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Androids are outlawed on earth after they turned violent in the
notorious Munich incident and turned against their masters, the humans.
Even the research on androids has been outlawed - but big companies have
built small space stations in outer space beyond the reach of earth
authorities to continue work on androids as if nothing has happened.
Doctor Daniel (Klaus Kinski) runs one such station, where he works on
building Cassandra (Kendra Kirchner), the perfect female robot, to replace
his male android Max (Don Keith Opper), and to serve him as a woman (= sex
Max seems like a tragic figure, a robot who desperately wants to
become a human and go to earth, even if he knows he can't, but who dreams
about earth people and especially women (he's never seen one) every minute
he can spare. This though makes him dangerous for Doctor Daniel, because
just like the Munich androids, he begins to develop a free will and he
starts to disobey his master's commands.
Then three criminals on the run
arrive, Keller (Norbert Weisser), Mendes (Crofton Hardester) and Maggie
(Brie Howard), arrive on the station, and even though he should know
better, or at least inform Doctor Daniel, Max just lets them in to offer
them abode, and he's totally charmed by Maggie of course. Eventually, he
even blasts a police shuttle after the three out of the spoace-time
continuum just to save them, well, to save Maggie.
When Doctor Daniel
learns about his unannounced guests, he immediately wants to throw them
off the station - until he meets Maggie, and he is just as charmed as Max
was, but for other reasons. He needs Maggie, or rather her sexual
energies, to kickstart Cassandra. She misunderstands his intentions
however and refuses to play his little game. Later though, she makes out
with Max, and that somehow does it for Cassandra. However, when she finds
out Max is an android, it totally freaks her out.
Maggie runs right
into the hands of Mendes, who has become less controlable by the minute,
and now he rapes and kills her, then kills Keller as well. Doctor Daniel
in the meantime has observed everything from his controlroom and has now
decided to abandon ship with his new companion Cassandra, so he decides to
order Max to kill Mendes before deactivating him, and while Max does, he
decides to become friendly with Cassandra - but unfortunately, despite her
looks, Cassandra is not half the sex doll she was built to be, and she
flat out refuses to give any sexual favours to Doctor Daniel, instead
tears him apart together with Max, who has just returned from killing
Mendes. It is now revealed that Doctor Daniel was an android himself all
along, who has obviously developed an own will to such an extent that he
has forgotten his origins.
An evacuation team arrives at the station,
and Max and Cassandra decide to pretend to be Doctor Daniel and his
assistant to be taken back to earth ...
A film from a time when
Roger Corman was still going strong as a producer and from time to time
proved one could make something relevant on a small budget: Obviously
inspired by the then recent science fiction blockbusters Star Wars
and Alien, Corman produced this
little gem on a fraction of the other movies budgets, but based it on an
intelligent script that blew those films right out of the skies.
Everything is garnered by some special effects lifted from other
Corman-productions, and costumes and sets that make surprisingly much
sense despite (or even because of) their cheapness and cheesiness. The one
key ingredient of the film though is Don Keith Opper as Max, who gives his
role just the right awkwardness and humanity to bring what's basically a
robotic weirdo to life and have the audience identify with him. Oh, and
casting Klaus Kinski as a mad scientist is of course never a bad idea.
all of this, of course, adds up to a masterpiece!