Science fiction

Futuristic, space, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, alien, it’s all here.

The Vindicator

vindicator_movie_posterFilm School Rejects dismissed The Vindicator as  a”formless blob…a RoboCop ripoff.” We’re not hear to um, vindicate it, but it’s worth noting that this on-the-cheap Canadian techno-action-thriller predates the Paul Verhoeven film by a year and a half…

And it’s not like RoboCop doesn’t share stuff in common with early comic versions of Judge Dredd.

However, there are key differences between RoboCop and this film: boom mics in the frame, Canadian production values, tenebrous cinematography that resembles Bruno Mattei in his sub-prime, and the fact that RoboCop is still in print…

In The Vindicator, ARC is a sinister corporation, headquartered in an unnamed city, but which fans of tax shelter Canadiana will instantly recognize as Montreal. They’re developing “rage program” serum being tested on chimps (and we’ve seen that movie before! That’s Monkey Shines/Link/Shakma territory, primate-run-amok films which have made monkeys of us in the past).

However, being evil and all, ARC Corp does have other stuff in the innovation pipeline: a super high tech space suit, but more interestingly, Japanese technology which suspends grey matter in an oxygenating fluid to keep it viable. When a lab explosion claims the life of rockstar scientist Carl Lehman (who’s certainly no layman) ARC’s top-dog Alex Whyte figures they’ve got a recently still-warm body to test out their technology.

vindicator_movie_Now, if you weren’t already aware of the similarities to Frankenstein, The Vindicator pummels you over the head with it, as the evil corporation’s venture is none other than “Project Frankenstein.”

That won’t arouse suspicions at all!

The company builds Carl a cyborg body, and tries to re-animate him with rage serum, with a remote control safeguard. Unfortunately, there’s a short circuit..and a big fire! The gold lamé space suit burns away, leaving this proto-RoboCop looking somewhat less like an Austin Powers villain.

Cyborg Carl escapes…high-tails into an alley, beats up a bunch of Francophone motorcycle toughs, before being chased into a scrapyard, where in the sunny light of day…his form is fully revealed…not the sleek chassis we’ve come to associate with Peter Weller, but…a kind of rusted, jalopy Swamp Thing.

The Vindicator is sorta dull, but the presence of the ever-gorgeous Pam Grier helps as Hunter, a kendo stick-wielding assassin.

**1/2 (out of 5)

Parasite

parasite_movieThis films hops genres like, well, a Parasite does to a host. Part post-apocalyptic wasteland, part gang film, part natural horror, it leaves all elements wanting. If you’re looking for satisfaction, you’ll have to go seek it elsewhere (like we’re guessing Melania Trump does).

In a distant far-off future, silver has replaced paper money out in the desert, as the local innkeeper puts it, “We use that for wallpaper ’round here.”

“Sickies” are roaming the land, a la every zombie outbreak movie, and survivors are hunkering down, dining on what’s left of the movable feast that was human civilization — relegated to eating out of soup cans.

It’s Hobbesian stuff, and the life of man in the podunk burg of Joshua (population 64) is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. For some, it should be said, shorter than others, especially if they’re to come across the movie’s title critter.

Dr Paul Dean (Robert Glaudini) is a functionary and a geek. And he’s been tasked to devise a mechanism for controlling the human population, which he obliges by creating a deadly worm (a weird conceit as you’d think after an atomic disaster you’d need all the warm bodies you can get). This is at the behest of his bosses, the terribly evil group known as The Merchants. However, knowing that his creation is going to be used for evil purposes, and feeling a sense of moral obligation, Dr Dean makes off with it.

But…THE PARASITE WORM GETS LOOSE.

Soon, a ragtag bunch of Caucasian gangsters with no muscle tone are infected. Hey, it was the 80s!

parasite_movie_stillParasite is known for a few things. A very few things.

First, it featured the debut of an admittedly stunning, if not that compelling a thespian, Demi Moore. Second, it was originally released theatrically in glorious 3D. And finally, one of the merchants, a slickster government liaison, drives around in a Lamborghini looking like one of the Men in Black. Plus the effects were headed up by Stan Winston.

Still, there’s not much to be said for Parasite. There’s a terrific gut explosion that looks like sun-dried tomatoes. You’d expect nothing less from director Charles Band.

**1/2 (out of 5)