Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mondo-nesia: Lady Terminator

Indonesia has proven to be a really strange place when it comes to film-making. This is the place that gave us a film about the dangerous practice of accusing women of being witches. Said film -The Queen of Black Magic- ends with the young woman actually becoming a witch & trying to kill everyone. Way to send mixed messages, guys! With that example, let's delve into what today's film really is: The Terminator. The names have changed, but the film is still the same. A crazed killer seeks out one woman for a strange reason and kills everyone that gets in their way. There are quite a few things that are different. For starters, our villain is a girl, albeit a mutated one., that's just about it. Let's dive right into the crazy pool that is...
The film begins a long time ago with a beautiful queen that is greeted by an American man (at least in the version they sent us). They share a bed, but he spurns her offer of marriage. She takes it pretty badly, putting a curse on his family line. Cut to the present day, where a female is struck by an evil spirit. This effect is pretty damn weird, culminating in a weird scene where she gyrates on a bed in her underwear. In order to properly rip-off James Cameron's film, she walks slowly out of the water. Depending on where you lived, she was either wearing only a thong (America) or wearing a full dress (Asia). She exits the water and kills some random guy to get her outfit. This is obviously a rip-off, but it does spare us the displeasure of seeing 'Ahnuld's' ass, so it's not all negative. She becomes an unstoppable killing machine thanks to the evil Sea Witch's powers and has one goal: revenge. Mind you, it is revenge by proxy, but revenge nonetheless. Sadly, our heroine is not named Sarah.
As plot convenience would have it, our heroine knows an archaeologist who is looking into the evil Sea Witch lore. This should come in handy later. She also gets a strange dagger that literally serves no purpose for 99% of the movie. The possessed girl begins searching for the young woman, first targeting her at a mall. You know how this works right? She shoots, people die and our heroine escapes unharmed. What happens at the disco club? She shoots, people die and our heroine escapes unharmed again. One does have to wonder how our villainess is immune to bullets and deaths though. How does magic make your skin bullet-proof? Are we to assume that magic adapts for society, like the ancient spell that allows you to control bulldozers? To make matters worse, they adjust this logic later, but only when they are attempting to rip-off more moments from James Cameron's film. I also have to question the scene where she pulls one of her eyes out with a pen. One- it serves no purpose other than to ape the other film. Two- are we saying that no stray bullets hit her eyes? Clearly, those are vulnerable. Maybe I'm too picky...
The film continues to build and build in a nice way. For example, we start out with her battling thugs, escalate to her fighting undercover cops & go up from there. Sadly, she does not do the famous line before she does the entire 'police headquarters shoot-out' scene. This does have its own good parts, such as the trailer moment where she shoots one cop about 50 times with an AK-47 and then kicks his corpse for a more personal touch. More escalation, film! The final battle involves more cops, a helicopter and a freaking bazooka! She emerges from the blast with her skin burned off (because bullets produce no heat on their own) and starts firing eye-lasers! When did this turn into The Dark? Man, I wonder if anything can kill this thing?!? She just 'offed' 90% of the cast here! Oh no, she's about to kill our heroine. What could possibly...oh, she just stabbed the lady terminator with the dagger that she had the whole time. It's dead. The End.
Yeah, this ending is a bit silly, even when you consider everything that preceded it. It really is that abrupt. As for the whole movie, it is bizarre, cheesy fun. I mean, it's Lady f-ing Terminator! It has '80s fashions, disco dancing (Indonesia is on a slight time-delay) and stupid effects. That's not forgetting how many people are just mowed down by a tiny woman in a leather jacket with a machine gun! Unlike a lot of foreign import films, the plot is actually secondary to the effects and the action. After sitting through such long-seeming films like The Wig and Uzumaki, it is a nice change of pace. The film has been restored pretty well by the folks at Mondo Macabro and there are the usual features explaining the subject matter. If nothing else, enjoy the famous Mondo Macabro trailer reel- that never disappoints! Besides, that song will never ever escape your mind.
Let's return to America to uncover a secret conspiracy involving murder, grave-robbing food. Stay tuned...

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