Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (1991)
This is a bad movie. Very bad. Not much else to say.
On to our show...
We open in outer space, at some sort of headquarters outpost where two guys with spooky hair talk about "Finders" and what pains they are. Finders are the "cops of the universe", "peacemen" who go around trying to stop bad things from happening. The problem is that they live by their own code and are virtually untouchable, even by their superiors. They are currently monitoring two Finders, former partners and now adversaries, who are down on the planet Earth duking it out. These two Finders are named Abraxas and Secundus.
Awesome hair, a sure sign of an extraterrestrial life form.
Abraxas is played by one-time Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, in one of his few headlining movie roles. For being the hero, he's not much to look at, near-balding at 40-years old and seemingly binge-eating out-of-shape. His acting style is also horribly stilted and at times even hurtful to watch (though the script doesn't do him any favors), and if only the voters of Minnesota watched this movie first in 1998, he wouldn't have been elected at all. Abraxas (and Secundus also) is a near immortal alien, being over 10,000 years old (!).
Secundus is played by burly Danish bodybuilder Sven-Ole Thorsen, who was in every single lousy action movie ever made between 1982 and 2005 (seriously, just look up his resume). If that is his real voice, then god bless him, because he's got the pitch-perfect guttural North European accent to match his imposing Nordic physical form. Thorsen was clearly aware of what kind of movie he was in (crappy) and he's the only one of the cast who seems to be in on the joke (that the movie is crappy). Secundus and Abraxas used to be partners, but Secundus has gone rogue and Abraxas has to try and bring him in.
To Upstate New York now, to a wicked gunfight in the snowy woods between Abraxas and Secundus. They have fancy laser guns, they have metal plates imbedded in their skulls, and they have form-fitting jumpsuits. They also have these "Answer Box" thingies strapped to their wrists, little credit-card sized displays that speak to them in annoying female voices. The boxes are their link to headquarters, as well as acting like Star Trek tricorders to answer any and all questions they might have (like having wikipedia talk to you!). The laser guns cause massive explosions of flame and smoke, but are notoriously inaccurate, as shown by neither man being able to hit the other one from ten feet away.
And having a bright red light on the front of your rifle kinda makes you an easy target when having a gunfight at night.
Near this fight, two kids are driving around in a Pontiac Firebird looking for a place to make out. With Abraxas momentarily down, Secundus is able to ambush the couple as the boy starts to get handsy. Watch as, at the very instant he needs it, his car ignition fails to crank (as is oh-so common in horror movies, when a perfectly good vehicle will suddenly develop an alternator problem at the exact moment the hooded meathook killer is upon the co-eds). Secundus tosses out the boy and kidnaps the girl, after first poking at her boobs to see if she's a "breeding female of the human species". He then impregnates her just by holding his glowing hand against her abdomen! Wow, your mom was right, you can get pregnant just from holding hands with a boy! I should also note (with some trepidation) that I reason from the obvious...bulge in Secundus' trousers that he's equipped for a more traditional mode of reproduction, so I wonder why he has to use the glowy hand thing here.
An IUD is worthless against the glowing hand!
The girl is Sonia, who looks like a 30-year old Hayden Panettiere or a young Lisa Kudrow circa Friends. She's played by Marjorie Bransfield, a very pretty blonde who never really did much with her talents. In fact, this was her one and only substantial acting role, which is a bit odd as she's not bad.
When caught by Abraxas, Secundus doesn't put up a fight. He explains that Abraxas is too late, he's won because he's already impregnated the "human breeding member" with his DNA. This will bring about the "Comater", an alien/human hybrid child who can "calculate the anti-life equation". Or maybe it's "Komater", can't tell and the internet is no help (but, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT attempt to google "Chris Komater"). Anyway, apparently this anti-life equation (who came up with that?) is some MacGuffin that will give Secundus "unlimited power", which is what he craves down in the dark carnival that is his soul. Secundus is then transported to an off-world penal colony.
Beam him up, Scotty!
