Friday, October 26, 2007

Devil’s Dynamite – review

Director: Joe Livingstone

Release date: 1987

Contains spoilers

When looking at the DVD release of this, as part of the Eastern Horror franchise, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was the sequel to Robo Vampire, not only is this the second disc but quoting the blurb: “The Andriobot returns! The fearless half man/half machine is back…” we needn’t go on.

Fact of the matter is that this was released a year before and it is not the same andriobot – bear in mind I only took the name andriobot for this and the other film from the blurb, as the name is not mentioned in either film's dialogue. This is more a sister film.

Like the other film this is two plots spliced together, with a bizarre sub-plot, at least this film has mention of the two plots in both of them – if that makes sense. Actually one character from one plot does speak to one from another by telephone – though as it seems dubbed (and terribly at that) who knows.

Plot 1 – the andriobot plot sees a Taoist priest doing his stuff. A western drugs Lord called Ronald comes in and pulls out a voodoo doll, causing the priest much pain. This shows he is under control, thus the kyonsi (Chinese hopping vampires) are slaves to the drugs lord. They get stronger each feed and so are fed some prisoners.

Cut across to ninjas, the shadow warriors, attacking a compound (probably a prison) looking to assassinate Steven Cox (a main player in the other plot). They have been hired by Ronald but he tests the kyonsi on them – killing the ninja – Cox isn’t there as he has been released.

Alex is asking questions about Cox when a kyonsi attacks the restaurant. Now in the next film the andriobot is Tom, who died and was changed into the android. Alex is the andriobot in this, though you wouldn’t notice until it comes time to fight and then he turns into the ‘futuristic warrior’ ala power rangers. The look is even worse than the next film but at least the awful robot sound effects have gone.

Story long cut short, we see nothing of the kyonsi for a while as andriobot injures them. He goes hunting for them, trying to track them down and ends up getting hold of a Taoist to help him defeat them – which involves painting him ala Spooky Encounters.

The sub-plot – if it warrants the title – sees a young boy dressing up as a kyonsi to scare the bejezzus out of a young girl. Every time he does this real vampires attack and andriobot rescues him. This would be so much fluff, and is to be fair, but the girl – in the first of two scenes – vanishes in a supernatural way. Makes you wonder, but not too much.

Plot two has gambling king Steven Cox released from prison. He has a stash of gold hidden and everyone wants it. Everyone are the Fox, built as a big time gangster but comes across as a small time crook and Madame Mary.

Madame Mary was his gal; he left wife and child for her. She had him put away for ten years, took his house and now wants him dead. She runs all the gambling and is about to marry Louis, a cop who believes her to be an upstanding citizen. It would have worked better if Louis was Cox's son, and I kept waiting for that twist but it never came.

All told the story hangs together better than Robo Vampire, but that really isn’t saying much. There are many less explosions (though there is a fire – nice to see the police being even handed as they set the inferno to smoke Cox out), and the story, as thin as it is, verges on melodrama. That said – it is better than the second film. There is a third film, Counter Destroyer, which I believe is a Nightmare on Elm Street rip off (with kyonsi) in which andriobot appears in the final reel – could my sanity survive watching that one too. We’ll see very soon. 0.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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