it was produced by Caldecot Chubb, who, besides having an amazing name, went on to produce Pootie Tang. This is like a 90-minute parade of kickass.
The year is 2017, and the world, or at least southern California, has become a Logan’s Run looking dystopia, where everything on the outside seems pretty and clean and nice, but beneath the façade it is all sorts of fucked up. Unemployment is forty percent, and sexual relations have become so strained that it involves strictly worded contracts, with the terms negotiated by attorneys.
Middle management suck up, Sam Treadwell (Andrews), however, has found a way around all of this sexual red tape. He found himself a sweet domestic sex robot, Cherry 2000 (Pamela Gidley, of Thrashin’ fame). She is perky, blond, and a robot, and he loves her because she’s completely passive, doesn’t have any personality, and he can delude himself into thinking that she is the perfect woman. All in all, the set up is a little like a futuristic Lars and the Real Girl, except way way creepier.
In the future, when you’re about to sex up your sexy lady sex robot, remember one thing. It may be the future, but your sexy sex robot is not waterproof. Poor Treadwell finds this out the hard way, when he’s about to hump Cherry in the middle of a soapy puddle on the kitchen floor. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Much to his chagrin she short circuits.
He is distraught and overwhelmed with grief. His work starts to suffer. But on the bright side, he is able to save her ‘personality’ on a miniature DVD. Now all he has to do is leave the sterile confines of Anaheim, make his way to the frontier town of Glory Hole (yes, the town is called Glory Hole), find a tracker (think mercenary tour guide) to take him into the lawless wasteland that lies beyond the boundaries of law and order, to the robot graveyard in Zone 7 where they have lots of Cherry 2000s just hanging out. When he finds a new Cherry he can simply plug the disk into her ear and everything will be back to normal. Sounds pretty easy, what can possibly go wrong?
The town of Glory Hole seems to be populated solely by futuristic gay cowboys. It looks like a post-apocalyptic, western-themed musical is about to break out at any moment.
In Glory Hole, Treadwell finds sexy redheaded tracker, E (Melanie Griffith). Her sweatshirt says “Dignity,” something that no one in this movie has, and she looks like grizzled Franka Potente from Run Lola, Run. They drive her futerized red Mustang into the desert, and we can tell right away that she is a badass because she drives at night without headlights.
Even though the Zone is a desolate hellhole, and haven for warlords and criminals, it is not without a certain charm. Where else in the world can you cook rattlesnake in a toaster oven? And it is full of colorful characters, like Six-Fingered Jake, a sort of easy listening Zen outlaw.
For no good reason, E starts to fall for Treadwell, despite the fact that he is a mopey bastard who walks around listening to an audio track of his sex doll say things like, “can I help you with that?” and “let me do that.” Of course he starts to develop feelings for her because, you know, she’s not a fucking robot. It has been a long time since he has fucked anything without a motherboard, and much like a pubescent boy, he is unsure of how to cope with these strange new feelings.
Then shit starts to get weird.
They manage to run afoul of Lester (Tomerson), a Hawaiian-shirt wearing warlord of the wasteland, who runs his stronghold like a post-apocalyptic beach blanket bingo health spa. With Lester it is all bbqs, the hokey pokey, and summary executions. He is the Big Kahuna of the apocalypse, a new age guru who cares about the feelings of his henchmen, wants them to be themselves at all times, and reminds them that “life is an adventure.” He is all about individual empowerment and ruling with an iron fist.
Like I said, shit gets weird.
There is a complete lack of chemistry between Andrews and Griffith, and in a movie full of mediocre acting, Griffith delivers a truly uninspired performance. One might even go so far as to wonder why in the world Antonio Banderas would marry her.
Basil Poledouris (Conan, Red Dawn, Iron Eagle, RoboCop 3) handles the score, and does not disappoint. It is a bizarre amalgamation of new wave synth spaghetti western, mixed with an Elmer Fudd cartoon. The effect is truly stunning.
One final note. After the apocalypse you might want to consider wearing a sleeveless white t-shirt with black gloves, it is a good look.