Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rewind: The Eliminators Movie Review

Before we close out 2-aught-12, we rewind the blog back to February 13, 2010 and this look at the cult 80s Charles Band flick, The Eliminators!

A scientist, a ninja, and a Mandroid walk into a bar

Eliminators (1986)

Not a review, but more a stream of consciousness reaction. This is "Man with a Laptop Watches a Movie II."

“Empire Pictures Presents” – Yikes, that was Charles Band’s company and a sure sign that quality will not be a huge consideration.

Generic keyboard soundtrack right off the bat. There’s also a little blast of music when the Eliminators title flashes on screen, a true hallmark of 1980s cinema along with mullets and leg warmers.

“Peggy Mannix?” – Did Joe Mannix have a kid in between all his investigating and beating up thugs for Intertect?

Stock footage of a WWII era plane going down. The pilot is saying “may day, may day” but it sounds like “ribbit, ribbit.”

I didn’t realize Vasquez Rocks was colonized by Roman soldiers.

Now THIS is a fun (non-Casio keyboard) score that just kicked in, set to what looks like Charles Bands version of 2001’s slit scan photography.

“Help the Mandroid from the cage Takata.” How many times have we heard THAT before?

Mandroid looks like the love child of an old school Cylon and an HVAC surplus store.

Mad scientist Roy Dotrice as Reeves does his own electrolysis. But does he bill his insurance?

The Mandroid needs his “Mobile Unit?” Ohhh.

The Mandroid’s Mobile Unit kicks serious ass. It's got treads like a tank, that thing is amazing! Robocop needs to get him one a those for his new movie.

Why would the Mandroid EXIT Reeves' compound and THEN turn and scream out “Reeves!” How is he going to hear him?

Mandroid looks like he’s got a swamp cooler coming out of his back. That or a four-slice toaster.

This forest is filled with nothing but fog machines, spotlights and heartache.

DENISE CROSBY ALERT! Wait, she’s only 20-something and she’s a COLONEL? Of what?

Why does her buddy S.P.O.T. look almost exactly like V.I.N.CENT. from The Black Hole? Perhaps it has something to do with a purloined plastic model kit. And why does S.P.O.T. turn into an irritating ball of bouncing light?

Good thing Mandroid used the green sleep gas, like comics' Dr. Mid-Nite.

The Mandroid shops at Home Depot for all his black-tarp-as-coat needs.

That’s a lot of sparks, Mandroid better get MAACO.

First Mandroid, then Data, Denise Crosby must have a thing for cybermen.

“Seach Patrol and Operational Tactician.” Wait that spells….
Aww, little dude likes The Jetsons.

Andrew Prine is rockin’ that sleeveless army shirt. Not really. Dude’s spindly arms look like the average 10 year old kid’s legs.

Look out, it’s Rosie O’Donnell’s stunt double! Wearing plaid!

It’s “Rednecks on Mexican Waters!” Sounds like a new Disney ride.

Boat chases and explosions? Is this a Bond movie? No, not James Bond, Gomer Bond (his third cousin, twice removed).

Why is “Bayou Betty” boating around with a foppish French maitre d?

Little S.P.O.T. has a full Qwerty keyboard.

Why does Mandroid always sound like he has a mouth full of marbles and he’s speaking in slow motion? Even Stephen Hawking is easier to understand.

“Quo Vadis means “we kick ass”?” Must be a new translation.

This is a sci fi movie, so why all the unnecessary “Dukes of Hazzard on Water” stunts?

So that swamp cooler on Mandroid’s back is just some kind of mounting bracket for S.P.O.T?

All this tromping around over boulders and forest reminds me of Korg, 70,000 B.C. What?

Is this some kind of weird sci fi version of Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” with the long, slow boat trip up the river?

Mandroid and S.P.O.T. overboard! They’ll probably be swallowed by a giant anaconda or Jennifer Lopez (yes, that was redundant).

“John, oh my GAWD!” – suddenly Denise is Snooki from Jersey Shore.

It’s really nice to see old-fashioned hand drawn cell animated energy bolt things. (wipes away a tear)
Roy Dotrice really needs to learn to use a needle and thread better, because his facial scars are just getting nastier. (They look like one of those dotted line trails of Billy from Family Circus when he wanders to and fro.)

Mandy and S.P.O.T. walk and float, respectively, out of the water. Now S.P.O.T. is a big useless squirt gun (so much for the Super Soaker tie in).

CAVEMEN ARE ATTACKING DENISE CROSBY! And, wtf, Andrew Prine is somehow pulled underwater and captured in a giant homemade cage.

“Oh, hi, ninja” Mandroid doing a Tommy Wiseau impression to Kuji the Ninja as he ninja-squats near a fire.

I gotta ask: How many mad scientist’s Japanese assistants have ninja sons? I’m taking a poll for Gallup.

