Deceit (1992)

It starts like this:

“The following is crucial plot information needed to understand this motion picture.  If for some reason you fail to read all of this data in time, then you are really screwed because you’ll end up sitting there for two hours wondering what the hell is going on and realizing that you’ve just thrown away hard earned money and one-hundred and thirty minutes of your life.  So here is the crucial information.”

Not that you ever get a chance to read that much of it.  After all, it’s only on the screen for a fraction of a second.

Let’s get this straight:  this is a very silly movie.  Which is what makes it interesting.

Albert Pyun was the king of cheap direct to video SF during the 80s and 90s, turning out a slew of often strange low budget actioners.  He doesn’t get a lot of respect, but many of his best films are quite good, in a bargain basement sort of way.  Which I have no problem with.

This one came out as a protest against Jean Claude van Damme.

He even gets a sarcastic acknowledgement in the credits, “Without whom this film would not have been possible.”  Van Damme had demanded some changes to Pyun’s Cyborg, forcing Pyun to do a series of reshoots which he disagreed with.  So Pyun picked a location that would work for his microbudgeted second project, pre-lit the set while doing the other shots, and shot Deceit in three nights (shooting an impressive 35 pages a day), right after finishing his pickups for Cyborg for the day, using the same crew and cameras.  For a mere $24,000 he grossed $2 million worldwide (mostly from video sales).

Which is quite impressive for a film no one has ever heard of.

This one starts with a carjacking and several murders.  The killer, Bailey, then drags the survivor, a young woman, into a warehouse and forces her to strip.  He claims to be an alien, hired to destroy the Earth, with two miniaturized nuclear reactors in his pocket.

But his lies keep falling apart, and his efforts to seduce her keep getting sidetracked by them and his violent rants.  The situation only gets worse when his doctor, Brick Bardo, shows up…

This is basically a three player film (despite a few other minor characters showing up at the beginning and the end) with Samantha Phillips and Norbert Weisser on their own for a large chunk of the film’s running time.  Scott Paulin, in his few minutes as Brick (and not same Brick Bardo as in the Dollman films!), however, steals the show as he manages to go from ultracool to absurd with ease and then switches effortlessly from threatening to silly over and over.

And I should note, that despite the fact that this is an absurd and over-the-top comedy, it still manages to be intense, violent and even a touch scary.

Wow.  A beautiful and intelligent midnight movie, which is good enough – and funny enough – to make you forget its flaws.

It makes you wonder why the heck the DVD companies have ignored this one…

Or why no one has turned this into an off-Broadway experimental play.

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