Abraxas is ordered by his superiors (via his Answer Box) to kill the girl before she gives birth, to prevent the Comater's arrival. Abraxas quickly finds Sonia in blinding agony in the snow beneath a tree, about to give birth (!) in the shortest gestation in recorded history. Faced with the prospect of killing an unarmed and innocent (and hot) woman, Abraxas chooses to lower his weapon and walk away. Noble act to be sure, but he did just leave a woman in labor alone, in the dark, in the woods, without any medical care or even a car to get home. Now that I think of it, Abraxas is a dick. You googled "Chris Komater", even after I told you not to, didn't you? I know you did.
Sonia gives birth.
Sonia gives birth to a boy (who comes out of the chute looking two months old), and she seems to take it totally in stride. Going home to the little town of Thornbury, she tells the story to her parents, who don't believe her and even kick her out! On her own now, Sonia sets off on her own path. We see her go down to the Simcoe County office to register the child (named Thomas "Tommy" Murray), and we hear the frumpy clerk insult her for not knowing the father's name. I guess that's what living in a small insular town will get you, disowned by parents stuck in the 1900s and berated by bible-thumping middle-aged civil servants. Somehow, Sonia pulls it all together and ends up doing quite well for herself (you go girl!). Within a few years she has a nice house, a good job, stellar Jennifer Anniston hair, numerous pairs of Jordache jeans, even a bitchin' Pontiac 6000 station wagon (with the optional wood paneling!).
And now we jump five years ahead, and we see Tommy as he will be for the rest of the movie. Sadly, Tommy has not spoken a word since birth, much to the consternation of his mother and several badly-dressed specialists. Sonia feels that his silence is because of his "unique" birth, and she has a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach that something bad will happen eventually with all this. But still, they are a close, loving family and it's nice to see.
Tommy (don't mock the hat, it's cold up there).
We see Sonia as she talks to the principal of the local school where Tommy has been getting into trouble. The man is leery of re-admitting Tommy, as this is a "normal school for normal children" and "his presence is causing problems with the rest of the students". They tease and pick on him because he won't talk, but it's Sonia that suggests to the bumbling, clueless principal that he should just talk to the bullies. The principal is played by Jim Belushi in a surprise cameo, and if you are wondering why an A-List (for 1991) actor is in such a dirtpile mess of a movie, it's because he was married to the actress playing Sonia. Belushi actually seems like he's enjoying his three minutes of screen time, which is more than I can say for anyone else attached to this film.
He was awesome in Red Heat.
On now to "The Granary", the organic food store in Thornbury where Sonia works the counter. This little granola-eating artist-colony Sedona-wannabe town seems like just the place for a store like this, but she's just not earthy enough to be working here (I suspect, gasp, she shaves her legs and eats beef). She's being hit on by JohnnyCop, a local policeman who has the sweets for her. JohnnyCop's new in town, one of only two cops on Thornbury's police force. As all women do, Sonia tests his love for her by making him do something stupid, in this case, drinking some nasty-as-puke wheat grass juice (she really doesn't have any interest in him, she just wants to use her womanly power to make him act the fool, women suck).
JohnnyCop, hey, is that The Greatest American Hero? Did anyone get that?
Back in outer space, word comes that Secundus has escaped the penal planet (yawn) and is heading to Earth to get the child/Comater and gain ultimate power via the anti-life equation. He might also be coming back to kill John Conner before he can destroy Sky-Net and stop the coming machine revolt.
This chart shows Secundus' killer stats and super-awesome abilities, but the shitty quality of my print doesn't allow for a readable screen-cap.
Abraxas is called in and smacked by his bosses for letting the Comater live, blaming everything on that decision. Uh, if they've been so worried about the kid then why haven't they not just gone ahead and sent someone else to Earth to kill the kid sometime in the last five years? This is never explained to my satisfaction. This seems like it's more their fault than Abraxas' and he's just the scapegoat. Abraxas calls Secundus a "uncontrollable malcontent" and is more pissed that they let him escape prison than that they are trying to pin all this on him. But, really, while his personal code of ethics is not to kill innocent women and children, by doing so he is willingly taking the risk that one day the Comater's anti-life equation will kill billions. Abraxas is ordered to go to Earth and eliminate the child with extreme violence, but he says "no", he will solve the problem his own way. How many Finders are there, anyway? Why does it have to be Abraxas? You'd think they wouldn't send him just because he was too close to the situation and couldn't be trusted to pull the trigger when needed to. His boss is a dumbass.
