WESTWORLD

(1973)
With Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Norman Bartold, Alan Oppenheimer
Written and Directed by Michael Crichton
Reviewed by JB

Smile when you call me baldie!     Many of novelist Michael Crichton's stories revolve around modern technology going horribly wrong. In The Andromeda Strain, a satellite crash almost leads to the destruction of humanity.  In The Terminal Man, innovative brain surgery turns an epileptic into a psychotic murder.  The movie WESTWORLD, an adaptation of his same-titled novel, is perhaps his silliest techno-thriller, but it is still a great deal of fun.  

     WESTWORLD is about a futuristic vacation spot in which you can choose to live in one of three times: Roman Times, Medieval Times or the American West.  These historical eras are recreated using highly sophisticated robots programmed to be incapable of harming humans.  So you can go to Westworld, sleep with robotic whores, gamble with robotic cowboys and have shootouts with robotic bad men and never fear for your life.  However, this being a Crichton story, there is a glitch.  A virus (the first computer virus in movie history?) infects the robots who are then rendered capable of not only harming humans, but killing them.  The plot is centered on two businessman, the rugged James Brolin and the wimpy Richard Benjamin, and their encounters with "The Gunslinger", a black-hatted baddie marvelously played by Yul Brynner, who plays off his role in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. In a prelude to THE TERMINATOR, Brynner becomes a nearly unstoppable killing machine bent on gunning down the two new cowboys in town who have insulted him.

     Once you accept the premise that robot cowboys would be given real bullets under any circumstances, WESTWORLD is a minor but enjoyable entry of the 1970's sci-fi cycle. - JB

Science Fiction     The Secret Vortex


SEQUELS AND REMAKES

Futureworld (1976)

A remake of Westworld is on the works.  Or course it is.