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Tagline: Mandroid. Mercenary. Scientist. Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are ELIMINATORS!
Year: 1986 Runtime: 96 min
Director: Peter Manoogian
Writer: Paul De Meo, Danny Bilson
Starring: Andrew Prine, Denise Crosby, Patrick Reynolds
Current scientific theory states that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. This is a banal axiom by itself. However, it is an interesting thesis when one asks: how does this paradigm work when the constituent parts are comprised of zeros. Ah, ha! Finally, a truly great question, relevant to our lives today. The answer? You get an order of magnitude diddly-squat. Enter the Eliminators:
- An Eeyore cyborg
- Tasha Yar
- An owl robot thingie
- A scoundrel river bum
- A Ninja
Take this eclectic crew and mix them all together in an After School Special, spice, to taste, with some Romans, a mad scientist, and some Neanderthals, and you have 90 minutes of hernia rupturing fun. Actually, After School Special doesn’t quite capture the ambiance. Eliminators is more like an episode of G.I. Joe: laser burlets flung every which way, vehicles crashing, explosions, and yet no one dies.
I should probably mention that this is a Charles Band film. Just so we’re clear.
Eliminators is the story of a man, John Doe, who is unwillingly transformed into Mandroid (think Borg + Robocop on a $13 budget) after his plane crashes in an uncharted Mexican jungle. The evil genius behind John’s alteration is Dr. Reeves, a mad scientist with a face like a waffle iron and a penchant for ancient Rome. Oh, and he has a time machine. Mandroid is sent back through time to insure the machine works. Upon completing his mission, despite all the money, time, and accessories built for him, Reeves orders his assistant, Takada, to dismantle Mandroid. Apparently Reeves learned all he knew about life from the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Takada, having a conscience, helps Mandroid to escape, which, of course, costs him his life. Mandroid snaps on his gratuitous Mobile Unit, worthless tank treads Mandroid plugs his top half into Centaur style, and proceeds to race out of the compound at motorized shopping cart speeds. As no one can shoot, even when armed with rifles with ridiculous scopes, he only takes a burlet to the head. Falling within the G.I. Joe violence quotient, the head shot merely ruins some of his memory chips, rendering him only slightly more efficacious than an amnesiac. Something which, by this point in the movie, I would have gladly welcomed—either the amnesia or a head shot.
Mandroid seeks out Colonel Hunter (Tasha Yar) to inform her of Reeves’ evil deeds (read: muwhahaha). Hunter is a computer/robotics/science geek who works at a lab funded by Reeves. She wears lab coats and builds things like the Mandroid armor and S.P.O.T. (Search Patrol Operation Tactician), a Rent-a-Center V.I.N.CENT from Blackhole. Seeing her life’s work, i.e. the Mandroid armor as a living/breathing junkyard proof of concept, Hunter volunteers to return with Mandroid to exact revenge.
Hooray, it’s an adventure!
According to their maps, the Mexican jungle is uncharted, and because Mandroid’s memory was literally shot, Hunter has to hire a river guide to get them to the crash site, from which they’ll make their way to Reeves. Here they pick up Harry ‘scoundrel’ Fontana, the Rent-a-Center Han Solo character. There’s a keystone comedy bar fight that’ll send your duodenum into spasms followed by a river chase that’s as riveting as snails nailed in place. All the while our unlikely heroes laugh, love, and finally go their separate ways.
And then they come back together. Yay!
But then Mandroid and S.P.O.T. fall off Fontana’s boat, promptly sinking to the bottom of the river never to be found. Ever. Oh, noes!
And then there were two. Hunter and Fontana press on, only to get captured by Neanderthals.
Meanwhile Mandroid and S.P.O.T. come sloshing out of the drink, none the worse for wear. They squirt river water from sundry orifices and push on. They promptly run into a Ninja pulling fish from a stream telekinetically.
Really? Neanderthals? Ninja? The Force? If they had a costume or make-up in the storeroom, Charles Band said, “Go for it!”
So… Mandroid learns that Ninja is Takada’s son. With a heavy heart—or diodes, or whatever—Mandroid relates what happened to Ninja’s father. Because he’s a ninja, Ninja vows to get revenge for what Reeves has done. Finally, the team is complete.
Back in the other subplot, Hunter and Fontana have to fight their way out of the clutches of the Neanderthals: smooches are smooched; burlets are thrown in the fire, which is far more effective than shooting them; three or four Neanderthals give chase. Things look bad for Fontana and Hunter…
Duh duh duh!
