Peter and John (Benjamin and Brolin) go on holiday to 'Westworld', where robots play the roles of cowboys - as well as Medievals and Romans in the various other 'worlds' - allowing human visitors to fulfill their wildest historical fantasies. One gunslinger (Brynner) takes offence at being shot, refuses to play dead and goes postal, triggering a resort-wide massacre of the guests by his microchip brethren.
Yul Brynner is superbly cast as a malevolent android replica of his Magnificent Seven gunfighter as Michael Crichton directs his bestelling novel onto the big screen. The sight of Brynner walking indestructibly toward the camera, all in black, his eyes cold and unerring like a couple of silver bullets, is as haunting as any screen bogeyman. That his performance sometimes makes his peers pale in their haphazard panicking is one of the films very few downfalls.
This is an imaginative variation of the machines-run-amok theme, which scavenges storylines from the worlds that are connected to 'Westworld' (a mead and chicken-leg heaven that is Medieval World, and a wine and toga party that is Roman World) via a web of underground passageways and an eerily prescient CCTV system. When tomorrow's world goes tits up, these cameras give enticing snippets of the unfolding horror that help give the film a healthy edge, rather than lowering it into the zombified ranks it so easily could have steeped to.
Crichton has lived up to his literary promise, thinking us into a corner before he pulls the trigger.
A sharp, far-reaching sci-fi that will be remembered for Brynner's monotone maniac and a classic premise; Westworld is a thrilling What If?