1993 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #17
Returning to my ongoing Albert Pyun retrospective, today's feature is ARCADE. Conceived and produced by Charles Band this movie is a low budget shot at the early 90s fad of virtual reality CGI adventures. Taking cues from Tron and Lawnmower Man (with a hint of The labyrinth), Arcade tells the story of a new pre-release computer game with an evil agenda. Teenagers are invited to the game's launch where they are given modified take-home versions. Once they connect with the game they are zapped into a virtual world of deadly tunnels, treacherous microchip deserts and giant computerised dragons. They find themselves trapped and their only way to escape is to complete all 9 levels and defeating the maniacal central program, Arcade. This is a super fun movie and it showcases most of the reasons why I love Albert Pyun. He has a knack for style that few people give him credit for. His flare for lighting, cameral angles and framing is under-appreciated. The lame 90s CGI is, of course, amusing but it's also charming and for most gen-Xers it's a nice piece of nostalgia. The movie suffered various production issues including the entire virtual reality world being re-designed in post. Glimpses of the original VFX can be seen on the VideoZone feature on the dvd. If it weren't for the swearing Arcade would be a fantastic flick for kids... but these teenage characters are potty mouthed and given that Pyun originally considered it a horror film, its target audience was for older teens. Legendary Hollywood writer David S Goyer (Dark Knight, Blade, Man of Steel etc) penned this one and his writing lends the movie an added hook. Its the second time Pyun and Goyer have teamed up following Kickboxer 2 and their brief collaboration was fairly solid for the type of films they were making. I highly recommend ARCADE so long as you can suspend your disbelief and watch it with a nostalgic frame of mind. Seeing a young Seth Green act like a douchey teenage dick is also of great amusement. I will be screening this movie very soon alongside Doctor Mordrid and so if you're in Melbourne I invite you to come along for a night of B-Movie magic. Stay tuned!