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by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe... 

'TC 2000' - 1993, Directed by T.J. Scott

Obviously I'm going to watch a martial arts/dystopian sci-fi flick starring Billy Blanks. Yes, THAT Billy Blanks. The Tae Bo guy you (hopefully) remember from daytime TV. Well, turns out he was an accomplished film martial artist back in the day, and did more than a few ridiculous action flicks.

Although I haven't seen any of the others, I can almost guarantee 'TC 2000' is the nuttiest of them. It's a kind of 'Enter the Dragon'/'Terminator' hybrid with just as many weird 'future' visuals as over-extended fight scenes. And Blanks' film-noir-detective voiceovers are completely ridiculous, as are the giant sunglasses he's usually wearing.

The story was fairly convoluted, but I gathered that it's the future and the 'good guys' (read: rich people) live underground while everyone else lives on the devastated earth's surface. Blanks is part of an elite detective/security guard/bounty hunter squad called the TC 2000. They protect the underworld from the 'surface dwellers,' who are constantly trying to break in because that's where all the food and clean water is. What a bunch of jerks, right?

Then, we find out that the surface 'bad guys' are actually in league with the supposed 'good guys' of the underworld, and they're doing some kind of guns-for-fixed-ozone-layer trade. Of course, the 'good guys' are actually going to screw over the 'bad guys,' and Blanks' TC partner gets killed and turned into a cyborg fighter along the way. See, the 'good guys' want to replace the TC 2000 squad with the TC 2000 X, which is an '80% human, 20% machine' fighter (interesting ratio.) I guess you still have to deal with worker's rights and stuff in the future, too.

I won't ruin the whole thing for you, but suffice to say, there's fighting, cussing, explosions, and cool future-wasteland visuals...i.e. everything you should want from your cinema.

VHS photo by Toby Hudson.