Watch Hologram Man
- 1 hr 43 min
In 1995's Hologram Man, the world has become polluted and overrun with crime, leading to the implementation of a new justice system known as "telejustice." Criminals are sentenced to life in virtual reality prisons, where they are stuck in endless loops of torment as holographic avatars. However, when a terrorist group led by the villainous Slash Galagher (Evan Lurie) manages to escape their virtual imprisonment, it's up to telejustice enforcer Rick Trent (Joe Lara) to stop them.
The film takes place in the year 2024, and the opening scenes establish its dystopian future setting. We see Rick Trent, a hard-nosed lawman with a tragic past, deploying from his futuristic flying car to hunt down a band of criminals in a heavily polluted city. The sense of a decaying world is palpable, with trash and graffiti covering every surface and the sky tinted yellow from pollution.
Following a tense chase sequence, Rick finally apprehends the criminals and transports them to the virtual prison, where their consciousnesses are uploaded into the digital world. However, things quickly go awry when Slash Galagher and his gang of terrorists manage to escape back into the real world through a malfunctioning teleportation system.
From here, the movie becomes a cat-and-mouse game as Rick and his team work to track down and capture the escaped convicts. Hologram Man leans heavily on action and science fiction tropes, with plenty of gunfights, car chases, and futuristic gadgets throughout. However, it's not without its deeper themes, particularly around the ethics of virtual imprisonment and the limits of technology.
One of the most interesting characters in the movie is Dr. Tadayoshi, played by Michael Nouri. He's a brilliant scientist responsible for developing the telejustice system, and he becomes a key player in the battle against Slash Galagher. Dr. Tadayoshi is conflicted about the way his invention has been used to punish criminals, and the film raises ethical questions about the use of technology for punishment and control.
Another standout is John Amos as Jake, a veteran police officer who deeply respects Rick but has reservations about the virtual prison system. Jake serves as a mentor and confidant to Rick, and their scenes together lend some emotional weight to the otherwise action-heavy movie.
The villains are suitably menacing, with Evan Lurie chewing up the scenery as the unhinged Slash Galagher. He's hampered somewhat by the fact that his character is mostly just a generic '90s action movie bad guy, but he certainly puts in a memorable performance.
Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of Hologram Man is its use of practical effects. This was still a few years before the advent of widespread CGI, so the filmmakers had to rely on more traditional techniques like wirework, practical explosions, and animatronics. The result is a movie that feels tactile and real, even when it's depicting virtual environments.
Overall, Hologram Man is a fun, action-packed romp that doesn't take itself too seriously. While it's definitely a product of its time, with plenty of cheesy dialogue and '90s aesthetics, it's also an interesting snapshot of a time when our relationship with technology was rapidly changing. Fans of B-movie action and sci-fi will find plenty to enjoy here.