Thanks to the last minute appearance of Ninja, Mandroid, and S.P.O.T. they escape. Phew. A quick jog, and a jump cut, later the team finds Mandroid’s stashed mobile unit. They bivouac down for the afternoon to assess their supplies, work on a plan, and get a little sun. S.P.O.T. is sent to get a tactical layout of Reeves’ camp.
When S.P.O.T. returns something is amiss. S.P.O.T. is gibbering, which actually is normal but for some reason this gibberish is different. To clear up any confusion, S.P.O.T. starts shooting his sting lasers at everyone. Fearing someone might get hit, and thus suffer the indignity of a slightly uncomfortable pinch, Ninja has to put him down. (One down, four to go!) The smoke from the wreck forms into a hologram of Reeves’ head. Using it’s invisible lungs a vocal cords, Reeves’ disembodied head warns the Eliminators to come no further. Obviously defeated, our heroes resign themselves to life as failures…
But wait! If only Hunter can… cross some wires… a spark of electricity… What’s this?!? The plans for Reeves’ camp on S.P.O.T.’s visor. Good ole S.P.O.T. He came through after all. Hope restored, they spring into action.
The plan calls for Fontana, Hunter, and Ninja penetrate the stronghold via a Rent-a-Center City of Tanis map room. One would think an evil genius’s secret treasure room would be near impossible to get into, much less have it be the weak link in his whole defense, but one only need remember this is a Charles Band film and all worries are quelled. No sooner are they in when they are caught. The Dream Team™ is smooth as grandma’s sandpaper enemas.
Meanwhile, Mandroid sieges the camp at the front gate, calling for Reeves to come out. The gate opens, Mandroid walks in, and is surrounded by Reeves’ goons. “Ha, ha!” Mandroid laughs derisively. “My friends have already destroyed your computers, your lab, and all your work. It’s over!” (Or something to that effect. I wasn’t paying attention and refuse to watch it again to get the actual quote.)
To which Reeves replies (via a speaker system), “Do you like apples, Mandroid?” Out march the three stooges. “How ‘bout dem apples?” (See previous parenthetical.)
Uhm, maybe not so much. Well, at least not for the Eliminators. See, Reeves’ minions are nice guys. Rather than killing their prisoners the goons let the Eliminators start kicking butt first. Pew pew pew. Explosion. Pew pew pew. The minions run.
Maniacal laughter. The compound’s front door explodes. Ah, hell. Final Boss Fight!
True to all video games evar, Reeves has transformed. He’s no longer the decrepit, waffle-faced mad scientist. Now he’s Iron Caesar (i.e. Julius Caesar + Iron Man). Sweet! Naturally his armor and weapons are stronger than Mandroid’s, allowing him to withstand all attacks as he monologues his plan, which is to go back in time to become the ruler of Rome. This raises a couple questions: why is it preferable to be the ruler of ancient Rome than being the ruler of the contemporary world; why did he go back and collect all the treasure? Oh, right, this is a Charles Band movie. No reason other than it’s in the script.
When he finishes his monologue, Iron Caesar blasts Mandroid and captures Fontana, Hunter, and Ninja in a force field. He sets the force field to shrink, cranks the powertronics up to kill, and leaves to get into his time machine. Not quite dead, Mandroid’s last act is to absorb the force field’s energy to release his friends. (Two down, three to go!)
No time for the dust in their eyes, the remaining Eliminators race to stop Iron Caesar. They make it just in time to see his time pod disappear into time. Fontana rakes his hand across a keyboard in frustration at his lack of programming skills. Not that programming skills would have help—sorry, I know, Charles Band movie. Moving on…
Wouldn’t you know it Fontana’s discouraged motion, his anti-programming skills, actually managed to send Iron Caesar back to 400 million B.C. Everyone laughs. The end.
So, returning to the idea of common knowledge, we all know that a thousand monkeys typing will will eventually produce something Shakespearean, right? Well, who knew that one UHM-tard mashing keys can instantly change delicately precise time travel settings? Therefore, coming full circle, I suppose this demonstrates that the whole, arrived from the sum of the parts which themselves are all el zilcho, is 400 million B.C.? Or, to put it in scientific notation: Charles Band Joint.
Watch the trailer for “Eliminators”