Posts Tagged ‘Terminator’

It’s always fascinating to think about the crazy, CRAZY movies that almost happened- like Tim Burton/ Nicolas Cage Superman or Albert Pyun’s Spiderman but that list now has a new and unexpected addition. Through the Blumhouse‘s horror podcast Shock Waves  we found out about the script for an unprocessed (Charles Band’s) Empire Pictures Horror directed by Stewart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond) featuring none other but the The Governator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger!!! This was supposed to be Schwarzenegger movie after Raw Deal (1986) and it would have probably come out in between Predator and The Running Man (1987).

It turns out that Schwarzenegger’s Terminator stunt double also had a role in Re-Animator and that led to the friendship between Gordon and Arnold. They considered working together and came up with the idea of a wrestler that loses his mind because of super- steroids, and then naturally going on a murder spree all through New York city. I mean, Schwarzy yelling like a madman and ripping  arms and legs left and right. I would so pay to see that! Thankfully there is one piece of promo artwork saved in the archives, so you can get the idea.

That also sounds a bit like the real murder- suicide of the famous WWF wrestler Chris Benoit. and Joe Begos actually found out about this movie talking about the case with Gordon.

empire51Movie was originally going to be called STEROID but they later changed it to much more awesome- BERSERKER!

Trivia: Another cool, random Arnie-fact made a comedy/ drama Stay Hungry with the young Jeff Bridges in the 70’s!

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At certain point in the 90’s Full Moon Entertainment (Demonic Toys, Dollman) had the rights to make Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Remember, those were the days when Marvel movies were made by people like  Corman or even better Pyun. Anyway they had the right for Dr. Strange, but NOT for long. Marvel’s license expired before the production officially began and instead of paying for extension producer  Charles Band decided to just go ahead with it. He cleverly removed mustaches and renamed his hero Doctor Mordrid leaving everything else virtually identical to the original script (and comicbook).

Movie starts with Mordrid (legendary Jeffrey Combs) talking with space eyes, we have no idea what the hell is happening. Then it jumps to Rio de Janeiro just in time for us to witness the evil Kabal (always fun Brian Thompson) in medieval regalia with hip 90’s sunglasses.He chants some complicate gibberish but his fantastic baritone (he sounds like Schwarzenegger who miraculously lost an accent and gain acting ability) makes it sound cool. His fledgling killed  a man transporting some sort of (mystical?) goods and the chant made it disappear into another dimension (with 90’s style drawn electricity- painfully  absent in today’s films)

Doctor Mordrid_2avo_[torrents.ru].avi_000154988Hello Space Eyes!

And we’re back to Dr.  ̶S̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶  Mordrid’s lair full of arcane books, mystic artifacts and TV’s for some reason? He seems disturbed from his astral projection and  easy listening music and goes out to find what’s happening. It turns out some neighbors (he lives in an apartment building?) are having argument about a dog. Police woman with big hair (who also lives there) Sam seemingly resolves things and Mordrid exchangers couple of words with her and then flashes her with his amulet and she forgets everything. Watching Mordrid’s TV collection we learn that the shipment that was stolen was platinum and that rings a bell with Dr. We also learn that his raven is appropriately named Edgar.

Mordrid uncovered magic ball and uses it to summon a gateway that takes him to the another world and… the flying fortress (and that’s all we see of that mystic world). He almost gets killed by a keeper Gunner but it turns out they are old friends. It tuns out he was blinded while the others were killed during the Kabal’s escape. Gunner still stayed weak as he is to keep others locked and by others I mean demons from the other dimension. He returns to his apartment just to find out that his neighbor police woman called the firemen. She was snooping around and saw the smoke coming from his place. He finally gives up and invites her in.

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In the meantime we are presented with bloodsucking, terrible pair of satanist- one of them a lady satanist who enjoys singing disco hits and dancing appropriately. She hopes to score with  Kabal but he decides to sacrifice her instead.

