Milla Jovovich and James Franco mash-up Mad Max and Ex Machina in Future World trailer

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Apr 3, 2018

James Franco’s name on the marquee has always been more appealing when it’s as an actor rather than as a director, but after the success of last year’s Z-movie saga The Disaster Artist, he could change all that — especially with the desert-biker riff Future World.

That's the same title as the '70s sequel to the Westworld movie, but the similarities seem to end there. Franco co-directs this with Bruce Thierry Cheung, who’s worked as the former’s cinematographer for years. Together, they’ve come up with a movie that looks like they added a single synthetic being beneath the spiked leather pauldrons of Mad Max’s oil-driven society.

Suki Waterhouse plays the complex, Ex Machina-like robotic being, who fights grimy henchmen and wrecks Jeeps as well as any action hero. She’s woken by Franco’s yellow-toothed character, who, along with Milla Jovovich’s scheming ringleader, seems to have an ulterior motive (surprise!) for this chosen android.

Take a look at the trailer:

Pretty much just all the flavor of The Road Warrior with some robotic intrigue thrown in for good measure. Sure, Lucy Liu, Method Man, and Snoop Dogg stop by — which makes it far more interesting than if it was simply Franco wandering around cackling in a desert like it was Burning Man — but there're far more references than original ideas in the trailer.

That said, the generic title and borrowed aesthetic only make the differences stand out more. Fighting over a single woman, while similar to the plot of Mad Max: Fury Road's enslaved escape, is complicated a bit when she’s a superpowered fighting robot. Future World’s influences are certainly in the right place to be fun, but beyond that, we’ll only know in a future world.