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Film Review: Lady Terminator (1989)

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SYNOPSIS:

The spirit of an ancient evil queen posesses the body of a young anthropological student, who then goes on a murderous rampage.

REVIEW:

I just realized that I owe kind of an apology to some of the other movies I’ve reviewed, like Star Crash and Message from Space. I had called those movies ripoffs, and they were, but they were nowhere near as blatant as they could have been. After watching Lady Terminator, I realized that despite how much the others aped Star Wars, those flicks were nowhere near as shameless and flagrant about it like this one is about stealing from The Terminator. I feel almost bad for making fun of the other flicks for their own lack of originality.

Almost.

Lady Terminator begins over a hundred years ago with the sex goddess called the Queen of the South Seas. She has a penis eating snake that dwells in her vagina (I’m not making this up, I swear) that she uses to kill her male lovers while having sex. One of her intended victims, however, manages to grab the snake at the right moment and take it out of the Queen. As a result, the serpent turns into a dagger and the Queen swears vengeance upon his family line in a hundred years. Cut to the late 1980s an anthropologist named Tania is deep sea diving in an attempt to uncover the ruins of the ruins of the Queen. While underwater, she finds herself mysteriously strapped to a bed. A snake is then crawls inside of her through her nether regions and she is possessed by the spirit of the ancient goddess. Tania then becomes an unstoppable killing machine intent on killing Erika, an up and coming pop artist who happens to be the great-granddaughter of the man who had defeated the Queen so long ago.

When I mentioned what a flagrant rip off this flick was. I’m not just saying it borrowed from The Terminator but outright stole from it. The Tech Noir massacre, the terminator’s iconic rampage at the police station, the scene where he removes his prosthetic eye, all of those scenes are recreated nearly shot for shot. The difference being with crappier direction, poorer stunt work, worse acting, and special effects that look like they spent a maximum of $100 on them. I actually was surprised at the audacity of the filmmakers to not only be so blatant about plagiarizing The Terminator, and I was even more amazed that they got away with it. I didn’t know if I should be impressed that they had the cajones or just be ticked off.

Lady Terminator manages to make a lot less sense than the time travel hijinks of James Cameron’s classic movie. It starts with the very event that acts as the main catalyst for what transpires in the Queen of the Seas palace, mainly because a lot of questions are raised that never get answered. For instance, why does she promise to wreak vengeance on someone’s great-granddaughter? The guy is right in front of her, and we see her practically throw him across the room. She obviously has the power to crush him like a bug. If she’s able to put a serpent inside of Tania a hundred years later, then why was the loss of the one from the first scenes of the movie so important? If the intention was that the Queen was so humiliated by having a man take one of her snakes, the film does a poor job of explaining it or anything else. (Like, why does Tania suddenly start shooting lasers from her eyes during the film’s climax when she never showed that power beforehand?)

That’s not the end of the flaws either because the script was atrocious. This was an Indonesian flick, so I’m assuming English was a second language for the writers. It’s the only explanation for how clunky the dialogue was when it wasn’t outright stealing lines from The Terminator. Even the best of actors would have had trouble delivering most of the lines, so having performers that have that show the same emotional range of ventriloquist dummies makes it even more awkward.

For a movie that wants to be the Terminator so bad, it misses the fact that the original film actually took the time to develop the two main characters of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese and show us how the two fall in love despite the extreme conditions they’re in. We believe their relationship because we see it evolve. Lady Terminator, on the other hand, doesn’t bother with doing any kind of character development, so when the two main leads have a love scene, it doesn’t feel like something earned. Neither of the actors has an ounce of chemistry with each other, so nothing about the scene is believable. You aren’t given any reasons to care about either character since they’re barely two dimensional. The rest of the characters we meet have even less depth and rarely react to situations in a believable manner.

The only thing that movie has going for it is that it’s never boring. It’s violent, has gratuitous nudity from Barbara Anne Constable, and is unintentionally funny. While I did find this mess enjoyable, the very few positives don’t outweigh the negatives enough recommend this flick for anyone who isn’t fond of watching cheesy cinema.

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