It’s Satan’s Dance!

Feeling particularly powerful he uses astral projection (sorry- it’s called transportation of the soul here) to taunt Mordrid. They get into a  confrontation of sorts but without some terrible ramifications but soon enough police comes to arrest Mordrid,  it turns out the symbol from his amulet is found on some dead bodies and he becomes  prime suspect. During the interrogation he tries to explain that the evil alchemist is behind both the murders and also the stolen plutonium but they kinda don’t believe him.

Doctor Mordrid_2avo_[torrents.ru].avi_002434056“Kabal’s intentions are worse than evil!”

Sam, the police woman drops by to check on him and he shows her the visions of his childhood. He also uses the paper napkin to hypnotize her.We see the rivalry of the Kabal and Mordred since they  were kids, and gain all we see of the other world is the flying castle- they really should have filmed something else too (it gets really old, really fast). Sam accepts to steal his amulet and help him  escape but Satanist number two shows up (with the enchantment of indestructibility)and just when you expect a ruckus nothing happens. Yeah, Satanists are just that stupid. Sam freezes time and gets Mordrid out. Mordrid does the next logical thing, he decides to falls asleep aka project his soul in the middle of the park and Sara stays to watch over him. Kabal breaks into the Metropolitan Museum and steals the philosopher’s stone who’s sole purpose is in fact being the cauldron for cooking all the alchemical stuff.

Doctor Mordrid_2avo_[torrents.ru].avi_003628082Today in cooking with Kabal!

Just when you though he finished cooking Mordrid (aka his soul) appears and they start the spell- war that escalates into a dinosaur skeleton vs mastodon skeleton finale. Then when you expect something really impressive to happen mastodon impales Kabal, stops the demon invasion from another dimension and everything is fine again.

Yeah, also Satanist tries to kill defenseless Mordrid but being stupid but his powers stop working and he almost gets killed. The movie ends with melancholic Sam celebrating Christmas, getting drunk with Edgar the raven… when Mordrid mysteriously shows up from the another dimension and new adventures are ready to begin! Unfortunately we won’t see them.
Verdict: Like many other Full Moon features this one also suffers from the lack of the third act, and I don’t mean like in the John Rambo (purposely extended second act), I mean more like Bakshi’s Lord of  the Ring where you can just see that they run out of budget and abruptly ended the movie without real climax or resolution.

On the plus side Jeffrey Combs’s overacting fits perfectly with the theme of this movie and his literally chewing scenery. Too bad the movie is not up to par.  I would really love to see Combs more often as a leading man (outside of Re-Animator franchise).

Trivia: For a (very) short while this movie was called Doctor Mortalis and Band even managed to bring in the legendary Marvel artist Jack Kirby to do some concept drawings. Unfortunately that didn’t continue (wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he run out of money to pay him- wouldn’t be the first time).

DoctorMOriginal Kirby sketch for Dr. Mortalis

transmorphers_2007

Warning: The robots in this movie look nothing like the one on the cover!

First thing we notice as the movie starts is that the director is Leign Scott (I presume he is the Asylum version of Ridley Scott although as we will soon find out his shooting style is much more reminiscent of Edward J Wood.)

Do you really wish to continue after this intro?

Intro informs us of evil alien machines in plot that seems to borrow heavily from (surprisingly) Terminator and Matrix with a hint of the expected source of inspiration-
Michael Bay’s Transformers. Decimated humanity escapes underground and stays there for 300 (or 400, it constantly changes) years!!! It will be interesting to see how we evolved and muted in those conditions. And then I get my answer- humanity now consists of 70% woman population, all clad in heavy leather and fetish wear. They look like a deranged bunch of sex predators. On the other hand man look like a bunch of pathetic nerds, but they still do manly jobs as we see as they lead the troops to the surface to deal with a approaching treat. Team lead by Captain Blackthorn survives a complete disaster pretty much as we expected and never makes it back. One of the soldiers dies seemingly from bad techno music, ’cause we don’t see anything else around.

