So, I thought Mandroid would be more of a horror movie than it really is, so this one isn’t really tonally appropriate for this column but it’s too late to watch something else. So hey, Mandroid everybody!
This absurdly convoluted plot concerns two Romanian scientists who have built an indestructible virtual reality droid for the purpose of harvesting a special chemical compound from a crystal contained within a mushroom, that same compound powers the robot so where they got it in the first place is as mysterious as how somebody opened the first package of scissors. The good scientist, Dr. Zimmer (Robert Symonds), wants to sell the robot to the Americans, the bad scientist who is actually named Dr. Ivan Drago (Curt Lowens) wants to do… something with it; he’s evil, okay?
So an American scientist, Dr. Wade Franklin (Brian Cousins), shows up with a CIA liason, Agent Joe Pryce (Patrick Ersgard), to buy the mandroid. Dr. Drago stages an attack and pushes the Zimmer’s lab assistant Benjamin Knight into a freezer containing the compound, which causes him to slowly turn invisible. That’s not important, we’re not going to talk about that anymore. In the process Dr. Drago gets the compound all over in his face and becomes horribly disfigured and starts hanging out with a mute who he commissions to make him a metal mask.
So our unwieldy cast of characters, including Zimmer’s daughter Zanna (Jane Caldwell), go about their business as usual until Drago shows up again and steals the mandroid. He then kidnaps Pryce, kills Zimmer, cripples Franklin, and is narrowly defeated as he runs off into the shadows. The first act is finally finished, and so is the movie, tune in for Invisible: The Chronicles of Benjamin Knight folks!
Mandroid is all set-up and no payoff, and yes maybe there is a sequel that delivers said payoff but I shouldn’t have to watch an entire other movie to make watching this movie worthwhile. The Fellowship of the Rings may be a 3 hour intro, but it is a movie in its own regard, there’s more happening than pieces falling into place for the actual story. There’s no reason it should take an hour and 20 minutes to tell this story either, as Mandroid has pacing issues out the ass.
Apparently this was originally supposed to be an Empire film and Jack Kirby was involved at one point, I don’t know that the plot would’ve been any simpler but it might’ve at least been complete. There are some good ideas at play and I’m interested but I’m more pissed that I watched a movie with no second act. I imposed a no sequels rule for this column (though I will break it one time) so I don’t think I’ll watch Invisible unless you guys really really want to know how it is. If you do then I’ll fit it in the slot I have reserved for Delta Delta Die as it’s the only movie I have left that I’m on the fence on watching.
Watch, Toss, Or Buy? Ain’t nobody go time for an extended prologue movie, toss it.
If You Liked This, Watch: Darkman (1990), Robocop (1987), The Shadow (1994), The Toxic Avenger (1984), Eliminators (1986), The Rocketeer (1991), Dollman (1991), The Phantom (1996)