Eve of Destruction (1991) — A nuclear fembot goes clubbing

“Well this is quite some toy you have yourselves here gentlemen. I suppose you want me to put it back in its box.”

Justin’s rating: Are you telling me that this sucker is nuclear!?!

Justin’s review: While The Terminator was certainly rough around its edges, it’s a great example of how a director can take a generic and kind of cheesy story and turn it into a bona fide masterpiece. By comparison, Eve of Destruction shows how an unstoppable killbot can be klunky and boring (but still, on occasion, darkly entertaining).

When watching this film, I found it hard to believe that this came out just a year before Terminator 2 due to, how shall I put this? How “mid-1980s made-for-television” this looked and was acted, aside from some NSFW elements.

It also has a terrible opening. For the first 15 minutes or so, the audience is largely left in the dark as to what’s going on as a series of scenes play out. It’s only at a military briefing — code named: Operation Info Dump — are we explicitly told that the military’s been working on a robotics program for years that’s finally resulted in a lifelike android that looks and acts as a person for, I don’t know, infiltration purposes. One day, the military sends an escorted model, Eve 8, on a field trip into the city when she gets caught up in a bank robbery. When her handler gets killed and she gets shot in the “oh no you DIDN’T!” organ, Eve 8 flips out and goes rogue.

Because Eve 8 (a) is nearly unstoppable, (b) has no “off” switch that can be activated remotely, and (c) also happens to be a walking nuclear bomb with a one-day countdown, the military is like, “Gee, we’re in a pickle! Well, it’s time to call in backup!” And backup comes — of course — in the form of tap dancing legend Gregory Hines (who plays Colonel McQuade). I don’t know what kind of counter-robotic special forces officer you were thinking of, but Gregory Hines’ likable face and Lando Calrissian-worthy mustache was not what I expected.

McQuad teams up with Dr. Eve Simmons (Renée Soutendijk), who not only made Eve 8 to look like herself in an act that was definitely not egotistical, but also programmed her own life experiences into the fembot. FOR SOME REASON. This is all a highly convoluted way of explaining why Eve 8 suddenly starts dressing up in leather and picking up rednecks for cheap, meaningless trysts. And I guess Simmons had a problem with being put down, because Eve 8 goes murderbot on anyone who calls her the “b” word. Eve 8 also has an adorable uzi that has seemingly unlimited ammunition, because she uses it for most of the film to mow down law enforcement and innocents.

It’s hard to tell if Eve of Destruction is settling for a Saturday afternoon matinee act of revenge fantasy or reaching for commentary on female empowerment. Considering the abysmal soundtrack, the extensive pauses for inexpensive talky scenes, and the wildly uneven acting, I’m leaning toward the former. It’s someone who said “Could we do Terminator but with a girl? And can she wear leather and be promiscuous?” — and it’s a film studio that reached across the table and said, “Here’s your check. Make it happen.”

Didja notice?

  • That’s a whole lot of “thank yous” in the first minute
  • We can teach a robot to tie a tie!
  • This theme song is brought to you by corporate training video soundtracks
  • Have you taken your terminator to a bank robbery lately?
  • “Hey guys, can we hire a kid to say the word ‘vagina?’ We can? Good.”
  • That’s a pretty disturbing android autopsy
  • Nothing like an extended meeting scene to keep the pace rolling
  • Robot self-surgery
  • Oh yeah, we made it nuclear, just in case it wasn’t dangerous enough
  • A loud helicopter ride is a perfect time to have a long philosophical and expositional discussion
  • The redneck’s friends listening outside the door…?
  • Lot of doors in this place made out of flimsy plywood, I see
  • She looked back at the explosion! You’re not that cool, robot.
  • Xtreme tailgaiting!
  • Whole lotta finger pointing in this movie
  • Flying cross-country in a Blackbird is the only way to travel
  • The biggest pair of binoculars ever
  • Laser pointers on guns let you know you’re in the late-80s, early-90s
  • That’s the worst dubbed child’s crying I’ve ever heard

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