Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Demolitionist (1995)

The demolitionist 1995

Tagline:

Hell has no fury like a woman transformed!

Movie Review:

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Reviewed on vhsWhoah! Bad sci-fi alert! This was a trashy, cheesy movie all the way through with a wafer-thin plot, over-the-top acting and terrible effects. IMDB says the budget was one million. Classics like Undead were made for one million dollars so it's definitely possible to create a good looking, exciting story with great special effects and explosive action for that budget. In the case of The Demolitionist, I'm pretty sure most of that budget went to Eggert's suit and the frankly awesome poster art.

The Demolitionist starts at the execution of Mad Dog Burne (Richard Grieco) and his brother Little Henry. As the switch is about to be pulled on the twin electric chairs, one of the guards turns on the executioner and the brothers are freed. Little Henry is killed during the escape however Mad Dog manages to get away. Flash-forward a little way and Grieco has reclaimed his throne as gang leader. Alyssa Lloyd (Nicole Eggert, a blonde bombshell from Baywatch) is a cop going undercover as one of his gang members, trying to get in a position to take him down again. Unfortunately Grieco isn't that dumb and realises what's going on. Her partner gets involved in a forced russian roulette deal and dies, with Eggert soon following. Luckily on her death bed in hospital, a doctor-professor who badly needs to prove himself to the Mayor by starting a Robocop-type program to clean up the town, asks her if she wants a new life. She gasps in agreement then passes away...

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...only to be re-awakened as THE DEMOLITIONIST; a lean, mean robotic fighting machine that will kill the bad guys with a sharp-shot and a humorous quip, then do your ironing in two-fifths of a second... or not. In fact she looks and acts completely the same; she's not even aware that she has died. Her doctor and saviour, Jack Crowley, tells her that her blood has been replaced with nano-bots that repair her body when she's injured. The catch is she needs daily transfusions or she literally decays. We see this later by the use of heavy mascara to create a zombified look.

Unfortunately after the first ten minutes, The Demolitionist quickly descends into a bunch of talking heads. Talk is cheap, as is sometimes said, but it's the worst thing you can do in an action movie. Talking between Grieco and his gang members. Talking between the mayor and her chief of police, Higgins. Talking between Eggert and her professor-doctor slash creator. Blah blah fucken blah just shoot something already! Sure it does get broken up a little; Grieco getting angry at his associates and killing them, or the brief attack on the mayors office ("Isn't it a bit late to be cleaning windows?".. smash! Ratta-tatta-tatta-etc.) It gets even more boring when Eggert, unable to live with what she's become, starts crying, refusing to take her transfusions and throwing emotional tantrums. Dude, you've just been KILLED and this doctor guy has brought you back to LIFE! All he's asking is that you play ball and become a Robocop. Is that too much to ask? Stop whining and get with the damn program.

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At about the 45-50 minute mark things finally get going. Eggert stops crying like a baby about being dead and finally gets given her kevlar suit, superfluous mask and twin custom automatic pistols. Like Robocop, they are 'encoded' for her use only. But better than Robocop's police cruiser is the motorbike she receives. Her main goal and zest for vengeance is aimed at Grieco, however she saves a few randoms being robbed or attacked by thugs by doing drive-bys with her twin machine gun things and some (pretty average I have to say) hand-to-hand combat and kickboxing.

There's also a frankly awesome scene in the third act when Eggert foils a bank holdup in a very Robo-Cobra fashion by bursting through the front glass doors on her motorbike and shooting at everything standing with her two guns, whilst driving. Plenty of explosions too and a few one liners from Eggert as she smokes bad guys; and she looks so damn good when mowing them down with twin machine-pistols. The finale is also pretty great too. Hilarious note - there must not have been a budget for blood, or perhaps the producers were going for a cable television audience, because when a bullet hits somebody in this film their body shoots out a spray of pink powder!

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You may be wondering why I've tagged Tom Savini and Bruce Campbell in this. Savini is one of Grieco's silent sidekicks Roland, but he does little more than chew up the scenery which is a real shame. He looks just like he did in Dawn of the Dead. Bruce is not even actually credited and I didn't actually believe it was him at first. During the last half hour of this movie a friend turned up with beer and a far more eagle-eye than myself, and he commented "Was that Bruce Campbell..?". I rewound the tape (blessed VHS) and sure enough it was him. He has one line in the final act; Grieco is holding some sort of raffle and Bruce, dressed in typical dystopia/gang clothing exclaims after his number is drawn, "Oh that's me! That's fucking me!". Fat cop Higgins standing on the sidelines looks puzzled until Bruce pulls out a gun and shoots him in the head! He doesn't even say anything! Thanks, Bruce, I didn't like the snitch much either.

This movie doesn't come highly recommended due to the middle 45 minutes of tedium and tears and the sporadic attempts at emotion (bah!), however the short montage of violence in the middle and the last twenty minutes did make up for it somewhat... and the Bruce inclusion instantly made me at least a partial fan. In fact re-watching the last twenty minutes when writing up this review really makes me look on it more positively. Check it out if you see it on TV (un-bloody-likely), more likely you will find the disc (or maybe even tape) in the dollar weekly section of your local Video Ezy. Give it a rent on a lazy Sunday... just be prepared to wade through the treacle to get to the good stuff.

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The Video:

Pretty soft fullscreen presentation but judging from the trailer that's the fault of the movie and not the tape. I doubt the DVD looks any better. It's not awful and certainly watchable, but even in 1995 they could have done better. These screenshots make it look artificially sharper actually. Runtime 90 apoprox. mins.

Sourced From:

Box lot of VHS tapes, maybe 50c each when all counted up.

Trailer:

More Screens:

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4 comments:

  1. Great Review! The cover and cast are pretty cool! Always wanted to see this one. Will look for a cheap copy on Amazon or our tape discount store.

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  2. Cheers mate. Yeah it was a bit of a train wreck but if you get it cheap check it out, at least for the third act.

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  3. Im enjoying her suit. Nice coconut boob catchers.

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  4. I saw this on TV and had a similar take to yours. It does seem like it could've been so much better.

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