Interzone (1987)

A barbarian army has laid siege to the stronghold of a group of powerful telepaths, in the hope of seizing their secret treasure.  So the telepaths go out and find the one man for the job, who will have to wipe out their army single-handed.  No big deal, right?

This is one of the best produced Spaghetti Sci Fi films of the Eighties I have seen.  Not only does it have a more or less recognizable American star — Reanimator‘s  Bruce Abbott (who admittedly was at best a minor star) — but it actually appears to have been shot in English.  In fact, the main cast members all apparently spoke English.  The cinematography and sound are better than in most of these films, the action is well staged and plentiful.  Admittedly, the Mad Max-ish vehicles do look rather crude, like they’ve been slapped together from cardboard, but this isn’t such a bad thing as we don’t expect elegant lines from this sort of post-Apocalyptic vehicle.  The dialogue isn’t particularly clunky, the sound is clear, the dubbing, if there is any, isn’t obvious, and the story isn’t as dumb as some of these films can be.  All in all, it’s a remarkably professional effort.

Which doesn’t change the fact that it is basically…meh.

It just doesn’t have anything that makes it stand out at all.  It doesn’t have  that level of weirdness that distinguishes the best of these Italian films, it doesn’t have any utterly bizarre, out of place elements like Arm wrestling or girls dressed like they came off the cover of a fantasy magazine.  Well, it’s true, the leader of the barbarians is a girl weightlifter, and the scene where she demands a night of passion from the hero is decidedly strange, but only in an utterly unexciting sort of way — a fact emphasized by the same short bit of music repeating over and over and over again…

There should be a few more “overs” in there, but you get the idea.

But we know even from the start that this just isn’t going to go that well, when the opening sequence doesn’t offer us a wild, Indiana Jones intro to our character, but he goes to a bar (where someone is dancing to that same repetitive, repetitive music), steals stuff and gets in a game of Russian Roulette-ish for a broken watch, a disposable shaver and an old toothbrush.  Wow.  Just the guy you’d pick to save the day.

So, file it under “Meh” and try a less polished film where they created something totally bonkers, like Wild, Wild Planet, The Giant of Metropolis  or Endgame – Bronx lotta finale.

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