AI Rising Review – Has Space Ever Felt So Dirty?
Take any porn movie and you can be sure there’ll be some plumber who not only tries to repair the drain, but also will examine the installation of the innocent housewife. A solid storyline with inventive twists and turns isn’t the most important thing in such films. That’s nothing new. And you can say the same thing about A.I. Rising.
Only this movie is a kind of a soft-sex version where you see Stoya more naked than dressed. Not that there’s much to see because she isn’t exactly blessed with voluptuous curves. Apparently, she’s a porn actress herself so she didn’t have any problems with parading around naked and acting in steamy love scenes.
But after 40 minutes, I started to wonder if something was going to happen. Because there’s no real variety. First a bit of psychological talking between Milutin (Sebastian Cavazza) and the android Nimani 1345 (Stoya). Then intense and titillating images of their love games. And then Stoya has to recharge her batteries by standing in a niche naked (of course). And this cycle repeats itself several times. To me, Stoya was a sort of humanized dildo. Charge it regularly and then use it to satisfy your indomitable desires. But just like porn, it’s monotonous and annoying after a while.
The ultimate goal of the trip to Alpha Centauri isn’t entirely clear.
Milutin apparently has to install “Juche” there. A kind of ideology for experts. It seems to me it’s something abstract. However, it’s becoming clear during Milutin’s conversation with a social engineer from Elderlezi Corporation, that it’s going to be a miserably long trip. That is why Nimani is involved. An android with customizable moods and with advanced artificial intelligence. In the first instance, her function is to be a companion to make the long journey more bearable (and pleasant, of course). After a while, however, it seems more likely that she’s there to dampen Milutin’s animal drive and instincts.
Her main task, however, is to keep everything under control (both the spaceship and the commander) so that the mission is brought to a successful conclusion. Now, if you look at the design and layout of the spaceship, it’s a good thing she went along as a playtoy. I fear that Milutin would otherwise be bored to death.
The spaceship certainly doesn’t look like the Enterprise. It is more like a steel colossus without a luxurious interior. The rusty looking steel walls do not look particularly cozy. The austere design is fairly depressing. It looks like a factory. Even the entire cockpit is limited to two solitary driver’s seats and a bunch of futuristic looking monitors. There’s no holodeck, bar, or leisure space. The only physical effort and entertainment there is for Milutin takes place in the bedroom.
But if you break through the erotic aspect, you will see that this Serbian SF also wants to address a more profound subject.
The interaction between a person and an artificial creation. Not that they tread new ground here because this same subject was also the basis of films such as Ex Machina, Uncanny, The Machine, Zoe, and to a lesser extent Her. Also, the phenomenon of a non-human creation gaining awareness is dealt with. But the central theme (and perhaps the most fascinating one) is the emotional relationship between man and machine.
At first sight, Milutin appears to be an emotionless, anti-pathetic person, who in the first instance doesn’t want any female company. However, as soon as he realizes the benefits, his obsessive and manipulative behavior begins and he uses (even abuses) the android. To his surprise, however, the lust turns into passion, which leads to anxiety, sadness, and even self-sacrifice.
However, in the end, this SF isn’t really fascinating. It’s repetitive.
Boring and long-winded. And the erotic scenes are too stretched and after a while downright annoying. And then the moment you think the story will develop further, Stoya appears naked again. Too exaggerated for my taste. But I have to admit that Stoya’s acting was far from bad. She managed to show a human side while being an android.
The image that will stay with me is the moment she demonstrates an android-like dance to Milutin. So tempting and at the same time so robotic. I would fall for her too at that point. Sebastian Cavazza was excellent at times, but overall, I found his character incredible. But apart from those few positive notes, this film was disappointing. Despite the sometimes beautiful space images, the emphasis was a little too much on the sexual aspect. Not something that I actually expect in an SF.
On a lonely mission to Alpha Centauri, Milutin is teamed up with a female cyborg (Nimani 1345). Longing for human intimacy, Sebastian alters Nimani’s programmed responses, but in doing so he risks the mission’s security–and his own life. I went into watching this film knowing only that. The gorgeous effects began to reel me in as the early scenes played out. If there’s a plus to this direct-to-DVD release, it has got to be the look of it all. Color me impressed. My apprehension starts to fade.
AI Rising may draw comparisons with Alex Garland’s film Ex-Machina.
Both films present something resembling a character study and his descent into madness. Each film has a male confounded by a female robot who masquerades as an attractive inquisitive member of the opposite sex. More on that later.
AI Rising’s lead male star Milutini is played by Sebastian Cavazza. His unique ability to mentally cope with the loneliness of space travel alone makes him an ideal candidate as a space pilot. His latest job is to deliver a new ideology to a colony. The corporation’s name is Ederlesi. They have mandated one female robot named Nimani, played by adult film star Stoya to accompany him on the mission.
Milutni quickly gets underway with the mission. The film wastes no time in getting to the android sex. The plot includes a lot of it. So much so that Milutini has jiggered with his schedule so it includes sex with Milutin. After about a year in space with Milutini, the sexual wish-granting genie things have gotten complicated. Their relationship now threatens to endanger the mission. More so due to the compulsive nature of Milutini than Nimani’s attraction to him. Since she’s an android, Mulitini is clearly the one here who’s miffed by the opposite gender.
The actors do a decent job with the material. The interactions between Milutin and Nimani come across as believable, but there is still a lot to be desired. The film wouldn’t really be on my re-watch list. Similarly, to Garland’s Ex-Machina’s confining of setting to a central location. Whereas in Garland’s case it was Nathan Bateman’s estate. Here in AI Rising the film largely takes place on the spaceship. Said spaceships design is well thought out, but still lacks the everyday worn Ikea of space Weiland Corp evokes in Ridley Scott’s Alien.
Directed By: Lazar Bodroza
Stars: Sebastian Cavazza, Stoya, Marusa Majer
Written By: Dimitrije Vojnov, Dimitrie Vojnov
On Disc/Streaming: Mar 12, 2019
Runtime: 85 minutes