The 1990s decade features some great, ground breaking sci-fi. What follows is a growing selection of the best from the 1990s and some of which might have dived bombed at the box office but still founded a strong fan base. Its a real mixed collection including everything from Scifi Horror and Scifi Action to Scifi Comedy.
RoboCop 2 (1990)
Following on from the success of 80’s cult classic science fiction RoboCop, RoboCop 2 was another American cyberpunk action film directed by Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back and Never Say Never Again). Alex Murphy returns as RoboCop, cybernetic (not by choice) law enforcement officer. He must come to terms with his new life and accept that he can no longer return to the old. A new drug has surfaced in the crime-laden city of Detroit, causing crime to run rampant. The powers that be are building a new super RoboCop V2 which unfortunately goes wrong. Now Murphy must not only battle crime but a crazy RoboCop 2. Interestingly RoboCop also had a very short run as a TV Series. It only ran for one season.
Robocop 1, 2 and 3 and the remade Robocop from 2014 are available on Netflix. ‘RoboCop 2’ Reboot Sequel may still happen as Sony hasn’t said an outright no.
Watch the RoboCop 2 Trailer
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
This is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time and a 90’s Scifi list would be incomplete without it. Set 11 years after “The Terminator” Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as a re-purposed T-800 Terminator sent from the future this time as a protector of John Connor and not a killer. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), returns this time chiseled and bordering on savagery as she is haunted and driven by her knowledge of the future and impeding nuclear holocaust. There’s plenty of action, explosions and gun fire as the three of them go on the run while chased by the antagonist of the story, the seemingly unstoppable liquid metal T-1000 terminator.
Alien 3 (1992)
Alien 3 took an even darker turn then the previous Alien Horror and Alien 2 action film. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns as the only survivor escaped from LV42 in Aliens 2. She crash lands on Fiorina 161, a bleak wasteland inhabited by former inmates of the planet’s maximum security prison. The alien has arrived with her. As it hunts down the prisoners and guards Ripley comes literally face to face with the Alien. Without weapons or modern technology of any kind, Ripley leads the unsavory inhabitants into a no win battle against the Alien. The film was considered too bleak and at the time of release it under-performed compared to its predecessors. One of the main criticisms was that it deviated too far from the lore of the first two movies. It also risked bringing the franchise to an end with its conclusion but fortunately Science Fiction can return anyone or anything from any situation. Over time the film has gained greater appraisal and a strong fan following as a stylized monster movie with some subtle feminist commentary.
Watch the Alien 3 Trailer
Strange Days (1995)
Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), is an ex-cop turned sleazy hustler. He hawks the latest underground black market thrill known as a “squid.” The squid is a headpiece that allows the wearer to transmit digital recordings of other people’s thoughts, memories and feelings into their brain. Sex and violence are the most popular themes for clips however Lenny draws the line with “blackjack” and refuses to deal with snuff clips. Lenny spends his own time with clips he recorded of his girlfriend Faith, before they split. Faith is now involved with Philo Grant (Michael Wincott), a music business tycoon who once managed a successful artist Jeriko. When a clip emerges that shows Jeriko was killed by L.A. police officers, all hell breaks loose and Lenny finds his life in danger. Strange Days was written by James Cameron in collaboration with former film critic Jay Cocks and with Kathryn Bigelow directing. An action Scifi cult classic.
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Event Horizon (1997)
When a distress signal is received from the Event Horizon, a starship that disappeared during its voyage to Proxima Centauri, a rescue vessel called Lewis and Clark is dispatched. Onboard are Captain Miller and his crew and the Event Horizon’s designer, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neil). The Doctor briefs the crew, informing them that the Event Horizon was built to test an experimental gravity drive that generates an artificial black hole. The black hole creates a gateway between two points in space-time. The film takes a lot from other films such as Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining making it a really scary horror Scifi. Its a neon/steam-punk nightmarish ride to hell…
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Uniformity consumes Gattaca, a chilling look at a future obsessed with perfection. The premise of the world of ‘Gattaca’ is that you can increase your child’s chances of success by building them from the very best DNA. From the moment a child is born, their life pathway and success, is determined by their genes. Gattaca is kind of a class warfare story mixed with romance. Ethan Hawke plays Vincent Freeman who cheats the system to fulfill his lifelong career goal, a relentless pursuit to become an astronaut. He hooks up with Uma Thurman and love attempts to triumph in a rigid society where everything is predetermined. There’s no explosions and no real special effects, Gattacca presents itself as an “intelligent” film about prejudices and neurotic behavior in a stifling, controlled world.
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The Fifth Element 1997
The Fifth Element was a big-budget popcorn Scifi featuring Bruce Willis as a gritty failing taxi driver Corbin Dallas and Milla Jovovich as LeeLoo or the “Fifth Element.” Corbin Dallas gets swept up in an ancient mystery and quest to save the Earth from complete destruction when Leeloo literally falls through the roof of Corbin’s taxi. An over the top eye candy, at times grotesque Scifi action adventure that never takes its self too seriously.
Dark City (1998)
In a Matrix like perpetual dark night, a man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember. Dark City is a nightmarish world with a boundary that can not be escaped. There is no sun and each perpetual night at midnight, the clock stops. People fall unconscious and strangers emerge to rearrange the city. When the people wake, they are different characters in an altered setting. The film features a fantastic cast (Kiefer Sutherland, William Hurt and Jennifer Connolly). A must see science fiction thriller.
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The Faculty (1998)
Horror and mystery prevail over Herrington High when the teachers and faculty start to behavior strangely. The schools faculty become controlled by alien parasites and try to infect the students one by one. The Faculty is a fun teen horror science fiction Breakfast Club. Its cheesy and it didn’t win an Oscar but it’s a great watch if you have a taste for movies like The Thing or The Blob and archetypal teenage characters; loners, leaders, nerds, and jocks who must join to save the world.
Watch the Faculty Trailer
When navy divers discover a half-a-mile long spaceship at the bottom of the ocean a stellar cast (Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L Jackson, Queen Latifah) is sent down to investigate. They discover a perfect metal sphere. The tagline: Terror can fill any space. This is an underwater psychological variation on Aliens and similar to the Abyss. The Sphere won an award for Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction Film at the International Film Music Critics Award (IFMCA). Aside from that, it bombed at the box office. It scored only 4/10 at Rotten Tomatoes however it still makes for some enjoyable viewing as high caliber pulp science fiction.
Watch the trailer for The Sphere
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Galaxy Quest is a satirical, fun and warm-hearted look at the world of ‘Star Trek’ and its fandom. The premise follows the cast of a long-cancelled cult sci-fi series. They’re plucked from a convention circuit by real E.T.s. The aliens have mistaken the ‘Galaxy Quest’ television show for “historical documents” and recruit the desperate actors in a sci-fi adventure complete with aliens, alien planets, spaceships and monsters. Science fiction comedy at its best.
Watch the Galaxy Quest Trailer