Going in, one doesn't have enormous faith in a movie titled "Nightmare City 2035" - it sounds more like a game than a movie. As it began, the movie did seem rather cheesy. As we're first introduced to the two cops, Stevenson (Stefan Ivanov) in particular seems to be over-acting, as if he has no actual acting experience whatsoever. But it immediately gets a lot better, and not just on the acting front, either. The story draws you in, and from then on it never gives you a chance to feel bored. Stevenson is perhaps a bit over the top, but that's how his character is, and it works well in the end, when he comes to the Security Center to beat up McDowell, shaking him out of his chip-induced complacency.
The movie has a politically charged and obviously post-911 plot. It's about a ruthless ruling elite which engineers social collapses in order to induce fear in the population so people will accept an oppressive police state which gets increasingly out of hand, trampling still harder on the ordinary person's rights and freedoms. It's like an extreme version of the Patriot Act, coupled with the conspiracy theory that the U.S. government itself was behind 911 (which I don't believe, but in some cases the notion doesn't seem so far-fetched).
It's a good and worthwhile science fiction movie. All the plot points not only make sense, but also connect into a greater and coherent whole, and most of the acting talent is perfectly fine. The movie is pretty much carried by the surprisingly impressive performance of Maxwell Caulfield as Deputy Minor McDowell - I will even go so far as to say that this is the best performance by Caulfield I have ever seen (but then, he's never been a favorite of mine).
The copious visual effects, while probably cheap, are created with obvious passion, and in an economic way which serves the story without wasting expensive effects shots on action and explosions.
This is one of the rare, low-budget productions where every elements truly gels, and the story, directing and special effects actually work together and complement each other in a way that lifts the whole of the final product. I was impressed.
I rate this an 8 out of 10. Normally, I would give it 7, but considering what type of movie this is, and how rarely they turn out well, I think this deserves an extra notch, just for the passion the producers poured into it. This is a seriously nice piece of science fiction movie-making. As someone mentioned on the message boards: this is not a big movie with small ideas, but a small movie with big ideas. A handsome work, well worth the price of the DVD.
Review by sarastro7 from the Internet Movie Database.