So Bad it’s Netflix#14: Condor

So what if the only Scorsese movie Netflix Streaming offers is Last Temptation of Christ? Who cares if their Spielberg collection consists of Amistad, Hook and 1941? What Netflix does have in abundance is garbage. It’s time to surrender and celebrate it. This isn’t so bad it’s good… this is so bad it’s Netflix. 

Condor (1986)

The cover art for Condor shows a car on fire with the word “Condor” pasted over it. That’s it. The image is so nondescript it’s almost as if Netflix is trying to steer people away from this dumb, old, ABC TV Movie of the Week. If so, they’re doing the right thing. However, there will always be something awesome about some sci-fi from 1986 that’s set in the year 1999; a whopping thirteen years in the future.


We open with a shot of the modern buildings and freeways of downtown L.A. Apparently, in 1999, people still love driving their vintage 1986 cars. A voiceover from a young Ray Wise (Preacher, Twin Peaks, RoboCop), who plays agent Christopher Proctor, sets the scene:

“This is home base, a city on the edge of the twenty first century. My name is Proctor, and I live here [an old house]. A little old fashioned, but that’s my style. I work for an international peace-keeping force named Condor. I just finished a rough assignment where I lost a good friend and partner. Condor found me a new one, Lisa Hampton. I’m not sure it’s gonna work.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.41.13 AM

We are then treated to a montage of highlights from the movie we’re about to watch, while the theme plays and the cast is introduced. It’s now obvious that Condor is not an M.O.W. at all, but a failed pilot episode that was tweaked a little bit to hit the required seventy three minute running time.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.41.42 AM

Wendy Kilbourne plays Lisa Hampton, the waspiest-named lady robot ever. As one would guess, Proctor doesn’t cotton to his new robot partner. Forced to pair up with this beautiful hunk of metal, all he does is insult Lisa as she continues to help him and even save his life. All the while, Proctor fights his unwanted, new-fashioned sexual feelings towards her/it. Being an old fashioned guy, Proctor likes cats, wears down vests and lives by one rule: No sex with robots, got me? I mean really, what dude would ever want to have sex with a super-hot girl robot who’ll never get pregnant or catch his gonorrhea? It’s disturbing that Lisa comes on to Proctor first. Was she programmed to sexually satisfy her partners? If so, Proctor’s boss was really burying the lead when he handed Lisa over to him.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.42.21 AM

The ending chase actually offers some cool cars and some killer toy helicopter action (it’s supposed to be a real helicopter, but whaddaya gonna do? Incidentally, Whaddaya Gona-Du is my Kenyan best friend’s name). This big chase scene also doubles as a rousing tribute to Grease.

Let’s go to the So Bad it’s Bullet Points!


  • 1999: The Future is Then!

Condor has two things in common with Bladerunner; both films feature androids and both are set in a future that’s way too close to our present. Bladerunner takes place in 2019, twenty years after Condor, and a mere five years from right now. Somehow, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing fully functioning androids in five years and I also refuse to believe the world is going to turn all Japanese, dark and wet. The idea of androids existing in 1999 is just plain wishful thinking on a zany level. So why is Condor set only thirteen years in the future? Couldn’t the writers have jacked up the date just a little bit to make things believable? No, they couldn’t and I’ll tell ya why. If Condor took place in the year 3000, that would mean creating an elaborate world that a chintzy TV movie budget would never be able to handle.

According to Condor, there will be no internet In 1999, but we will certainly have public ashtrays that zap the butts into thin air. Of course that means everyone is still smoking. The ashtray inventors may have put the cart before the horse there. Other stupid inventions include an alarm clock that wakes you up with a wailing opera singer, projected like Princess Leia onto your table.


Cool idea, I guess, but more like a giant waste of time and energy. The stupidest invention that 1999 offers is a giant ATM-like machine that’s fused to everyone’s dashboard. It seems to do nothing other than make phone calls. We see Proctor press a button on his machine and orders lunch- a burger and coffee, the most old-fashioned meal there is. He then goes and picks it up at a pirate-themed fast food joint. Mmmmm, nothing like washing that hot meat down with a scalding cup of coffee. Refreshing as a walk on the beach, it is.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.42.47 AM

The most important question here is, why would you have to call in an order at a drive-thru restaurant? Never mind, the counter lady is a robot, which means it’s all very impressive. Hasn’t the government gotten around to making male robots yet? I’m guessing the fascist, patriarchal regime that owns America in 1999 is sticking with girl-bots for obvious, Stepford Wives kind of reasons.


  • Ray Wise as a Normal Person

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.43.15 AM 

Ray Wise excels at playing nutballz. He’s a vicious thug in RoboCop, a super-weirdo in Twin Peaks, the devil himself in Reaper, and when a Tim & Eric or a Paul Scheer needs a platinum-grade creep, they call on Wise. In Condor, Wise tries very hard to play a normal cop and fails miserably. The truth is he’s too classy an actor, with too refined a speaking voice to be playing a regular Joe. Wise is a great looking guy, but his face is naturally frightening. The man’s got Kinski-face, ok?

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.43.50 AM


  • Cassandra Gava Sighting

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.44.14 AM

Due to my useless ability to recognize faces in movies, I soon I.D.’d the lady in the silver jump suit and visor. She’s the alluring Cassandra Gava, who, in Conan the Barbarian (1982), plays the filthy, slutty, demon witch who gets f*cked by Schwarzennegger so hard she turns into a screaming ball of light. Good to see her in Condor, all cleaned up and ready for a good workout.


  •  Virgil the Cat Steals the Show

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.44.37 AM

Far and away, the best thing about Condor is Virgil the Cat, Proctor’s roommate and best pal. Virgil is introduced in a wonderfully useless, forty five second scene in which Proctor greets Virgil, picks him and puts him down. The camera then lingers on Virgil lying on the bed for a strangely long time, as if he’s about to say something hilarious. Later on, Proctor and Virgil engage in some Abbott & Costello-esque shtick, when Proctor loses an arm-wrestling match to Lisa. Frustrated, he looks down at Virgil and yells, “What are you looking at? Beat it!” Then- get this… the cat walks away! That’s sooooo Virgil.


  • Sexual Harassment in the Future Place

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 1.45.00 AM

Apparently, in the future, it will still be cool for men in positions of power to put their arms around female underlings. I can’t blame Lisa the Robot for not protesting; she was just invented and doesn’t understand this phenomenon we humans call “pater-over-familias.” How much you wanna make a bet this old dude is shutting poor Lisa off at night and rubbing on her?


 Next Week: We Get Permissive and also very, very ill.