|French VHS cover scan courtesy of Nanarland.com|
Directed by: Robert Kurtzman
If you're in the mood for a fun low-budget, cheesy sci-fi/action Robocop ripoff, then boy do I have the film for you. It won't blow your mind or anything, but if you're into this kind of stuff, then The Demolotionist will make you happy. I mean, look at this cover. It's incredible. Just judging from that cover alone, if this was the type of film you were in the mood for, I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed. The Demolitionist will deliver the goods and then some.
Essentially just a female Robocop ripoff, this film seems to revel in it's cheesiness, never taking itself too seriously. Everything is over the top, from the hammy acting, to the dialogue, to the cartoonish violence and the bright neon lighting. Some may be put off by some of these things, especially the pink powder squibs instead of blood when victims are shot, but I actually quite enjoyed it for all of these reasons. In fact, it's when the film tries to be serious that it starts to fall apart. Luckily these scenes are few and far between, and the film recovers.
I have to assume that the hamminess of it all was intentional, because there's just so much of it, but in a really fun and entertaining way. So if that sort of thing turns you off, then maybe this isn't for you. But if it doesn't deter you, then I can tell you're in for a great time, with quite a few surprises as well.
For starters, the casting in this is just insane. I don't even know where to begin, but pretty much every few minutes you'll see an icon pop up in a bit part, and then there's the main cast, all notable cult icons. Again, it's insane and I spent more time picking out all the familiar faces than paying attention to the actual plot, which like I said, is just Robocop but with a female instead.
Something else that surprised me was how well this was made. When you go into these types of films, you have to expect it to have a certain low-budget quality, and this one does. But what surprised me was how good everything looked for the most part. There are moments where certain sequences or shots have a professional quality, like something out of a big budget film. And then the remainder of the film definitely puts a lot of style in every shot. I wouldn't say it works all of the time, but when it does work, it adds something to the overall experience.
I've only seen 2 other films with effects wizard Robert Kurtzman as director. The first being Wishmaster, which I absolutely loved, and the other one being the ultra-low-budget horror film The Rage, which I disliked so much that I couldn't even finish it. So while the cover of this one just screamed awesome and attracted literally every one of my senses, I was still on the fence about whether I would actually enjoy it or not. Kurtzman fell so hard from one picture to the next that I found it hard to work up any real excitement over this. But that cover man. It's amazing. I was in.
What I didn't realize until now was that this was Kurtzman's first film as a director after co-founding KNB Effects Group. I had always thought Wishmaster was his first film for some reason, but that would be false. This film was made 2 years before Wishmaster. He does show some promise as a filmmaker, especially with his one and only big budget film Wishmaster, but I don't know how much of that was attributed to his DoP or Cinematographer. Sadly, he never built on that promise as The Rage clearly shows his decline in style, substance, and quality.
Moving on. There are several area's where the film does falter quite a bit. First and foremost, when it tries to be serious and throw emotion at us. Another area would be that a lot of the action sequences just aren't choreographed and edited very well. And much to my surprise, the film isn't gory, or even very violent. Yes, there is a lot of action in here, but it's all very cartoony and silly. In fact, I don't even recall much blood at all. And lastly, there was this annoying thing that kept happening with nearly every shot. The camera angle would be set, and whether it was a still shot or a tracking shot, it would begin to slightly tilt towards a dutch angle. It happened so often that it became a constant annoyance, and sadly, it ended up ruining some rather stunning shots where it would have been better without that happening.
All in all a very fun experience. Deeply flawed, yet there's so much to enjoy that you can easily overlook a lot of this low-budget films shortcomings. I guess the best way I can describe it is that it's a hot mess.