RUST
An action/horror film written by
Tim Hedrick and Richard D’Alessio

On a bleak, barren block in Detroit, unemployed tech geek Carlos does what he has to do to get by in a city that’s gone from Boomtown to ghost town – he hacks security on a drug den for a crew of armed robbers.  His part of the heist goes off without a hitch, and it looks like this is the score that will finally set him up with a new life somewhere outside the Motor City.

There’s just one problem: Cherry.  Born and raised on the streets, Cherry is a ghetto rose, thorns and all.  She’s got looks to kill with a Mac-10 to match, and she’s not afraid to use either to get her job done.  And just what is her job?  Protecting the drug house that Carlos’ gang is trying to rob.

Cherry smokes two members of Carlos’ crew before the rest can escape.  The driver, Randall, takes a bullet in the gut and is bleeding out, so Carlos finds himself promoted to wheelman with gruff ringleader Damius and his little sister Kisha in tow.  Cherry is hot on their heels along with her boss, Heater, and his driver, Big Mo.  After racing through a skid row crack alley filled with junkies that look like extras from “The Walking Dead,”  dodging automatic gunfire the whole way, Carlos manages to lose his pursuers by charging straight at them, winning the most important game of chicken in his life.

With Randall barely clinging to life, Carlos and his crew stop at a makeshift medical clinic in the twin towers of an abandoned housing project.  Randall is wheeled in to an operating room by a mysteriously robotic nurse, and his crew sits down to wait for their friend’s prognosis.  But they quickly discover that the medical clinic is not the only business in the old tenement – there’s also a speakeasy and strip club.  Damius and Kisha both enjoy the attentions of the beautiful strippers… until the strippers and the rest of the speakeasy employees and patrons reveal themselves to be killer cyborgs.

The crew manages to fight their way out of the bar, but they’re forced to run into the abandoned apartment building with no clear exit.  And there’s another issue: Cherry and her crew arrive at the building looking for Carlos and their stolen drug money.  Carlos, Kisha, and Damius try to escape, but they crash through a rotten floor and find themselves wading through a flooded basement that’s patrolled by aquatic cyborg creatures that tear into Kisha, nearly killing her.  Meanwhile, Cherry finds herself fighting the cyborg strippers.  She manages to save Heater, but Big Mo goes down with a buzz-saw to the brain.

Carlos and Damius drag Kisha through a courtyard full of cyborg dogs, one of which tears off her arm.  They can’t escape the grounds of the housing projects and go back in the building.  Carlos sees Cherry fighting more mechanical monsters on a skybridge that connects the two apartment towers.  Realizing that he’ll need a tough (all-human) killer on his side if his crew is going to make it out alive, Carlos goes to help her.  He manages to save her from a pair of one-wheeled cyborg motorcycles with samarai swords for arms, but not before Heater goes off the bridge and into the jaws of the dogs.

Carlos brings Cherry back to his crew, and Damius is inclined to shoot her, but Carlos convinces him that the non-robots need to stick together.  It’s then that the newly patched-up Randall appears, looking healthier than ever.  He says that he can help them get out, but it soon becomes clear that Randall is the latest cyborg creation of the mysterious Doctor who runs the clinic and wants to turn every living thing he meets into a robotic killing machine.

When Randall is found out, he summons some of his cyborg friends, gnarly old homeless guys who have been mounted on their own shopping carts like horrifying ghetto centaurs.  Cherry manages to take out Randall, but the shopping cart men finish off Damius and Kisha, loading their dismembered body parts into their baskets.  They come after Carlos and Cherry, but Carlos uses his hacking smarts to set off the wheel locks on the shopping carts, which stops them in their tracks.

Carlos and Cherry search for a way out of the nightmarish towers, and as they do they form a bond.  Cherry can see that Carlos is a good man doing his best in a terrible situation, and she respects his smarts and courage.  She opens up to him, the first time she’s been able to somewhat vulnerable with another person since childhood.

As Cherry and Carlos attempt to cross the skybridge between the buildings, they’re attacked by new steampunk demons, zombie bodies attached to ultralights that buzz them from the sky.  They catch Cherry with a hook in her side and drag her away.  Carlos manages to avoid them, causing one of them to crash into the bridge.  We see the crash through a video monitor – the Doctor is watching.

Cherry is taken to the Doctor’s lab and we learn that he’s been watching Cherry on the street for years.   She’s already close to the perfect killing machine and now that he has her on his operating table he’s ready to make enhancements to her that will turn her into his own personal terminator.  Meanwhile, Carlos sneaks through the building’s air ducts, gets chased by a horde of rats, and winds up falling through a ceiling into a makeshift rave where the dancers are brainwashed by a mind-controlling DJ.

He finally makes it to the OR and finds Cherry, but it’s too late – she’s under the Doctor’s control.  It seems like she might kill Carlos, but something in her remaining human side won’t let her.  The Doctor might control her brain, but Carlos is in her heart.  She tears out the chip in the base of her skull and she and Carlos fight the Doctor.

In a final battle that spills out into the streets, the Doctor controls a ghetto, rustbucket Transformer made of old trash trucks.  Carlos and Cherry manage to defeat it, but the Doctor’s robotic minions drag his body back into the lab, possibly to save their master.  Carlos and Cherry kiss and wander off into the Detroit night, Cherry forced to come to grips with the fact that she’s now part Rust.

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