In the near future when home and business security robots begin turning on the people they are assigned to protect, an organization known as ‘Troubleshooters’ are called upon to disable the robots and restore order. This is King Jeff’s sci-fi, Troubleshooters.
Back in 1982, a neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott flopped at the box office but became one of the most influential movies of all time. Starring Harrison Ford, Blade Runner was set in a dystopian Los Angeles and followed Ford’s Deckard, a bounty hunter also known as a ‘Blade Runner’, as he hunted down and killed replicants or androids. Considered to be one of the most influential science fiction films ever made, the film’s dark and atmospheric visuals, complex thought-provoking themes, and ground-breaking special effects have all been major influences on every science fiction film that has followed. King Jeff’s 62-minute low-budget sci-fi Troubleshooters is a direct descendant of Blade Runner that sees two bounty hunters known as Troubleshooters hired by a private company to hunt down its own batch of runaway robots that have turned from laser-blasting personal security robots into laser-blasting killers. Unfortunately, it’s there where the comparisons between Troubleshooters and Blade Runner have to end.
We have reviewed a couple of King Jeff’s other films here at Screen Critix before, including last year’s enjoyable Tales From The Murder Room, but this time Troubleshooters is a slight misstep from him as it doesn’t have the quality of his previous efforts or enough plot to sustain the full hour. In the end, what we get is a low-budget science fiction film reminiscent of the many 1980s Blade Runner follow-ups that didn’t have the budget to compete and ended up going straight to home video.
The film follows our two protagonists, Chilly Wallace (played by Gorio) and his partner Sandoval Wolf (played by our director King Jeff), who are hired to track down and destroy security robots sold by the same company that has begun to ignore their human masters and decided to destroy them instead. There is some nice patter in the dialogue between the two main colleagues, but there are also a lot of scenes with Gorio sitting on his own in a chair and talking to the camera as he is asked questions about being a Troubleshooter by a disembodied voice doing some sort of employment survey. How is he feeling? Is he enjoying his work? What can be changed to make it better?
Due to the film’s low budget, the special effects in Troubleshooters are shaky and reminiscent of the BBC’s classic Dr. Who series from the 1960s or early 1970s, particularly the runaway robots themselves who seem to be made up of leggings and leotards donned by actors in rubber masks. There are also a lot of two-shots, we very rarely have more than two people in the frame at any one time.
Overall, while Troubleshooter is not King Jeff’s finest piece of work, it can still be fun despite its flaws. There are a few things that make Troubleshooters enjoyable. First, director King Jeff is clearly having fun and playing around with his concept. Secondly, the soundtrack, as in all King Jeff’s productions, is great, and thirdly the film is surprisingly amusing at times with a few knowing smirks raised during the runtime. Making a movie on a little-to-no budget is already incredibly difficult. Making a good sci-fi epic with no money is nearly impossible. You have to applaud all involved for having the guts and determination with Troubleshooters, but the lack of budget is detrimental to the quality of a product in this genre.
If you’re a fan of movies on the Sy-Fy channel, then you’ll definitely enjoy Troubleshooter, but if you are looking for a special and memorable piece of sci-fi fantasy, then this isn’t the film to satisfy those urges.