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Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Lunar Cop (1995)

Man can’t live only horror alone. Sometimes he needs to mix some cheesy science fiction in too! I think Lunar Cop would count as cheesy sci-fi. If that isn’t enough for you we also get everyone’s favorite eighties action hero Michael Pare (Philadelphia Experiment) as our lead character Joe. I had to check this one out.

Joe is a lunar cop who is sent to Earth to get a special formula away from the extremists that stole it. The people who live on the moon fled Earth when the atmosphere was destroyed and have figured out a way to repair it. But this fix was stolen by terrorist humans from Earth for some nefarious purposes. Before our hero can even find the stuff, he gets caught up with a biker gang that is terrorizing a peaceful village. Unlike what he was told not everyone left on Earth is a savage, so he feels obligated to protect them. Along the way he finds out a couple secrets, does battle with the gang, and finally gets a showdown with a robotic killing machine Terminator style!

This is a weird flick. There were times that I thought I wasn’t liking it but then other times that I was. Let me try and explain. We start off on the Moon and I thought that it was going to be a sci-fi story. That was okay. But then Pare is suddenly riding a dirt bike in the desert as he searches for the stuff that was stolen. He meets up with a beautiful woman named Thora and fights it out with the biker gang. So, then we get a movie that is all about him saving the village and protecting his lady love. They set traps have the big showdown etc. That was sort of fun. But then after that story is resolved the robot shows up and we get him fighting the killing machine that spouts off lines like “resistance is futile” and “prepare to be terminated”. This might be the weirdest and most entertaining bit of the movie.

This plot jumping around makes for an uneven movie that has several slow spots. I get that a low budget nineties movie like Lunar Cop had to try and appeal to as many people as possible, but that doesn’t mean switching the kind of story you are telling on the fly. You could have made a really cool Joe protecting the village movie. The leader of the gang is played by Billy Drago, so you had a great villain right there. This is especially frustrating because he doesn’t get enough to do with the disjointed story. Even his death is disappointing. Though the terminator rip-off bit at the end was a decent consolation prize.

R.I.P. Billy Drago. You were awesome!
The effects work for Lunar Cop are about what one should expect from a low budget movie from this time. We get some neat explosions and lots of dirt bikes jumping over and riding thru stuff. I thought the action set pieces are really well done. The beginning of the movie where Joe is still on the moon is also decent looking, though this is the slowest part of the story. Not sure if they were able to reuse sets or something. I certainly hope they didn’t spend a lot of money for sets that barely get any screen time. The “battle damage” robotic killing machine at the end of the movie is poorly done which takes away from the fun somewhat. Not sure what else I can say.

I had some fun with Lunar Cop. It made me nostalgic for bad action sci-fi movies I used to watch back in the day. But there are big issues here and better movies you can spend your time on. Damn it I just wanted more Billy Drago! Unless you have to see every Michael Pare movie, I’d skip Lunar Cop. 

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Terror Experiment (2010)

I don’t often get really pissed off at a movie, but The Terror Experiment is one that pushed my buttons and seriously crosses over a line. I’ll explain that later in the review, but before I get to it let me talk a little bit about the plot.

We meet a man that is part of an organization that is trying to expose the bad things that the government does which includes developing chemical weapons to drop on enemy troops. The most reasonable way to make everyone aware of this secret is to bomb a Federal Building causing the release and infection of hundreds of innocent people. Tossed into this is Cale, the I.T. guy who is trapped above the deadly gas covering the lower floors of the building with some other survivors. He is worried about his ex-wife and daughter who are on the floors below his. Some predictable stuff happens, like a doctor who is up to no good and a punk that makes a break for it and gets himself killed. Oh, and there are some evil government guys that are trying to cover everything up.

Let me begin with the traditional review and the reasons that this isn’t a good movie. First up it is far too ambitious for the budget. This leads to the overuse of CGI to accomplish explosions, crashes, and a building imploding that looks terrible. They had a budget of five million dollars so there was some money to be spent, but not enough to pull off this story. They try the trick of having the news fill in the details to give the movie a bigger scale, but they didn’t spend any cash to make it look good. It appears as if they used the A/V equipment from a mid-eighties high school to shoot the stuff. It’s a total fail.

I wish that were the only problem. If they had a decent and coherent plot this movie could still have been okay. Sadly, it is like they read the playbook for every horror survival flick ever made and created a checklist of what they had to have. Like I’ve already mentioned you have the hero, Cale, trying to save his daughter. There is also the punk kid and the science guy up to shenanigans. We also get the “I didn’t like you but now I’m your love interest” generic female character and a cowardly fat guy that is… cowardly and fat. Seriously there isn’t a single unique or well thought out character in the entire movie.

It is clear that they spent a few bucks to get some known “B” list actors to appear. Judd Nelson, Robert Carradine, C. Thomas Howell, and Jason London have decent parts. All of them are wasted with a script that has nothing going for it. I keep saying in my reviews the one thing filmmakers have in their complete control is making sure they have a script and story that is engaging and worth watching. This is very disappointing because they had some money and blew it with this mess.

Clearly, we have a bad movie and if I’m being honest the adjective that I want to use is shitty. The Terror Experiment is awful, but I’ve seen a lot of movies like this. What makes me hate the movie is how it refers to real life tragedies to try and create a conspiracy. They make some pretty disturbing and callous references to both the Oklahoma City bombing as well as 9/11 in some attempt to prove how bad the government guys really are. I’m not going to repeat the dialogue or go into any detail because it is just too obnoxious to repeat. Guys if you want to make a crappy horror movie have at it. But if you do please keep your conspiracy theories to yourself and for the love of God don’t try to cash in on actual tragedies to sell your garbage film.

The Terror Experiment is a lousy movie that is also offensive and disgusting, but not in the good ways that we horror fans dig. Pass on this one…

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer