Short Circuit (1986) Film Review

Rating PG
Length 1h38
Release 5.12.1986
Director John Badham
About Johnny is a data courier who literally carries data packages inside his head for a fee. This time he carries a package that is too large to hold for long and he must race against time to deliver it.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: DVD

First Thoughts

This was MY movie. This was on a repeat cycle along with Santa Claus: the Movie, Flight of the Navigator and Batteries Not Included. Short Circuit was my comfort movie, only to be replaced when Jurassic Park was available to own.
However, I probably hadn’t watched this again since I reached double digits. Surprisingly, I remembered almost all of it word for word.

The Good

  • This really is a film for everyone. There was so much humour and dialogue I hadn’t picked up on as a kid that I’m sure adults at the time would have found funny. The best example is when Johnny 5 offloads his tracker to a cute looking couple. They’re pulled over by Skroder and his crones and the wife turns to the husband and states: “I hope you moved the grass from the glove compartment”.
  • G W Bailey. If you’re in the UK, you probably know him best for his comedic roles in Police Academy and Mannequin. However, in the States, he’s a highly regarded dramatic actor. It’s only once you see him in some of his more serious roles that you really begin to appreciate his style of humour. The joy of having Bailey in these roles witnessing the moment the character snaps. That “She’s the dummy, she’s the dummy.” moment, if you will.
  • Wall-e tried to take Johnny 5’s crown, but come on. No robot is ever going to be better than Johnny “I am alive” 5. Even with his angles and metal exterior, I want to hug him. It’s the voice that truly makes him. There’s something charming about it.
  • While a little heavy on the synth, I adore this score and soundtrack. It may be to do with how much I watched this film, but I can’t hear its title without mentally singing “who is Johnny?”, the films theme song, in my head.

The Bad

  • The weird leering of Johhny 5 over Stephanie is something I didn’t catch as a kid, but really creeps me the fuck out as an adult. Perhaps it’s not so much Johnny’s flirtations, but how Stephanie responds?! I mean, is she hoping he has an attachment just for her?!

The Ugly

  • I think its a given that Fisher Stevens’ brown face is one of the most offensive things put on celluloid. Mainly because this is one of the most inoffensive films. ever. Oh, and the fact that he’s the one that comes over to the sequel?! Seriously.
    Of course, at the time, I thought nothing of it. I giggled away at him getting things wrong in that ‘funny voice’. However, as an adult, I’m horrified that there was a time in which this stereotype was acceptable.

Final Thoughts

It still has that charm, but it certainly won’t be on my regular rewatch list any time soon.

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