Sunday, May 17, 2015

Eliminators (1986)

Part of the nostalgia theme of this blog is the look back at various VHS box cover art. Well, I have not posted in a while, and in the meantime I started writing small B-movie reviews for another blog, So I have decided to crosspost these reviews to my own blog, since it's just sitting here doing nothing. Here is the most recent one, for the film Eliminators from 1986.

The weekend happened upon us very quickly, which is a good thing, because that means.....what, kids?

VIDEO STORE!!! So we'll stroll on downtown to the hot spot and see what they got.

This beautiful box art caught my eye. Check it out:

"Mandroid. Mercenary. Scientist. Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are......ELIMINATORS."

That has got to be the prettiest box art. You can clearly see that the mandroid is a mobile mandroid with fully stocked cannon for an arm. Also, you can't go wrong giving a ninja a sword. There's a chick with a rifle, and a dude who wears a vest with no shirt and possibly leather pants. Wait a minute....down at the bottom. Does it say.....directed by Peter Manoogian?? The esteemed director of Demonic Toys? I can barely contain my excitement. LET'S GET THIS ONE!

Eliminators was released in 1986 and earned an estimated $4.6 million dollars at the box office. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Top billing goes to Andrew Prine, who plays "Harry Fontana", the mercenary. Mr. Prine has appeared in many film and television roles. A career character actor, he gets to test out his action chops here. Denise Crosby stars as "Col. Nora Parker", the scientist. Crosby has most notably appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation as Tasha Yar. She obviously won that role with her performance in this film. The role of "Mandroid" is played by Patrick Reynolds. Now, I kid you not, Reynolds is the grandson of one RJ Reynolds, the founder of the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. Not long after this film was released, he would go on to become one of the biggest anti-smoking advocates in the country. This cast is amazing, so far. Then we have Conan Lee as "Kuji", a ninja. He has appeared in Jackie Chan's First Strike and Lethal Weapon 4 as "Ku's brother". Clearly, I selected the right movie to review. Finally, the villain "Abbott Reeves" is portrayed by the great Roy Dotrice who has appeared in Amadeus as "Mozart" and "Zeus" in the TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. My palms are sweaty just typing all that.

The plot goes like this: Mandroid has been sent back in time by mad scientist Abbott Reeves to retrieve a shield from a Roman centurion. After returning successfully with the shield, Reeves tells his assistant Takada (Tad Horino) to shut down Mandroid and dismantle him. Takada instead decides to assist Mandroid in escaping, but they are caught and Takada is killed. Before he dies, Takada instructs Mandroid to seek out Col. Hunter in order to stop the obviously mad Reeves from unleashing.....whatever his plan is. Mandroid explodes his way out of the compound and successfully escapes. When he locates Hunter (Crosby), she recognizes her technology that she created being used to power the Mandroid. She thought Reeves was dead, and now wants to find Reeves to figure out what he intends to do with her technology. So the two head down to Mexico. They arrive at a cantina (there's always a cantina in Mexico) and hire the toughest boat captain they can find, Harry Fontana (Prine). They are chased by rival boaters and evil henchmen of Reeves, but manage to evade all of them. Along the way they meet Kuji the ninja, who basically shows up out of nowhere in his first scene, just like a real ninja would. Actually, he is the son of the deceased Takada, seeking revenge for his father's death. The group have to fight their way through a tribe of cavemen first before finding Reeves. Yes....cavemen. Apparently, Reeves brought the cavemen through time to fight his battles for him. Our heroes don't even know what Reeves' endgame is; they just know that he needs to be stopped. When Reeves' plan is finally revealed, it all makes sense however; can the crew stop his madness?

The acting in this film is laughably bad from Crosby as Hunter, and from Reynolds as Mandroid, so bonus points there. Andrew Prine as Harry Fontana seemed to enjoy the role, made the most of it and came out as the most fun character. Roy Dotrice was particularly good as the over-the-top villain. Standard direction here from Manoogian; the special effects were done well for the obviously limited budget. Part of the hilarity of this film is watching Mandroid....slowly....change....his....arm the heat of battle.

As usual, one-liners make my day. Note the following:

"Now I got you, you tin can son of a bitch!"

"I'll get you, you scrapyard son of a bitch!"

"How did you get past security?" -"Knock out gas."

"Quo Vadis. What does that mean?" -"It's Italian. It means we kick ass!"

"I'm not a man. I'm a killing machine with no past....and no future."

Once again, Peter Manoogian outdoes himself, and I recommend this one. Three stars. Or maybe I should start calling my ratings "late fees".

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