Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: The Vindicator

of 7 viewers "Liked" "The Vindicator" (Canada, 1986)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Speed Demon - "Excellent soundtrack. The main theme is super catchy. Special FX were decent. Story was typical and everything you would expect for its time. Maybe some gore would have been great to add into the mix. Especially for some dude that had his normal body replaced with metal parts. By doing this it made him ridiculously strong. If this fool could crush cars then why couldn't he crush people? All in all I enjoyed this 1980's film." - 3 Stars

KillDozer - "This is one of those hidden gems that while watching it I couldn't stop wondering why no one talks about or shares its awesomeness! Obvious comparisons to Terminator and RoboCop will be made but pay no mind as this title stands on its own and has a bit of slasher/revenge flick vibe that is highly entertaining. Brilliant practical effects and sold fight scenes bring it all together for the genre nerd looking for murdering cyborg fun. It also helps that this film co-stars the legendary Pam Greer and was directed by the man who brought us Visiting Hours!" - 4 Stars (Collection worthy and worth sharing with the masses!)

Dabbles - "It's like a dollar store RoboCop that did not disappoint. Not much to say except that this movie had a lot of neat surprises. It's worth a look or 2." - 4 Stars

Lord Battle - "With a strange monkey vs robot opening sequence, The Vindicator starts strong enough to keep even the most fickle horror fan focused. As the movie reaches its halfway point it definitely begins to feel redundant the way most lost VHS gems tend too. If you're among the few who can resist The Vindicator's sleepy tones, you'll be rewarded with a genuinely creepy rape scene, some Ghost Busters action, and an awkward climax that features several exploding appliances." - 3.5 Stars 

Huntress - "Think what you will about the story being done before, but The Vindicator still does a lot of things right. The effects in this movie make up for acting shortcomings, and the soundtrack behind the action scenes showcases the best of the 80's. It's just too bad that these moments are spread sort of thin throughout the movie." - 3 Stars

Math Mage - "I saw the last half hour of this film like 25 years ago on local TV and the final fight stuck with me all this time. But I didn't know the title which haunted me. Now I can finally put this to rest. In terms of the film itself: a hybrid of Robocop and Darkman with excellent effects and a superb soundtrack. I especially appreciated the super strength effects; too often they smash fake walls and other unbelievable things... In this film they focus on bending metal and doors breaking which they do very believably." - 4 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs - "This was a surprise. I had never heard of this film and wasn't sure what to expect but in the end I liked it. There are some cool action sequences and although it seems to take a bit from Robocop, it's still an enjoyable film. I definitely recommend watching this with friends." - 4 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Often compared to RoboCop or The Terminator and written as a modern retelling of Frankenstein, The Vindicator may actually be a film about the ego of man and the struggle of women. Starring genre vet David McIlwraith (Cruel Intentions 2, Hollow Man 2), directed by Jean-Claude Lord (Visiting Hours), and brought to life by special effects master Stan Winston, The Vindicator follows Carl Lehman, a well-to-do scientist working in a top secret branch of some company developing a new type of weapon. As fate would have it there's an explosion and our buddy Carl ends up becoming the vary weapon he was developing.
Sound familiar?
Instead of talking about what films The Vindicator is reminiscent of, I'd like to go out on a limb and say it's really a film about Lauren Lehman. Lauren is left a widow in the first act and before we know it everything in her life suddenly changes for the worst. Her house becomes haunted by the disembodied voice of her dead husband, old friends become rapists, and the city starts to attract roaming biker gangs (that obey helmet laws).
The film actually plays out like a suicidal fantasy of an adolescent boy. The scene that most conjures up this imagery is in the junk yard when the small boy is destroying car windows. It's as if Carl is fed up with being a scrawny brainiack and is fantasizing about being able to physically dominate people, like an alpha male would. The problem here is that Carl knows giving into emotions can be self-destructive and our monkey friend from the beginning didn't die without laying some solid forshadowing.

This fight yields no winners

Carl stuggles even as his childhood fantasy is achieved, since it turns out being the strongest isn't any fun when you can't control yourself around your wife. So he is forced to put Lauren through even more torment as he abandons her yet again. Now even though this film is following Carl's struggle, it's not until the final climax that Lauren actually starts to fight back and when she does, she ends up killing 2 of the 3 bosses. There is some phallic metaphor play within this scene that I'll stay away from. 
Another scene worth mentioning involves Pam Greer taking her own life over letting Carl vindicate her. This says some pretty dark things about our writer ----- and his outlook on the stubbornness of women.
I leave you with the definition of Vindicate:
 {To defend, maintain, or insist on the recognition of}

- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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