Project: Metalbeast (1995)

It’s perfectly obvious.

You want to create a perfect soldier, right?  One with extra strength, sharper senses, night vision, and who would be nearly impossible to kill?  It’s simple really:

Turn him into a werewolf.

What could possibly go wrong?

Obviously, the people who made Project: Metalbeast didn’t think it would cause enough complications, so their werewolf gets covered with a bullet proof, metal based skin substitute, making him immune to small arms fire and silver bullets.

And, of course, we will absolutely be able to control this thing.

Oh, wait a minute, if we did, then we wouldn’t have a movie.

Let’s face it, any movie with a premise this heroically idiotic is one I was going to get around to watching sooner or later, no matter what the reviews said about it.  And I’ll be honest, they’ve generally been bad.

But frankly, I enjoyed this one.

It starts out with a commando mission (low budget variety — only two soldiers) on the trail of the beast in Transylvania, only to end up back in the U.S. where the infected soldier, Butler, is frozen and stored for a few decades.

By now we know what to expect: classic Creature Feature feature thrills as the monster gets loose (again) and starts killing everyone.

Except we instead get a long sequence with some fairly gruesome effects as they try out their new skin replacement on Butler’s frozen body — only to find out he’s not quite as dead as they thought.

And after two violent early scenes, it is a bit of surprise that things slow down a bit for a fairly long time so we can get some evil machinations on the part of Miller (Barry Bostwick) who is responsible for this “brilliant” plan, set up a few characters, indulge in a few stomach-turning surgical scenes as they cut out hunks of skin and replace them, and engage in a bit of mostly plausible-sounding science-y talk.

But, this is a B-Movie with a better than average budget, so don’t panic there will be plenty of horrific werewolf violence before we are done.

Not to mention an ending that earns this site’s Golden “Nukie” award for most utterly excessive splattery monster death.

I mean, after all, if a silver bullet works for a regular werewolf…

None of this is perfect, obviously, and we all know what’s going to happen to the little guy who’s left watching the body when things start getting weird.

But it’s a B-Movie.  You expect to expect things like that.

But I have to confess that the final version of the beast (and it changes throughout) is really quite impressive — huge, and black, with powerful dog-like legs.  I suspect that means Kane Hodder — who has a certain fanboy cred for playing Jason Voorhees in several “Friday” movies and seems to have got stuck playing monsters (oh, well, it’s a job) — was wearing stilts underneath it all, but it is one of the best “Man-In-A-Suit” werewolves I’ve seen.  The transformation is also handled reasonably well, if cheaply, as the creature merely changes from scene to scene.

But you’ve got to love that final version.

As with most of the monster movies in the shallow end of the movie swamp, it really helps if you don’t expect more from it than a bit of energetic and gory monster mayhem fun — and I don’t mind at all that it is a little more intelligent than most movies this incredibly batty ever are.

So if you’re willing to sit back, accept this thing for what it is, and laugh at the silly bits that weren’t meant to be silly, you should enjoy this one.

And, let’s face it, if you’re reading a review of a movie about a werewolf with metal skin, then I suspect you probably won’t have any trouble doing that…

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