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Laramie Movie Scope: Solo

Robocop meets Terminator meets Seven Samurai

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 26, 1996 -- "Solo" is the latest science fiction film to hit Laramie. While it covers familiar territory seen in other films like "Terminator II" and "Robocop" and "The Seven Samurai," it is not quite up to the level of those films, especially the latter, which is a classic.

The film stars Mario Van Peebles, who plays "Solo," an experimental military robot who looks just like a man. The trouble is, his superiors, including Gen. Clyde Haynes (Barry Corbin from "Northern Exposure") feel the robot was programmed a little too humanely.

The last straw is when Solo tries to abort the bombing of an airstrip when he sees that innocent civilians will be hurt. Solo is ordered back to the lab for reprogramming, but decides to make a getaway.

The evil Colonel Madden (William Sadler, "The Shawshank Redemption") is sent to retrieve him, but is only interested in destroying the robot. Solo, low on power and stranded in a South American jungle, is befriended by villagers who seek his protection from rebel raiders. Solo agrees to teach them to fight the rebels in return for electric power.

Solo learns human values, including self-sacrifice from a young boy and a woman, Agela (Seidy Lopez, "My Family"). He turns out to be more human than most of the human characters in the film.

The rest is standard action film stuff. The special effects and stunts are well done. The acting is good, especially by Sadler, who makes a good villain. He actually plays two villains in the film. It's not a great film, but it is a little above average. I give it a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1996 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)