Monday, June 6, 2011
June 6 - Project Shadowchaser
Project Shadowchaser (1992)
Director: John Eyres
Format: VHS (Hoyts Home Video)
I'm sure most b-movie enthusiasts find themselves in this situation: You see a tagline like "Die Hard meets the Terminator" on the front cover of a movie and, knowing that it can't possibly live up to the either of those movies, decide you just have to watch it.
That exact tagline is on the cover of my VHS copy of Project Shadowchaser, and yes, I just had to watch it. Looking over the cast, I saw the names Martin Kove and Frank Zagarino, and the need to watch grew even greater! The Kobra Kai sensei and Argan from Barbarian Queen in the same movie? Sign me up!
Directed by John Eyres (who helmed the not-bad 2001 teeny horror flick RIPPER), Project Shadowchaser is set in the future, when a team of terrorists led by silver-haired cyborg Romulus (Zagarino) take over a hospital and hold the President's daughter (the weird-eyed Meg Foster, THEY LIVE) hostage. The FBI (led by Paul Koslo of ROBOT JOX) order the hospital's architect unfrozen from the jail he is in for murder, so they can get inside the building and free her.
The only problem is they unfreeze the wrong man, Desilva (Kove), who plays along with the mistake on a promise of a full pardon. When the team of agents sent in with him winds up dead, it's up to Desilva to try to beat the terrorists himself. He rescues the President's daughter, but rather than escape she chooses to stay and kick some terrorist butt with Desilva. Romulus proves to be virtually unbeatable, leading to a showdown between man (and woman) and machine.
Joss Ackland (Hans in MIGHTY DUCKS) also features as the scientist creator of Romulus.
Everything you need to know about Project Shadowchaser is in that tagline I mentioned at the start of this review. There's lots of crawling around a high-rise building attacking baddies ala Die Hard, and Romulus is clearly a Terminator rip off. Of course, Martin Kove isn't Bruce Willis and Frank Zagarino isn't Arnie, but Kove has barely enough charisma to pull it off and Zagarino is actually quite good as a cyborg. I was critical of his wooden acting in my review of Barbarian Queen, but here it's an asset.
There's nothing special about Project Shadowchaser - the special effects, camera work and fight scenes are okay if unspectacular. It rates poorly on the cheesyness scale, so don't expect any unintentional laughs. But hey, it's an okay way to spend an hour and a half.
Previews on my VHS: Strictly Ballroom, 1492, Stepfather 3, Prototype, Hangin' with the Homeboys, Bram Stoker's Dracula