Retro Review – Eliminators (1986)

The Premise

A ‘Mandroid’ returns from a time travelling mission to find that his creator ‘Reeves’ wants to dismantle him. Fleeing instead with help from Reeve’s assistant (who dies in the process) he seeks out scientist Nora Hunter (played by Denise Crosby) whose tech was used to help create him. He then looks to return and kill Reeves before he can exact whatever dastardly plan he may have.

 

Sketchy Plot

If the outline above looks weak it’s because it is. The plot seems very messy and that’s what I can piece together. The ‘Mandroid’ (played by Patrick Reynolds) only has flashes of memory and his quest for revenge isn’t really backed up with any conviction. He teams up with a scientist, a boat driver and a ninja on his quest (yes, you read that correctly) and it’s not clear what Reeves’ (played by Roy Dotrice) plan is until near the end of the movie. Without ruining too much, Reeves wants to go back in time and rule as an emperor in Roman times. The mission we see at the start was a scouting mission to make sure the time machine worked correctly….I think!?!

 

Bad Acting

This is ‘made for tv’ quality here. Most of the performances are quite wooden and the ninja (played by Conan Lee) is particularly bad. He sounds likes he’s reading his lines off a prompter and lacks any conviction.

Our boat driver (played by Andrew Prine) stands out. He has a little bit more swagger and delivers some of the movies more comedic moments. A bargain basement Han Solo of sorts but that might be giving him too much credit. I can’t help but feel that with a slightly better script and decent direction, the movie would have a lot more to offer. There are a couple of funny scenes and one liners here but not enough to save the movie.

 

Does it hold up?

I don’t think it’s meant to. I think it was probably cheesy and bad even back when it first released. The effects aren’t terrible, just cheap. There are even some scenes that are plain lazy. Explosions going off seconds after they need to or even there’s a bit at the start of the movie where I guy reacts to getting shot but wasn’t touched. Another scene shows a control panel on a robot pop out and it’s clearly just a calculator! Kinda bad but also quite hilarious! This is true B-movie schlock.

 

Toys R us

One big appeal I noticed while watching this movie, is that if I was a kid, I would love all the gadgets. Mandroid would make an excellent action figure. Detachable gun arms, tank tracks swapped out for legs, engine propelled boots. A young kids dream. Kind of a cross between Inspector Gadget and The Terminator. What’s not to love about that? I think a toy range would have been superb!

 

Pacing

After a half decent sci-fi shoot out in the opening scene, the film then slows right down. Also all the futuristic stuff seems to go away as we get a solid hour of just real world 80’s charm. It’s a little at odds with itself as if the writers themselves forgot what kind of story they were trying to tell.

 

Conclusion

I haven’t said anything good so far really about Eliminators. It may shock you then to learn that I really enjoyed this movie! It slots nicely into that ‘so bad it’s good’ category of movie and it’ll appeal to anyone with a healthy sense of humor. Some scenes are hilariously bad. For example, at one point Mandroid just falls off the boat and disappears! It’s ridiculous and it’s brilliant! Or what about the fact that Reeve’s face keeps changing. At one stage it looks like half his face is stitched together and in another scene he looks completely normal? It makes no sense and I love it.

There are lots of people who will hate this movie but I think, get some friends together, have a few beers and enjoy laughing your ass off at the film’s expense.

I’ll leave you with the movie tag-line (which is misleading and belongs on a much better movie) :

Mandroid, Mercenary, Scientist, Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are……Eliminators

 

Special thanks to Jagger Murray for the film suggestion. It definitely brought a smile to my face. If anyone else has a movie suggestion, please stick it in the comments below.

 

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