B Movie Challenge: Hologram Man

I love to go to a really awesome buffet, especially after a long day when I did not have a  chance to grab a quick lunch and have all the extra room to stuff down that huge snack bar (but I refuse to waste space on the salad bar, yuck!). That is what the 1995 straight-to-video science fiction (or science fact if you had a ‘95 Gateway desktop) movie Hologram Man feels like (or is programmed to feel like). This lunch wagon of William Sandler, robotic villains, and analog graphics is so jammed with 90s rip-offs you would think the producer’s cut out clips from every Saturday afternoon USA Network film, scanned them into a radio shack 25MHz Tandy 4025 LX computer, and made a Weird Science script for the movie buffs in us all (hopefully we are not wearing bras on our heads).

The 90s were a weird time for science fiction. Although we had finally hit the area of the computer foretold by countless 50s sci-fi space junk, we still were not sure where it would go, especially in the early days before a little (big) thing called the internet signed on (you just heard the dial-up connection noise, admit it!). It was the early stages of digital animation and the fear of the computer taking over was being realized in films like T2: Judgement Day, The Lawnmower Man, and Disclosure (lawyer up, pal!), but the producers of Hologram Man deserve the Oscar for the most chop-blocked Habchi serving of cinema mince pie, as they stole from the best: Demolition Man, The Terminator, Cyber Attack, Hardware, Nemesis, Robocop, Cyborg, Crash and Burn, and American Cyborg Steele Warrior (I swear I’m not making that last title up). Dig deep into the main frame of this film and you will see little servings from each of these and more, giving a retired hacker the munchies getting booting up this little Perl in their CD-ROM.

In the near future (or California 1994) a mad, psychotic, and all-around Mr. Meany-pants Gallagher (he threatens to smash people with digital watermelon NFTs) is sentenced to holographic jail time, which means his identity will be downloaded to a storage drive to help with overcrowding in prisons. While doing some routine maintenance (they have a lot of cookies to dump after looking at that Space Jam website) the online-degree certified Keystone Cops accidentally turn him into a real-life holographic computer virus (take that you XP 32bit OS nerd) to curs(or) those who wronged him. Who will they get to stop him? The very rookie cop who caught him, perfectly played by 90s home video action hero Joe Lara (star of such colossal mainframe hits as Steele Frontier, Final Equinox, and Live Wire 2: Human Timebomb). Type in a batch of extras that act well with squib-explosions, render a little bit of John (McDowell’s!) Amos, and download some bad CG leotards on screen and you got yourself a great action-packed hard drive! 

Zip filing your way at a slow one hour and forty-one minutes, and directed by Richard Pepin (who went on the lens classics like Cyber Tracker 2 and Y2K), the film does its best to match the effects of big Hollyweird productions, even if they are made on an Apple Mac II computer (you died of dysentery on the Organ Trail, wa-waa). Unlike most movies, this one is very rare and hard to see streaming, so you might have to actually travel back in time to bid on eBay for a rare beta cassette (or illegally watch it, you Napster-supporting troll). So open your Packard Bell Stateman laptop down at The Sizzler, wolf down some deep-fried Python, and wipe your screen with a can of CRC QD cleaner so you can feast your eyes on this smorgasbord (Java)Script of 90s ID10T-cricy!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues and short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, Negative Creep: A Nirvana-Inspired Anthology, A-Z of Horror: U is for Unexplained, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Born and raised in Iowa, Klink lives with his family in Pennsylvania where he shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies.

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