One of our motivations when setting up The ’80s Movie Club was to find out about cult classics that we hadn’t seen before. The list of those is building up quicker than we can watch them but, for the most part, they tend to be films we’ve heard of but just never got around to seeing. Wired to Kill however is a film that came right out of left field for us, recommended as it was by our buddy Pablo who frequents a football forum that we like to be miserable on.
The film itself is troubled. There’s so much wrong with it that it’s going to take a chunk of this article just listing that stuff but, as is so often the case with ’80s b-movie nonsense, it’s still kind of enjoyable in a ‘watch once and forget’ kind of way.
So, the film itself is set in the worrying, post-apocalyptic future of .er… 1998. Clearly, Franky Schaeffer (the film’ writer/director) didn’t have much faith in America and created something that looks like Detroit does now. It’s a tale of two groups of people. The nice folks are Steve (a geeky engineer type of chap), Rebecca (his relatively normal girlfriend) and his mother and grandmother. They all live together and the film starts with Steve showing off his dance music set up and weird remote control robot thing to Rebecca who inexplicably thinks he’s still worth shagging.
Every once in a while the films cuts to a whole different group of people: a gang of crazies, led by their ruthless boss Reegus (played by one of the three people in this movie to get a photo on their IMDB profile). They are shown randomly smacking down tramps and causing chaos. They attempt to break into a nice house but are deterred by the automated security and so instead decide to go to the poor neighbourhood where Steve and his family live.
Stopping on their way to smash up an ATM and then EAT all the money, the gang eventually invade Steve’s home, beat up his mum, cripple him and leave. As far as ’80s movie gangs go these guys are both the scariest and the least believable as they have seemingly no motivation beyond ‘just be a prick to everyone.’
The film itself doesn’t do a good job of being post-apocalyptic. Aside from the gang being grubby, it just looks like the usual inner city hellhole and aside from some minor drug dealing, the gang’s purpose is never really explained. They clearly don’t have much of a side-business going on as they seem to be mostly broke and living in a dilapidated industrial area that looks uncannily like the place where Murphy is first shot in Robocop.
Anyway, after two of the gang are arrested (apparently – you never see it happen), the gang’s lawyer (an actual lawyer! How did they get a lawyer?!) gets them out of jail and Reegus decides to make an example of Steve by first killing his nan (one of the gang on a motorcycle twats her upside the head with a spikey ball thing) and then crippling his mum.
The mum crippling scene is a thing of incredible stupidity. The gang run her off the road when she’s driving. They then let her escape and so she drives away at the slowest possible speed before crashing into a wall. They then crash a truck into her. You assume she’s dead but apparently she managed to crawl to hospital with a broken back. This film…
Rebecca, quite wisely, wants to GTF out of this whole mess but is convinced by Steve to help him get his revenge and for a second there it seems like the film is about to get awesome. Big synths kick in, he gets to work on some tech. It’s going to be great! It’s going to be a montage! It’s neither!
He wastes what little time he should have by wiring up his crap drone thing so that it has more range and can go an spy on the gang. It’s not very stealthy given that it’s the size of a dog, really slow and makes an impossible-to-miss whirring sound. Despite this, he gets a good look at the gang who are planning their next attack which is admittedly ‘go to house, kill occupants.’
What follows is a series of incredibly stupid ideas where he sends his girlfriend into increasingly dangerous situations (‘hey, dress as a hooker and sell them drugs that will kill them’) which works to take out one or two people in the gang but seems to be an awful lot of effort given that there are a lot of them and they want him dead pretty much immediately.
The film’s final showdown is equally daft but despite the film’s utterly ridiculous acting, editing and story, it does have a certain cult appeal to it. That doesn’t mean we ever want to watch it ever again but if you want to watch something that is unmistakably ’80s this might hit the bill, if you can find a copy. We watched it on a YouTube video that looked like tenth generation VHS but we’re not sure even a Blu-Ray release could help this lemon!