So, military officers decide to make a final, desperate gamble… they release The MITCHELL from his cryogenic prison. Now what’s the deal with the Mitchell dude, I guess we will find out. They unfreeze the dude and he ends up being just some random scrawny looking fellow with  a would be British accent.

Transmorphers.2007.PROPER.DVDRip.XviD-VoMiT.[FilmsBT.com][(029042)21-37-28]

Who needs John Connor when you’ve got… THIS dude!

He insists on bringing his bearded friend from prison too and soon they are assigned with a dangerous mission.Oh, yeah we also find out that love of his life Kadira decided to start playing for the other team and married Lady- General Van Ryberg. Guess the lack of real man down there had taken its toll. After some pathetic demonstration of hand to hand combat debriefing starts… and then it seemingly lasts forever. The only thing that breaks the horrible monotony is the ridiculous chick-fight that ensues between  pilots who supports Mithcell, lead by Xandria Lux and  sluts who likes chilling in a cave and not doing anything (pilots who dislike the sky, well, that’s first). At this point I start to wander are these women real actresses or somebody just sold us a porno without sex scenes, ’cause it looks mightily like just that.

I truly don’t know what’s worst here, “acting” of “fights”

Somewhere around the 40th minute of the film we  finally see the surface again, and that makes it better- but only slightly ’cause we are served with some pretty lame CGI straight from a get go and the acting looks incredibly like a bunch of 5 year olds playing war (with some keyboard sound effects added as a bonus).  After being overwhelmed one of the soldiers throws laser frisby  and starts completely wrecking things. The most laughs erupt at the sight of the giant mecha styled robot who has transform itself into a cannon so he can fire at human forces. The idea is nonsensical but the design work and animation are not that much better thou. Then Mitchell runs into the remaining members of the first team from the beginning of the movie, still lead by chubby blonde dude and they decide to join forces. They hold their line against the giant robots as long as they can and eventually menage to retreat.

Faced with imminent defeat Mitchell calls for another attack but gets into fight (of words) with a General Van Ryberg  because he left her “wife” on the surface. Interesting how they just keep insisting on that marriage but that same wife seems ready and willing to hop back into Mitchell’s bed any moment. In the meantime the scientist, Dr. Alextzavich uncovers the terrible truth- the alien robots are in fact – THE ALIENS!!!

Transmorphers.2007.PROPER.DVDRip.XviD-VoMiT.[FilmsBT.com][(079568)22-35-37]

Just like a Kinder Surprise!

 Special breed that he calls Transmorphers (for no reason- they don’t transform or morph) are in fact meat on the inside aka some sort of cybernetic organism. The fact that they haven’t  figured it out in 400 years shows that humanity is ovbiasly useless and doomed from the start. Also, another thing- this fact doesn’t really change anything ’cause there’s really no difference in fighting a mostly robot cyborg and regular robot per se. Also, one more revelation occurs, Mitchell is also a robot!!!! He is the first android made by the good Dock in hope of saving humanity-and he never had a clue! Not even when he found out cryo- sleep doesn’t work on him? Maybe a fact that he never had to eat? No? Somebody here has no knowledge of a dramatic structure, and severely lacks common sense, don’t you agree?

Mitchell incredibly quickly reconciles with his true nature and instead of deciding that he was used and he needs to kill some humans and then joins his true brothers  (that would truly be a twist)  he decides to sacrifice his main power cell (battery, whatever) and in doing so sacrifice himself in one final attempt do defeat machines. Another childish battle ensues with the addition of poorly animated aeroplanes this time. In fact the aerial battle looks incredibly like arcade video games from the early 90s.  Mithchell with Kadira, Doctor and his Android (lover?) flying on hower- bikes find a way into the Machine’s main tower (that is incredibly easy to locate). He then procides to kill some of the robo- guards and use his power cell to disrupt their main tower and in … turn off the machines. Of course we also had a touching scene between a Karina Nadir and himself in which they professed their eternal love to each other but that didn’t stop her from returning to her superior officer and lesbian lover mere moments later. Then we finally see sky clearing (like in Lion King or something like that) and we have our victory. Than we are presented with the criminally weak CGI attempt of fireworks and an ugly blond with her mouth wide open staring at the sky and then thankfully it is all over!* This was really a test, I tell you.

