Low production values can't dampen the quirky humor and interesting premise of this enjoyable B movie, which reimagines Blade Runner as a Roger Corman Western and casts Melanie Griffith in a kick-ass action role. Screenwriter Michael Almereyda, who would go on to pen Total Recall and both write and direct the quirky vampire flick Nadja, invests his near-future world with lots of well-imagined details that survive their translation into low-budget visuals. The film's two central premises -- that sex and the law will become ever more intertwined, and that technology will provide solace to those who can't get laid in the traditional sense -- might have seemed futuristic in the mid-'80s, but they just seem like common sense in the cold light of the 21st century. Cherry 2000's flip, cheeky approach to such ideas may lack the poetic melancholy of the best science fiction films, but that doesn't mean it isn't thoughtful in its own way. Of course, this is primarily a popcorn flick, and director Steven de Jarnatt stretches his budget admirably well; the action sequences are workaday but well-realized, while production designer John J. Moore gets a lot of mileage out of Mad Max-style grit and post-New Wave fashions. The whole thing would fall apart, though, if Griffith didn't make such an appealing heroine. With her Raggedy Ann 'do and fuss-free self-assurance, she updates her Body Double character with body armor and proto-Tank Girl sass. Co-star David Andrews, meanwhile, plays things convincingly straight, while old cowboy Ben Johnson has fun in an aw-shucks supporting role and Tim Thomerson hams it up as hapless maniac Lester. Despite the presence of pert Pamela Gidley in the title role, Cherry 2000 is remarkably lacking in T&A, strange for a movie about a sex robot, but further evidence for those who want to reclaim this as a quietly feminist fable.
by Brian J. Dillard review