Eeek, is that a water-treatment plant with some arc lighting and shower curtains for walls?
Travel back and forth across the galaxy is through "travel warps", which are just fancy wormholes in space and time. In an amazing plot contrivance, it seems that these travel warps can only send one person at a time to a given destination. Abraxas and Secundus enter "parallel warps", wormholes both headed the same place (Earth) but on different streams (which seems to run counter to their earlier statement about wormholes being one-rider only), but a "problem" of some sort strips them of their weaponry (sure), leaving them with nothing but their clothes and Answer Boxes.
To the north woods again, as newly-arrived Abraxas and Secundus run and chase and fight to a swaying handheld camera and a throbbing techno beat. There's even some wrestling, though I must admit to expecting more moves out of former professional wrestler Ventura. Secundus barges into a campsite and steals a Jeep Cherokee from some namby-pamby ACLU lawyer out on a camping trip with his wife and son. Secundus' Answer Box is "not sufficiently charged" to start the vehicle automatically, so he has to rough up the lawyer to get his keys. Abraxas comes flying in to land on the hood and then hangs onto the roof for a bit before Secundus shakes him off during a high-speed run through the woods and escapes. [Editor Pam: Isn't it lucky for him he just happens to know how to drive late-20th-century Earth cars? Are late-20th-century Earth cars perhaps in extensive use throughout the universe, so a Finder needs to learn how to operate them?]
Oh, you are going to need to have that checked.
Abraxas gets a ride back to town with the same lawyer family that just lost their Jeep to Secundus. Along the way, he says he's a cop and asks for some "local clothes", as his Morrow-issue resistweave jumpsuit makes him stand out in a crowd. When asked how he's going to find the missing Jeep, he points to his Answer Box and says, "My box has VD." Ha. Actually, that's "vibrational detection", some sort of ultra-alien technology that can track machines and stuff. Nothing says "sci-fi" like taking normal-sounding words and smashing them together to make technobabble gibberish. When asked if that box could track Secundus, Abraxas deadpans that, "Members of our force were taught to avoid VD". Oh god, Ventura is just a terrible actor and his line-reads are like a wet blanket. Or maybe he's deliberately trying to mimic Arnold's voice patterns from The Terminator? He's not a robot, he's a flesh-and-blood alien, right? Was this scene the first one shot, back when the script called for him to be an actual robot, before screaming-lawyer-induced mid-production re-writes made him a living person? Nothing would surprise me with this movie.
Not sure, but I'm fairly certain that I beat this kid up and stole his lunch money once.
Secundus gets to town first and goes to a garage shop to use the power supply to recharge his weakened Answer Box. While there, he's jumped by a hulking redneck mechanic with a crowbar, who doesn't like Secundus running up his electric bill. Secundus thrashes him with ease and then uses the Kill-All function on his Answer Box to "discorporate" the man (to "deprive of the privileges or form of a body corporate" says my online dictionary), which is accomplished via a badly-rendered fuzzy CGI effect.
Zapping the redneck.
Secundus then goes to the town hall, slaughters three people and uses the computer to look up Sonia's address. Hey, wait, how does he know what Sonia's name is? Sure, way back when, the Firebird guy said her first name, but that 1991 Windows DOS program doesn't seem to have a search function, so how did he figure out her last name was Thomas? And, I'm amused at how super-bad-ass alien killer Secundus hunt-and-pecks on the keyboard like he's my grandma.
Looking up records. Arnold just used the phonebook.
