So with bailouts going on left and right, I’m back to pitch in again to bail out your genre movie collection. Tonight’s movie is one that has been a “value” title nearly since it’s release in 1991. I recall seeing it on video for three or four bucks back in the nineties, and while I was intrigued, it hadn’t hit that magical price point. Lo and behold, I found it in a Wallgreens for a buck paired withSlipstream starring Bill “Game over,man” Paxton and Mark Hamill. Sadly that flick will have to wait for another time for tonight’s film stars a man who’s popped up in a couple of my favorite genre films. He was a bad ass in Predator, a supposed bad ass in The Running Man, and a governor in…..hmm, not a movie you say you mean that was real? Well I digress. I can only be talking about one man and that’s Jesse “The Body” Ventura and he is…
Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (1991) starring Jesse Ventura, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Marjorie Bransfield, and Francis Mitchell.
t’s a normal kind of day for “Finder” Abraxas (Ventura). After being retrofitted with all kinds of plas-steel reinforced skin and warping through the universe, he’s sent to Earth to bring in his ex-partner Secundus. It seems Secundus has gone rogue and is looking to find a female to impregnate. He is looking to spawn the Kolaner (just guessing here I really could have used subtitles to tell what they kept calling the kid.) who is supposed to be able to produce the Anti-Life Equation. This formula would either a) destroy the universe b) make Secondus a god c)
allow him to travel to the Anti-Life universe or d) some or all of the above as if it actually mattered.
After a laser battle, Secundus finds a likely candidate in Sonia and impregnates her by putting his hand over her belly until his hand glows blue. Abraxas subdues Secundus after the deed is done and the rogue gets sent off to a penal planet, but now the intergalactic cop has to snuff out Sonia before her baby is born. He has about 30 seconds to do it because the gestation period on crazy alien babies who may be filled with deadly knowledge to destroy the universe is all kinds of fast. He just can’t pull the trigger though because deep down Abraxas is a big softie. So he lets the girl and her universe shattering kid live.
Five years down the road the mom, Sonia (Bransfield) and her kid Tommy (Mitchell) are living a normal kind of life. Well, mostly normal. Seems Tommy has never uttered a sound after crying for a moment after he was born. She even gets called to the school to speak to the principal about Tommy. The principal (Jim Belushi in a cameo role) thinks Tommy is a troublemaker because he gets picked on by the other kids. It takes Sonia to tell him that perhaps he should focus on the behavior of the other kids to which the principal says, “I haven’t thought of that.”
All in all they seem to be leading a good life. That is until Secundus breaks free of his prison planet and comes back to Earth to seek the Kolaner and the anti-life equation that his mind contains. The space cops dispatch Abraxus to stop him again or more specifically to kill Tommy to stop the equation from falling into the wrong hands. Instead Abraxus becomes Tommy’s defender as he cloaks him with his “answer box”, a kind of built in super computer housed in his arm. The two men struggle over the boy as Abraxus learns more about the ways of Earth and the ways of love as he begins to fall for Sonia.
—The film was originally rated R, but given a PG-13 after a topless scene was cut. (I demand an uncut version immediately )
–Jim Belushi appeared in the film as a favor to Marjorie Bransfield his wife at the time.
–Pepsi products abound in the film so there’s a fine chance there was some placement money that changed hands. Or perhaps Pepsi is not only the choice of a new generation, but also intergalactic space cops.
–The film contained many elements of comic book legend Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. The answer box and anti-life equation are thinly veiled concepts from his work.
The Bug Speaks
This was not really a good movie. The jokes that punctuated the script were hackneyed, the plot itself was thin and brought to mind a Terminator rip off for the tween set, and the acting was wooden at best. That being said; I really enjoyed the time I spent watching this flick. It was the
kind of meaningless drivel that really let you set you mind on neutral and just go with it. This is the kind of film that embodies the “so bad it’s good” cliche that has become the di rigor archetype for cult films.
Let’s take a look at the foremost feature to the film that makes it a piece of cult cinema gold, and that is Jesse “The Body”. Coming some four years after Jesse made his flying leap from the wrestling ring to the silver screen with The Predator and The Running Man, Jesse doesn’t seem to have improved his acting. On the contrary he seems to have gotten worse. However Jesse does have some great lines in the film. The one that will stick with me is when he tells the first Earthlings he meets that he can follow Secundus in the car he just stole from them. It leads to this exchange.
Father: So what makes you think you can locate my 4-by-4?
Abraxus: My box has VD, trust me.
Mother: Your what?
Abraxus: VD. Vibrational Detection.
This is followed by the equally quotable line:
Abraxus: My force was taught to avoid VD.
And that my friends is gold, pure gold.
he virtues of Ventura’s performance having been dissected, I do have a feeling that the director told his stars, both Ventura and Thorsen, to study up on Arnie’s portrayal of the robotic Terminator and ape it. Both men speak in a semi- robotic tone, although Thorsen even more so, and they walk with a stiffness of a robot even though neither man is one. Sure they
are cyborgs of a sort, but seriously they construct these super cops so poorly that they can’t move properly?
I also have to mention that if you have the tech to make all these improvements then why can’t they spring for a little extra cash to get Ventura’s Abraxas some hair instead of letting his sport the circle of power that tops his dome. I’m just saying you can warp men though space, but you can’t cure male pattern baldness. This is what I will hereby dub as the Picard Effect. (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about then you need to get your Trek on. )
The effects in this film are far from being anything to write home about. So it’s a good thing that I’m just writing to you folks. The Laser guns apparently make huge explosions on contact with just about anything, and not just explosions mind you but giant fires as well. To but the cherry on top of the sundae of cheesiness, there are the fight scenes. Any time Thorsen and Ventura throw down in hand to hand combat it turns immediately to slow motion that would make John Woo want to kick some people in the nads for even attempting it. It’s just that bad. For a man who made his previous career in fake fighting, you would think Ventura could have hooked the flick up with some well choreographed moves, but that just goes to show you what I get for thinking.
See this is not a film for thinking. Making an attempt to peel back the layers of this film would only result in finding out how little there was underneath. That’s just fine though. There’s plenty of time in life to check out flicks that will tantalize the senses or make you take pause to consider the message or the hidden meaning. This is not that film. This is just the right kind of flick to crack open some beers, invite some friends over, and have a great time ripping it apart. So while the rating of this flick is average the fun that it contains is well above. If you can stumble on this one for a buck, I highly recommend you pick it up.