While it isn’t saying much of anything, the special effects in A.I. Assault manage to be above par for a direct-to-cable Sci-Fi Channel schlock piece. The metallic pods, eerily similar to those in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, do some believable damage to a small group of suckers stuck on an island inhabited by no one. It’s almost a shame people had to be in this movie to spout off ridiculous dialogue and fire guns that never need to be reloaded instead of giving us extra A.I. cheapness.
In one of those great “government experiments gone wrong,” semi-huge pod machines designed for war run amok after a plane carrying them crash lands. The island keeps things cheap so no expensive sets needed to be built. This is definitely low-budget stuff, but it’s mildly entertaining low-budget stuff.
A.I. Assault provides tons of action, with guns, lasers, grenades, and even the always popular bazooka playing a role here. During one of those cheesy briefings where the top secret government gives facts to a squad scheduled to be sent in to deal with the problem, the manner of the machines is revealed. Billed to be intelligent, indestructible, and with the ability to learn, it’s a shame the movie never shows them doing any of the above.
After giving the audience all the necessary information, the robot-thingies end up going down quickly. One blows up after a few rounds from a machine gun, the next somehow withstands a grenade attack only to be taken out later with another gun, while the final loner is defeated by an electrical blast. The laser gun, billed as the only weapon to do the job, never takes any of them out.
Looking for logic or accuracy here is pointless, of course. This is undoubtedly a dumb movie, one where the plot holes and lack of common sense overwhelm anything occurring on screen. It’s a shame, as famous actors, including countless Star Trek alumni, get a few moments on screen. George Takei is fondly remembered for both his dubbing in early Godzilla films and Star Trek, but is left out to dry here as an unemotional airplane pilot.
Then there’s the problem that this is dangerously close to director Jim Wynorski’s bomb Curse of the Komodo. Certain shots seem to be directly lifted from that previous work, and a subplot about criminals getting off the island in a helicopter is 100 percent brought over. The aggravating ’80s soundtrack and swapped out monsters/robots are the only differences at times.
Even with all the stupidity, A.I. Assault somehow ends up in the higher rungs of Sci-Fi B-movies. It’s an insanely stupid piece of filmmaking, but its target audience will probably “get” this one. It has the right amount of schlock, cheap special effects, action, and re-used plot points that bad movie fans can mark off their checklist with all of the essentials.