Abraxas interrupts him, dashing through the door in a World Gym t-shirt and khaki trench coat, and demands that he stop whatever it is he's doing. The cops also arrive, guns drawn, and Abraxas tells them he's a "fellow officer in pursuit of this man". Secundus grabs a woman and holds her hostage, threatening to squish her head if they don't step aside. The cops allow Secundus to take their guns and leave the building with the hostage (great job, boys). Secundus then shoots and wounds a few people and acts all scary and stuff. Oddly, he seems very unwilling to kill anyone, which is just weird as before (and after) he shows absolutely no qualms about massacring anyone who even vaguely looks in his direction. Secundus ends the scene by stealing a kid's dirt bike and roars off, after first doing a few neat-o spiffy burn-out X-Games tricks.
Insert Kids in the Hall joke that no one will get...
And now a short interlude as we see Tommy at his school, playing on the slides and jungle-gyms. Being the "different" kid in town, he's an easy target for the mullet-head/NASCAR/pro-wrestling/six-tooth punks, who give him all sorts of hell. But, like Peter Parker after his bite, alien/human hybrid Tommy has a "secret power", that of making mean kids pee in their pants. I know, I typed it. [Editor Pam: You know, when you think about it, this is a very useful power to have, one that will work on anybody who's been decently socialized and isn't insane or of very subnormal intelligence. Plus, if he uses his power long enough, his victim will die of dehydration, even if he can withstand the embarrassment. I'm not sure what the anti-life equation is, but anybody who controls Tommy does indeed have great power. Why, if Tommy had been alive in 1939, World War II might never have happened, although it occurs to me that portions of the Polish border might have been pretty nasty for a while.]
How much is that bully in the window?
We also get some cute family scenes with Sonia and Tommy, and again, the actress really sells the role of loving, doting mother (vastly tougher than you might imagine). That night, Sonia and Tommy go off to a movie while her friend and her son camp out in their house to watch their TV. Thus, it's this other woman/boy team that Secundus finds when he smashes into the house later that night (though we have to wonder why he took so long, he had their address long ago, and he's in a hurry, and he's clearly shown no fear of humans, so where has he been for the last eight hours?). Secundus grabs the boy and tells his Answer Box to run a test on the kid to see if he knows the anti-life equation, which he doesn't (he's not Tommy, though Secundus doesn't know this). [Editor Pam: Isn't that typical of a man, he gets a girl pregnant and can't even remember what she looks like.]
Secundus emotionally scaring a young child. Again.
But before anything icky can happen, Abraxas jumps through the window! Say, what's he been up to? Hours and hours have passed since the fight at the town hall, and Abraxas really should have had the time to find the boy and get him to safety, or at least track down Secundus (the Answer Boxes have that ability), but he seems to have disappeared for a long while there. Perhaps he was watching the Sabers game. There's a big fight with lots of punching and poking and hurting, and Secundus stabs Abraxas in the stomach with a broken-off torch lamp to end it. As Abraxas stands there in agony (soooo...his skull is made of steel but his body isn't?), Secundus laughs at him and tells him that soon all he knows will be destroyed and he wants to keep him alive so that he can see Vulcan be destroyed, just as he was forced to see his own home planet destroyed by the blackhole. Wait, wrong movie.
Yeah, so, maybe not exactly a life-threatening wound, ok.
Sonia comes home to find Abraxas still there, badly wounded. She instantly recognizes him from that snowy night five years ago and right off the bat starts hounding him about all the trouble he and his alien friend have caused her. She gets all up in him about how hard it's been raising a kid alone, trying to make ends meet, keeping her hair straight in the humid summers. "Do you know how much a two bedroom house costs?" she barks at him (as he stands there bleeding, the dumbfounded look on his face slowly being replaced with one of abject resignation as he realizes now that he should have just shot her back the first time they met so he wouldn't have to hear her nagging all day at him).
Sonia takes Tommy and Abraxas up to her organic Grower's house (pot!) to hide out. They talk in the car about mating partners and stuff, and it seems that Abraxas is taking an interest in Sonia's dating history. Ventura is back to channeling Arnold/T-100 here, over-enunciating every word in a monotone voice, trying to keep his head and limbs as stiff and robot-like as possible. I checked a youtube clip of him as governor speaking, and he can energize a crowd if he has the right material, so I have to assume that he's deliberately tanking his performance in this movie, perhaps trying to ruin the reputation of the director for some unknown offense (successfully, I might add). The mute kid is a better actor. That wallpaper is a better actor.