Since when do ninjas have mullets? That’s like number one on the ninja checklist: NO mullets.

I can’t tell if that’s a caveman or cavewoman. Since it’s got Betty White’s hairstyle I’m gonna go with cavewoman.

Ninja with nunchuks vs. cavepeople with spears. Care to wager on that outcome?

Mandroid’s feet have little boat motors in them? Was he built by Evinrude?

“We got robots, we got cave men, we got kung fu!” (Andrew Prine) – That should have been the tagline for the poster.

Mandroid hid his Mobile Unit by leaving it out in plain sight? Wile E. Coyote could have done a better job of hiding it.

LOOKOUT, IT’S MEGAFORCE MOTORCYCLE REJECTS! Their windshields are made of a kind of flyswatter-mesh material instead of plastic. That breaks so many automotive and mad scientist safety rules.

The Mobile Unit is toast! Because he tried to drive it up a boulder and it fell over? What an ignominious end.

The fat henchman who acts like a spazzy extra from The Fall Guy takes a tumble.

I can appreciate the fact these guys get into so much trouble, but I just wish any of it were the least bit interesting. It's like The Lord of the Rings: they're trying to get to a place to do a thing, and keep running into obstacles. But instead of orcs and Nazgul, the Eliminators run into fat guys, cavemen, and Mexican hench-hombres. It somehow lacks a certain zing.

Mandroid looks like he needs a cuddle with Denise Crosby. Heck, she once did it with Data, so we know she’s “into” machines.

S.P.O.T.’s back but the little iSHIT is possessed or something.

Strike the pose: Kuji the ninja is vogue-ing to avoid S.P.O.T.’s wee laser blasts.

Ninja sword to S.P.O.T.’s CPU! Go gently into that digital goodnight, sweet S.P.O.T.

They simply walk out of Backlit Forest right up to the mad scientist’s lair and no one notices.

You are shitting me! Kuji the ninja just JUMPED through the blades of a giant spinning fan. Is there nothing that a Supercuts' mullet won’t allow you to do?

Now they’re in Indiana Jones’ rumpus room with all the shiny idols and “fortune and glory.”

Roy Dotrice wants to go back in time and rule ancient Rome? “Hail Reeves” just doesn’t have the same ring as “Hail Caesar!”

This mad scientist has the worst dressed hench-people: it’s all faded denim and plaid and golf shirts. WHERE’S THE ONE PIECE SINGLE-COLORED DR. NO-APPROVED JUMPSUITS?

One well-thrown shuriken can sure mess up an ion disruptor cannon big time.

Does Roy Dotrice get paid for every time he utters the name “Mandroid?”

With his last Radio Shack transistor the Mandroid saves his friends. (sniff)

Reeve’s time machine looks like a giant prototype for a flux capacitor.

Andrew Prine just punched the mad scientist’s computer. Ah, the old days of vacuum tubes and do-it-yourself tech support.

Great Land of the Lost-type partial set and matte painting/miniature of the Silurian Era!

They freeze-frame on our heroes laughing at their victory a la Police Squad…and it’s over!

Eliminators was written by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, one of their first efforts for producer Charles Band. They went on to write, produce or direct such genre gems as The Flash tv show, The Rocketeer and The Sentinel. You can tell they were influenced by comic books, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies with the whole "lovable scoundrel teams up with a Ninja, a beautiful scientist, and a Cyborg" angle. But they simply didn't have a budget to do this justice. Three quarters of the movie seems to be the river boat trip and stomping around in the woods. It fills time but it's not a whole lot of fun. Of course if you had better actors, it might have been a different story.

Denise Crosby is all over the place; at times she's fine, then other times she gives a line delivery that makes you cringe. Roy Dotrice should have been in charge of set demolition with all the scenery he got to chew at the end as Reeves 2.0 the Superbot. Top-billed Andrew Prine acts like he's in an episode of a typical 80s tv show, like Dynasty or Hart to Hart; he's serviceable at best. And Patrick Reynolds as John the Mandroid had the hardest part in the movie, walking around in what must have been a very hot and confining costume. His performance was very wooden at the start (a mistake so many people playing androids or cyborgs seem to make), but he loosened up toward the end, only to have his character buy the digital farm. The less said about R2-D2-by-way-of-V.I.N.CENT. rip-off S.P.O.T. the better (for comic relief why do they always go with Smuf-cute instead of Bandit from Jonny Quest cute). As I said above, the Heart of Darkness parallel is quite evident, but it's also evident director Peter Manoogian just didn't have the inventiveness or creativity to do anything with it.

I would kill for an R/C miniature of the Mandroid and his Mobile Unit (you could probably cannibalize one of those Robocop figures to start with). Come on prop and model makers, get on that !!

Eliminators poster image Copyright its Respective Rights Holder. No infringement of those rights is intended with this review.

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