Tuesday, May 17, 2005

LADY TERMINATOR

From the Far East, we have LADY TERMINATOR (1988, PEMBALASAN RATU PANTAI SELATAN), a deliriously enjoyable exploitation classic from Indonesian director H. Tjut Djalil, here credited under the slightly more "American" moniker of "Jalil Jackson."

Shot in Jakarta, in English, with a primarily Western cast, LADY TERMINATOR takes an ancient Indonesian legend about a sexually rapacious Asian goddess, "The South Seas Witch," and grafts it onto an almost-note-for-note, scene-for-scene, utterly shameless rip-off of James Cameron's original TERMINATOR.

An attractive American archeology student with big Eighties hair (brunette babe Barbara Anne Constable), goes skin diving among the ruins of the South Seas Witch's underwater castle, where she is possessed (by means of some very, very naughty eels) by the Witch's vengeful spirit. She emerges from the sea naked, and sets out on a rampage of sex and slaughter. As the poster copy so concisely puts it: "She mates… then she terminates."

It turns out the South Seas Witch has a grudge against a local pop star, and sends our leather-loving Lady T to eliminate the dark-haired diva… but not until after we've endured an MTV-by-way-of-Indonesia music video, and discovered that bad hair and fashions were just as prevalent in Jakarta in '87 as they were here in the States). Fortunately, just as the relentless terminatrix is about to pop a cap in her target's ass at a nightclub, a beach-blond good guy cop turns up to take the singer under his protection, even uttering the famous "Come with me if you want to live," line.

The highlight of the film – very much like in Cameron's original – is a gleefully violent assault on a police station, with Lady T wielding a miraculous AK-47 that never runs out of ammo. But, really, there's just so much in this film to love: over-the top car chases, extraordinarily banal dialogue, gratuitous gore, gratuitous nudity, exploding helicopters, self-administered ocular surgery, a cop with a huge mullet, last reel laser-firing eyeballs, and the ever-popular multiple castrations by vaginal eel.

Yeah, you read that right. But, please, just to be sure no one missed it, allow me to repeat myself: multiple castrations by vaginal eel.

God, I love this movie.

This sparkling nugget of B-movie gold comes to us through the generosity of those maniacs at Mondo Macabro, who lovingly provide LADY TERMINATOR with a gorgeous, all-new anamorphic widescreen transfer, a fascinating documentary on Indonesian exploitation cinema, production notes, filmographies, alternate scenes, a theatrical trailer, and previews of other MM releases. It's a great disc, and an essential addition to any self-respecting exploitation movie fan's library.

BUY: Lady Terminator