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Can Anyone Identify this R-Rated 90s HBO VR Flick? February 12, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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We’re doing this again and I apologize. Years back, I asked you guys if you would help me identify an early 90s made for TV movie that aired on the Disney Channel at least once. Sadly, it didn’t work and to this day I STILL don’t have a name for it. However, in the spirit of the season, I humbly ask for you to help me with a different film from a later part of the decade that aired on a different premium cable channel.

When I was a teen I had access to the HBO network and would frequently watch mid-90s action flicks like Demolition Man, Mission: Impossible and Independence Day on it. It was how I first saw classics like Real Genius and Wargames. It also broadcasted tons of different B-movies I never remembered being shown in theaters. Today, I’m going to ask you guys to give me its name, if it is in fact real.

I just want to give a warning here before I talk about the film’s synopsis. This film, if it wasn’t some dream of mine, was a hard-R rated movie. Because of that it is full of sex and violence (and all the visuals that go along with that). The subject matter I’m about to talk about may make some people uncomfortable and if that is the case I recommend skipping the rest of this article.

The film centers around a detective, an ex-soldier from a future war that had long ended, tasked with protecting an infamous celebrity actress from harm. The actress hadn’t done much work of note at the time the film starts, but had recently seen a resurgence in popularity due to the fact a scene from one of her first movies had been modified into a popular interactive sex game without her knowledge or consent. Following this new notoriety, a police task force had been assigned to protect her after she received several very believable threats. The ex-soldier assigned to the task of protecting her is also recovering from the death of his partner (who ironically before he died was one of the actress’s fans). Along the way the main character and the actress he is protecting fall in love. Essentially, the film is a futuristic version of The Bodyguard.

Unfortunately I can’t remember names, actors or actresses in the film. As far as I know, no actor I recognized at the time was in the film. The only identifying evidence I could remember about the film was that the protagonist was previously addicted to a fictional narcotic the film called “Hellraiser”. No, I’m not kidding that’s what it was called, although it might have been spelled “Hellraizer” or “Hell Raiser”. The narcotic was said to make killing enjoyable to its user. As such it was issued in mass quantities to the soldiers fighting, and after the war ended these soldiers had to deal with the consequences of their addiction. Users would even have a distinctive tattoo on their forearms showing they had used the drug at some point in their lives, looking like a biological hazard symbol. I don’t remember if the film ever mentioned if these tattoos were received as part of the Army unit they were in, if it was the soldier’s choice to get them, or the tattoos were some futuristic side effect of the drug.

At the film’s climax, the main character is forced to play a Virtual Reality game to help him find the person responsible for threatening the actress. I’m assuming that there was no budget for 3D CG gameplay because the VR game is depicted to the audience as live action real footage. However it did have a gameplay announcer that could be heard over a loud speaker (insert your Unreal Tournament narration jokes here) The VR system the protagonist uses was created by an old combat buddy of his who also had to deal with the consequences of addiction. He is even able to find the drug he was addicted to as an in-game power up, and is forced to take it to give himself a badly needed advantage. I believe it is implied in the film any drugs taken in the VR game will actually be administered to the user.

At the end of the film, the actress is safe but the man who protected her tells her he can’t be in a relationship with her anymore as he has become re-addicted (due to the events in the VR game) and must leave her to get clean again.

An IMDB search failed to come up with any leads for this particular film although it succeeded in helping me find some other great B-movie gems I saw on the station at around the same time. It is not the film Cyber Tracker starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson, even though the plot had some similarities and aired on the station around the same time, moments in that film don’t match up to my memory.

That all having been said I wanted to applaud the film, if it turns out it actually existed it dealt with some intense subject matters that are only now being talked about openly. How does an artist that is still alive deal with the consequences of what happens if their work is perverted without their consent? How do former soldiers deal after returning to their lives in peacetime? What is the possible future of VR? This is all addressed in a (presumably) low-budget film full of sex and violence.

Does anyone know it’s name? I can imagine a lot of online reviewers would love to take a look at it.

UPDATE: I have been given a tip it might be the 1996 film Terminal Justice starring Lorenzo Lamas and Peter Coyote.

I won’t know for sure until I can find that film to watch myself as it doesn’t seem to be on any digital or cable streaming service in existence right now. A million thanks to Lammakian for finding this title! Now if only I can find a retailer who will rent or sell me a copy of the film to verify it myself.

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