October 26, 2004
Creepy assistant. Check.
Pulsing brains and hearts. Check.
Homicidal monster. Check.
Splashing blood and gruesome gore. Check.
Foreign spies. Check.
Busty babes in bra and panties or bikinis. Check.
So can someone please tell me why this movie is so damned dull?!?!?!?!?
Astro Zombies has a decent cast, and you'll probably recognize several of the actors. Robert Carradine stars as the evil scientist, but he's barely trying here. Robert Bagdad checks in as the odd assistant, and while he looks like an evil assistant, he spends a lot of time alternating between evil genius in his own right and bumbling idiot servant. Tura Satana of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is the head of an international ring of spies out to steal the doctor's secrets, but her acting is if anything even worse in this movie. The G-men are just annoying, and tend to die after long boring chase scenes. They're supposed to be the good guys, but such faceless drones that I really didn't care whether or not they lived or died.
I think the idea was to build suspense by dragging out the action, but the director had no real clue about how to really build tension. There wasn't a lot to work with either, because the script is bad, the acting is bad, the plot is bad, the sets are bad... The cars are nice though, it's fun to see yesterday's roads filled with Mustangs and Galaxys.
About three-fourths of the way into this movie, you can almost hear the director say "time to liven this mess up!" Suddenly spies and G-men start to get shot and stabbed, the monster starts to attack, the gore becomes more graphic, and characters actually run instead of meander around the screen. Not that any of it saves this bomb.
One part that made me laugh was that the monsters (the Astro Zombies), are powered by photoelectric cells stuck to their heads. Yep, solar powered evil. For nighttime badness, they also have a built in battery pack that recharges during the day. In one fight scene, a G-man manages to remove the battery pack from the monster. The monster grabs the G-man's flashlight, and we're treated to a long sequence where the monster is struggling through the back alleys of Los Angeles, trying to make it back to the doctor's secret laboratory, all the while holding the flashlight to his forehead!
An interesting bit of trivia, this movie was co-written and produced by Wayne Rogers - Trapper John of television's M*A*S*H. I'm curious to know how many times he's been punched for having a hand in this movie.
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