Boy can your memories lie to you. I fondly remember watching “Tekwar” back in 1994 when I’d watch literally anything that was on TV. The station WPIX in New York launched a slew of television movies that were destined to become television shows in the immediate future, and “Tekwar” was one of them. Based on the novels by William Shatner, “Tekwar” began as a series of television movies, then it became a comic book series (I was never that desperate for comics), and inevitably became a television series. Since watching it twice in 1994, I only fondly remember the robotic hockey player who, at one point, has to battle Greg Evigan’s shady police officer character in a hockey rink.
“Tekwar” almost twenty years later is a muddled and convoluted science fiction film that obviously props up a lot of storylines for the potential sequels and series. There’s nothing I hate more than a movie that’s merely just a book end for future movies, and “TekWar” is guilty of such a crime. After a low–ahem–tek opening sequence, we’re brought in to the near (?) future where virtual reality is considered an addictive element of civilization. And also, the local android population are called Mechs. Which they consider offensive. Which doesn’t surprise me because it sounds like Mick. For a portion of the movie I thought hero Jake Cardigan was calling the androids Micks, which convinced me perhaps the androids came from some Irish owned technological manufacturer. I digress. The Mechs are disrespected even by Jake, who is supposed to be the hero.
With a stubble, and brown trench coat, Cardigan awakens from being frozen for four years with his sweet ass slicked back mid-nineties coif in tact. After being accused of murdering his fellow police officers, he’s released from his frozen state and now has to bring his life back together. His wife has left him, has taken away his son, and he discovers this with the help of hipster hackers who spend at least fifteen minutes surfing the net with excellent gloves and touch screens reminiscent of “Minority Report.” You have to love the nineties’ misunderstanding of the web to where any movie involving computers made surfing the next look like you were going through a rollercoaster at Six Flags. The techno hackers even clap and giggle through their net surfing. Future net is futuristic and stuff! Jake is given a chance to work at a security firm for William Shatner, who agrees to help him clear his name.
But Cardigan discovers there’s something more going on behind the scenes, all of which is incredibly tedious, and horribly convoluted. I sat with attention undisturbed during the first “Tekwar” and had no idea what was going on. Eventually, I just kept asking “When is the robot hockey player coming in?” He eventually does, but you have to slog through ninety minutes of an endless series of twists and turns, and plot points that may not mean a thing unless you pick up the comics, the following TV movies, and the television series. Which I won’t do. Sometimes nostalgia just has to stay in the past, as “Tekwar: The Original Movie” is bargain basement science fiction with a stale protagonist, a convoluted murder mystery, and a narrative that feels incomplete.