At the house, Abraxas lies down to rest and recover. A naked-under-the-covers Abraxas then invites Tommy to come sit by him in bed and talk. Uh. I have my phone out and 9-1- dialed. Sonia comes in to send Tommy to bed/therapy and she and Abraxas talk some more about marriage and mating and stuff. He says Finders can't marry by law and Sonia should drink more water (whaa...?). Again, and I hate to hammer a future head of state like this, but Ventura seems to be totally...fuzzy-minded in these scenes. And not fuzzy-minded as in blinding-hangover-from-the-night-before kind of fuzzy-minded, but more like recently-kicked-in-the-head-by-a-rhinoceros kind of fuzzy-minded. Did he really collect paychecks for this?
If only Norm Coleman had seen this in 1998, imagine the late-campaign attack-add possibilities.
Meanwhile, Secundus is just out wandering around the county, roughing up innocent citizens and stealing cars, just like some punk highschool dropout kid in a leather jacket, except that Secundus is an omnipotent alien power-monger with the strength of an elephant and a skull made of steel. Secundus seems oddly confused here, he's clearly looking for Sonia, but instead he ends up at a "gentleman's club" where a meaty-thighed exotic dancer gyrates around for a bare half-dozen patrons (the whole bar set seems to be the corner of a garage with some folding chairs set up and some mood lights). Secundus gets into a fight with the two bouncers (who outnumber the actual paying customers) and gets up on stage to check out the terrified dancer (who he determines is oh-so not Sonia) before he leaves. Earlier we saw him take a picture of Sonia and Tommy from their house, so he knows what she looks like, so I guess he's just meandering around Upstate New York examining any girl he comes across. He's a hundred-centuries old alien, for god's sake, there has to be a more tech-savvy way to do this.
Bow-legged dancer, and is that a snack machine there, in an exotic dance club? Small towns rock!
The cops later say he's killed three and stolen two cars so far (suggesting that they don't know about the zapped mechanic and that motorcycles don't count). They also say they got the situation under control, so there's no need to, oh I don't know, bring in some reinforcements/State Police/FBI/the Boy Scouts/anyone, because, you know, they got it and all. JohnnyCop is such a dweeb, by the way. In one of the more amusing bits, he says that he found a blood smear on the wall of Sonia's house, and that he's going to courier this blood sample down to "the city", and "they'll have an answer faxed back in one hour". Ha! One of my pet-peeves in movies is how fast criminal (or medical) labs supposedly work, in reality that blood test would take three weeks at least. But, it's a movie, and in no time the tests come back jumbled, the blood is not human, "the chemical composition is like nothing the big city boys have ever seen", laments JohnnyCop, who is sure that they are dealing with aliens. His skeptical partner plays Scully to his Mulder and then suggests that they go get some donuts. [Editor Pam: As I suppose the big city boys did, too. It seems to me that somebody ought to be getting excited about finding a new kind of blood.]
Back at the house, Abraxas' Answer Box is pissed that he's yet to kill the child/mom, but he keeps turning it off. Through the box his superiors say they'd send another Finder to do the job right, but they are still having warp tunnel trouble in that area (imagine the odds!). In a peculiar bit, Abraxas tongue-lashes his Answer Box like it's his paint chip-eating second cousin, repeating over and over, "You will speak when spoken to!"
Abraxas talks dirty to his Answer Box.
And you knew this was going to happen, a shower scene with Sonia, where we are blessed to see the tops of her gloriously bouncy boobs for a few seconds before a killjoy towel gets in the way. Abraxas walks in and accidentally sees her nekkid (which has happened in every sitcom ever made) and you can tell there is some chemistry brewing between these two (kill me). She brings him a clean shirt, he wisely says nothing about her boobs, and she sits down next to him as the soundtrack turns all sappy with a piano solo. Abraxas explains why he didn't kill her back then, and she's grateful for his kindness. Goodness, his chin dimple is as deep as a well! Be careful, Sonia, my b-movie experience tells me that you should never fall in love with an alien, it's always a bad idea (Starman notwithstanding). [Editor Pam: It's the culture clash that does it. He takes her to Aldebaran IV and gets cranky when she can't learn how to operate the zorchtron, she gets defensive, and it's nothing but fighting from then on...]