Transmorphers.2007.PROPER.DVDRip.XviD-VoMiT.[FilmsBT.com].avi_004925884

Damn, she’s ugly!

Verdict: the ultimate battle between a man and a machine ends up being anything but ultimate and by the end of the movie you’ll just pray that somebody destroys both humans and machines ASAP so we can all get on with our lives and never speak of this movie again.

    *Here you can marvel at Gruner as he demonstrates his  kickboxing skills on
a bad stop- motion Terminator rip- off.

One of those films that start kinda gritty Cyber Punk-ish with a possible promise of good innocent fun and then… goes absolutely nowhere! Director Pyun (somewhat rightfully claimed to be a Hawaiian reincarnation of Ed Wood) wanted to make a film with a dystopian , almost William Gibson SF atmosphere and every time he got close to nailing it he found a new way to royally screw things up (adding women with big muscles in the scenes has been known to do that.) It takes somewhere around a half an hour to set up our story and after that he just trows it all away the same moment our hero Rain (Olivier Gruner) gets to the island and fists start flying/guns start blazing.

Event that could be forgiven (often enough SF is just a backdrop for a classic action fest) if those same action scenes made some kind of impact but there are just cartoonish violence at it worst. Incoherent story gets completely lost in translation really fast while bizarre bunch of characters kill/fuck/or save one another almost randomly.
At some points you have to ask yourself did those people follow a REAL SCRIPT and soon after you start doubting that the script even existed. Perhaps they had a 10 page treatment… for the beginning of the movie and then they improvised from there. That would explain a lot of things. There is also a hilarious moment when a gun packing grandma starts unleashing hell, it is absurd as it gets, but at least it’s fun and you can’t say that for the rest of this picture.

THIS. IS. BAD.

Olivier Gruner ( our cyborg ex-government agent) is karateka/ ex- kickboxing champion and he demonstrates his skill here and there (in-spite of the laughable choreographed fight scenes ) but he’s acting is so woden that after a while you start appreciating all the subtleties of Schwarzenegger’s performances and that is never a good sign. On the + side (if there is one here) he gets to fight a crazed robot, terminator style stop- motion monstrosity that explodes for no apparent reason and takes his arm with him!*
One of his sidekicks (the only one that actually survives) is irritating teenage girl who becomes extremely important character out of nowhere in the last half an hour of the film– against all common sense. His dog at the beginning of the film had more character and a hell lot of more story potential than she ever had!
Legendary “Cary” Hiroyuki Tagawa (Sheng Tsung himself) makes an appearance as the crazy Yakuza boss in a Hawaiian shirt but not even his devilish charm can make this crap watchable.

Verdict: If you have to watch an Albert Pyun film watch his eulogy  of Cannon Films in the form of Van Damme’s Cyborg, Cyber- Punk angle is better realized and despite the fact that JCVD wasn’t  much of an actor back then/ or much of an English speaker back then he always had a ton of charisma, the thing that Gruner sorely lacks.

Trivia: Pyun is doing a (joint) prequel of both Nemesis and Cyborg. Unfortunately he discovered digital technology/ CGI (nobody told him that you need some money to make it work) so his movies are now worse than ever. Here’s a trailer for Cyborgs: Rise of the Slingers so you can remember to avoid it if you have the bad luck of seeing it somewhere.

You can actually find better special effects (and acting!!!) in Porn these days .