Made for cable TV, THE ANDROID AFFAIR gets asterisked as an indirect Hollywood contribution from science-fiction legend Isaac Asimov (FANTASTIC VOYAGE). Asimov's actual involvement was mere shared story credit for the short subject "Teach 109," which filmmaker Richard Kletter expanded into
this mediocre programmer.
Though Asimov codified a virtual Bill of Rights for machines in his many robot stories, the tone here leans toward a very lightweight BLADE RUNNER. In the future, manlike robots are near enough to Homo sapiens for cruel medical experiments; these guinea pigs feel no pain and can describe their
status during surgery. Rising physician Karen Garrett (Harley Jane Kozak), assigned to perfect a dicey heart procedure, is introduced to Teach 905 (Griffin Dunne), an advanced android with a mischievous personality and rebellious attitude that bristles at Karen's cold bedside manner. Among his
demands is that she call him William and smuggle him out of the research lab for day trips so he can interact in everyday human society.
Eventually Karen feels genuine romantic attraction for the (anatomically correct) artificial man, but their bispecies love affair detours up various conspiratorial alleys, as William unmasks another 900-Series android already living full-time in the city, then investigates why every member of the
900 design team dropped dead except for Karen's boss, Dr. Winston (Ossie Davis). Asking too many questions sends the pair fleeing from Winston's various hirelings (including Chandra Galassa, doing Pam Grier's old bit as a baadasssss action chick). Finally the fugitives are caught and taken back to
the lab, where Winston greets Karen with "Haven't you figured it out yet?" The problem is, most viewers probably have. Winston is himself an android replica of the main designer, who was stricken by the same heart ailment Karen is supposed to remedy. But android Winston pulled the plug on the real
Winston's life-support and now wants the cure strictly for himself. When she resists doing the surgery he keels over, doomed. Even though William/Teach 905 was privy to the deception, Karen heads off into the sunset with him anyway--maybe male androids are more than anatomically correct.
The ingratiatingly casual Dunne (AFTER HOURS) is nicely cast against type as the synthetic being, as are Davis and a wildly neurotic Saul Rubinek. But a flailing, buggy story line soon crashes THE ANDROID AFFAIR. Though the feature's production design of Winston's lab complex is appropriately
ominous tech noir, the outside world turns out to be a blandly generic Toronto, backdrop to many a TV-movie chase scene virtually identical to those here. Isaac Asimov is better served by his posthumously published collaboration with Harlan Ellison, I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay, written
for a unrealized 1970s motion picture project but packaged in book form in 1994. (Violence, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Made for cable TV, THE ANDROID AFFAIR gets asterisked as an indirect Hollywood contribution from science-fiction legend Isaac Asimov (FANTASTIC VOYAGE). Asimov's actual involvement was mere shared story credit for the short subject "Teach 109," which filmm… (more)