Sonia, formerly of the shower stall.
We get some buddy-cop scenes with Thornbury's policemen here, just to lighten the mood up a bit and also to remind us how good the first Lethal Weapon was. It's the holiday season, but JohnnyCop says he's just going to stay home and "clean his guns" but his partner wants him to come to his house for dinner with the missus. The cops stop by the Grower's house to talk with Sonia (how did they know she was here?) as they think she's protecting something or someone. JohnnyCop is a bit too Mr. Police Procedure here and it's quite clear that Sonia isn't going to give him any lovin' now. The cops eventually leave, not any closer to figuring out who's behind the crime spree in town. Hey, maybe they should call in the State Police? Did they have telephones in 1991? I can't remember.
The cops talk with Sonia and the Grower (hope he hid his stash).
Sonia wants to flee, but Abraxas wants to stay and stand his ground. "I'll take care of it" he says and he means it. Sonia's emotions get the better of her and she leans in for a kiss. "That was...pleasant", is all Abraxas can say as his Answer Box gives stats of the biology of a kiss in a slightly funny moment. They then do some more snogging, maybe they'll do the humpty-hump dance and make John Conner, so he can go back in time and kill himself. It's downright painful to watch Ventura try and emote, and borderline creepy to watch him slobbering on a pretty girl. Hey, remember Ventura in Predator, with his Tom Selleck mustache and his gatling gun? Let's go rent that tonight!
"Yes, I know, it's huge, but with enough lube, I think it will fit."
They discover then that Tommy has run away! Abraxas wails that if Tommy wanders too far off "my Answer Box can't cloak him!" Holy handgrenades, what was that again? Is this the first time this was mentioned? I might have blacked out. Ah, so that's why Secundus has just been wandering aimlessly around New York.
Reading Tommy's note, in which he also expresses his love for Abraxas, which is just uncomfortable for me.
To a local greasy spoon diner now, as Secundus is just here hanging out, loitering, really. He's checking out the waitresses and any female customers that come in, still trying to eye-ball Sonia (which, again, seems a pretty low-tech way of handling things). In a comic bit, he says he's hungry and orders half the breakfast menu, and when the bill comes he eats that also! "Merry present" he says to the shocked waitress as he walks out (the only single time I laughed the entire movie, if that tells you anything).
At the diner (wow, food was cheap in 1991).
On the lazy streets of Thornbury, the cops happen to see Secundus walk out of the diner. They jump out to attempt to apprehend him, but Secundus starts advancing on them. JohnnyCop then tosses his revolver to the sidewalk (!) and pulls an Uzi submachinegun out from under his coat (!), which he must have been hiding in his boxers the entire time they were driving around because it wasn't under his coat when he jumped out of the car a second ago. Showing a total lack of public safety in protecting innocent civilians in a crossfire, JohnnyCop just holds the trigger down, raking Secundus with bullets as he stands there on a street crowded with holiday shoppers (oh, he's so going to get suspended for that).
Hair flying, mouth agape, casings spinning, this is this poor actor's one chance at action-movie glory and he's going to jump into it full force.
Secundus falls down into the snow, wounds sparking, but he's not dead and in a jiffy has disarmed JohnnyCop and tossed him at a truck. Though, if I think about it, Secundus should be at least mortally wounded, right? He's the same race as Abraxas, and Abraxas has spent half the movie recovering from a lamp stuck five inches into his tummy, so surely a dozen .45 caliber slugs in the chest should have some effect on Secundus. Sure, he has his Answer Box to help him heal, but that's just taking it too far. Clearly, this scene was written (or even filmed) back before re-writes when both Abraxas and Secundus were supposed to be iron-jacketed robots. Anyway, Secundus picks up the Uzi and starts shooting at random (nice bottomless magazine) as bystanders run for cover. A few bullets hit an old Buick, which explodes from end to end in one of those typical rolling gas-fueled fireballs that all cars in action movies are prone to have. "Interesting but not effective", Secundus says of the gun before dropping it in the snow and stealing the cop car.
