The latest Bruce Willis film, Vice, appears to manhandle one of sci-fi’s most often used tropes: robots with feelings. Alas, his character – the businessman with a plan Julian Michaels – doesn’t give a hoot. In fact, his entire wealth has been amassed purely from the abuse humans pay to inflict on his resort of sentient ‘bots. Does the premise sound familiar?
If it rings a vague, distant bell that’s because it bears a shocking resemblance to Michael Crichton’s 1973 movie, Westworld. In that classic caper (currently being remade by HBO), an amusement park populated by androids constructed for human pleasure goes to hell when the ‘bots decide to fight back. It seems that director Brian A. Miller has replicated that film’s basic intention and upped the ante a touch. In his rendition, the number of robots is limited and at the end of every day they’re effectively ‘wiped’ of the hideous experiences they’ve been subjected to, so they can begin afresh the next morning.
One glance at this trailer and you’ve guessed it; the wiping procedure doesn’t work on all of ’em. Ambyr Childers stars opposite Willis as Kelly, an android who attempts to break free from VICE when she becomes self-aware. Along the way she meets Thomas Jane’s badass cop whose aim is to shut down VICE for good and Jonathan Schaech’s creepy suited-up chappie. It hardly looks to be stretching the limits of what sci-fi is capable of achieving, but aside from its skewed moral compass, it might be good fun.
Vice opens in theatres on January 16th, 2015.
Julian Michaels (Bruce Willis) has designed the ultimate resort: VICE, where anything goes and the customers can play out their wildest fantasies with artificial inhabitants who look, think and feel like humans. When an artificial (Ambyr Childers) becomes self-aware and escapes, she finds herself caught in the crossfire between Julian’s mercenaries and a cop (Thomas Jane) who is hell-bent on shutting down Vice, and stopping the violence once and for all.