Must have been transporting barrels of nitroglycerine.
Secundus goes to the local elementary school, having run out of ideas to find Tommy. He walks into a random classroom and kicks out the Ben & Jerry's teacher after telling him to "Bring me the Comater or I'll kill these kids one at a time!" He then pats one boy on the head in a cute bit. Is it odd that this killer from outer space has such an obvious and pronounced Scandinavian accent?
He's not a people-person.
Sonia, the Grower, and Abraxas find Tommy hiding in a barn (very quickly, must be that Answer Box, eh?) and talk him down. Sonia and the Grower drive back in one car as Abraxas and Tommy take another, so they have a chance to talk. Abraxas tries to relate to Tommy, saying that they both have birthdays coming up next week (though Tommy's going to be six and Abraxas 11,862) and admitting that he's an alien with special powers. Abraxas says he thinks he won't speak because he's "afraid of what you have inside you". His attempts at sympathy and emotion are dulled by the fact that his face knows only two states, angry and asleep. Do you know he was responsible for a $30-40 billion dollar budget in Minnesota every year from 1998 to 2003? If you are living in Minnesota, and are reading this, and you voted for Ventura in 1998, what the heck was wrong with you?
Talking it out.
They get to Thornbury (I thought they were out of town, did Tommy run all the way to the other side of town, that they have to drive back through to get to the Grower's house?) and come across the aftermath of the Uzi/exploding car disaster on Main Street. Abraxas tells the flustered cops, "I know where the perpetrator is!" and they all jump in Sonia's station wagon and burn rubber for the school. This would be a golden opportunity for the cops to call in the National Guard or Batman or someone, things are really, really out-of-hand in Thornbury.
Lots of Ontario license plates in this New York town...
To the school now as mad-as-a-hatter Secundus is tossing chairs through window, menacing small children, and grinning devilishly as he trades barbs with the helpless (and hapless) cops. Showing more guts than sense, Tommy breaks ranks and runs into the school. His mom tries to chase after him but JohnnyCop tackles her! What the hell?!? What sort of bastard would prevent a mother from trying to rescue her child? He's so not getting a Christmas card now. But then JohnnyCop lets Sonia go in anyway, and alone, so why tackle her the first time? Maybe he just wanted to touch her boob as he knocked her down (pssht, men...).
Nice form on the open-field tackle, but maybe a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty flag for the blatant boob-grab at the end.
Secundus tells Tommy that, "You were born for this moment, you are my creation, my son." You know, it's never really said exactly what this dreaded anti-life equation will actually do. I'm curious, is it something mathematical, some formula that causes life to end/run backwards/melt? Is it just some long string of numbers and letters so astoundingly boring that it causes people's heads to explode from sheer boredom? Who knows. Abraxas jumps in now and smacks Secundus with a fire extinguisher, but is beat down with a radiator block (hard life). Back at headquarters, his superiors detect that Tommy is approaching critical mass as his Comater powers are triggered inside him. His Answer Box is deeply worried.
Abraxas takes a little nappy, it's been a long day for him.
Tommy runs out the back door, followed by Secundus (while the entire town, fire department, and the cops all stand around the front door), who steals a car and chases down the kid in the parking lot. He drives to what can only be an abandoned warehouse (in that dinky little town, seriously?) and locks him in with him. Secundus then starts to antagonize the boy, threatening him and generally being a big mean scary man, all to "draw out" the anti-life equation from Tommy's brain (it was said earlier that the way to bring out the equation is to overload the kid's mind with fear and confusion). The boy's powers start to manifest themselves now, and he begins to spontaneously combust things at random (chairs, fuse boxes, oddly-placed piles of rubbish, conveniently-stacked oil drums, that sort of thing) while a driving Journey-esque song thunders on the sound track. All very dramatic, yes, especially the nice tracking shots of Secundus strolling through all the flaming and the exploding and the sparking, but my mind, being what it is, is more concerned with the graffiti spray-painted on the walls of this abandoned building. "Def Leopard"? "Rock Steady"? "Anarchy"? A peace sign? Man, punk kids in the 90s were so lame, can you imagine anyone today actually tagging a wall with "Rock Steady"?
Exploding stuff (that child actor seems a bit too close to all that fire, hope his parents signed that liability waiver).
Anyway, Abraxas finally shows up after yet another long, unexplained absence (he was maybe 45 seconds behind Secundus when they left the school, but apparently he decided to stop off at Burger King to get some chicken fries). They square off and start fighting, though Secundus knows he can't lose as "no Finder, past or present, can be executed". This is a slow-motion fight, and with each punch something explodes in the background in a shower of flames and sparks. Eventually, Secundus escapes and Abraxas is left hanging out a window.
Tommy walks up to Abraxas and points his finger at him, and for a second it looks like he's going to blast the guy to shreds (though before he didn't need to actually point an appendage to cause the desired effect, it was all transmitted by brain-waves). Sonia arrives just in time to calm Tommy down, and after some kisses for the both of them, they leave the burning building. Oddly, Abraxas decides to carry Tommy, even though he seems perfectly capable of walking himself. But the Terminator is not dead ye...I mean, Secundus is not dead yet and jumps out one last time to fight Abraxas for control of the child. This is another slow-mo fight where we can see spittle flying and jowls quivering with every punch. Abraxas gets the upper hand and is near killing him when his annoying Answer Box calls him off (he isn't allowed to kill a Finder for any reason, remember?). But Abraxas has had enough of rules and regulations and he's had more than enough of Secundus and his flannel shirt and Wolverine workboots and he goes ahead and discorporates Secundus anyway. For some reason, Secundus explodes in the lamest optical effect ever put to film, a popping firecracker of an eruption that surely consumed the last five dollars of the budget.
The fire department shows up (lots of engines for such a small town) and the two cops approach. Abraxas' Answer Box tells him he is being ordered back to HQ, but Abraxas wants to stay on Earth and protect the Comater from any future trouble (and bang Sonia, a lot). "To refuse a transfer order means to forfeit your Findership", says his superiors, but they know now that Abraxas means to stay with his new family and they agree to let him go (and he can keep his Answer Box, how generous).
The cops are all smiling and happy now (despite the multiple homicides in their town) and one quips to Abraxas, "How am I going to write this report?", who replies with a half-smirk, "Just scale it down to acceptable proportions." They then all share a hearty laugh as the credits roll. Sweet Jesus, did they just set this up for a sequel? Was Abraxas II: Guardian of New York a real possibility, and not just a fever-dream of some freakishly out-of-touch movie executive? Oh the horror. I assume that the sequel (or, shudder, a TV series) would focus on Abraxas and his new cop buddies fighting crime and protecting Earth from nasty alien invasions, all the while tossing off quippy one-liners and getting into high-larious escapades where Abraxas' lack of human cultural awareness would result in him being slapped by nuns and such. It's tempting for me, as a b-movie reviewer, to cite the 1989 television series Alien Nation for its trendy cult appeal and realistic portrayal of human/alien law enforcement cooperation. But, let's be honest, none of you actually watched Alien Nation when it was on, and it was only on for one 22-episode season anyway. This is also my problem with such "cult classics" as Gilligan's Island and the original Battlestar Galactica, they were each only on for one year before being cancelled, and I would hazard to guess that most people have seen/can remember just a handful of episodes at best. The knowledge we all seem to have of Matthew Sikes and Thurston Howell and Starbuck are just collective cultural highlights, famous quotes, disconnected clips, and yellowed posters on our walls, but it's rarely based on any real first-hand knowledge of these shows. Just my opinion. Go google "Chris Komater" again.
That's just pure money, right there.
Written in August 2009 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda.
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that's between you and the vengeful wrath of your personal god...