The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Eve of Destruction

When it was released in 1991, Eve of Destruction seemed like an odd picture. An uber-violent sci-fi thriller with a sexual twist, the film boasted an unlikely and undeniably miscast star. I'm talking about Gregory Hines. Perhaps not surprisingly, box office receipts were not good, as it earned only a little over $5 million. Reviews were just as harsh; Eve of Destruction still maintains a 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For whatever flaws it contains, the film now seems like an intriguingly eccentric little genre effort that marches to the beat of its own weird drummer. The movie has been given the Blu-Ray treatment by Scream Factory. While it lacks the extras that typically make their releases notable, the visual/aural quality of the transfer, combined with the unusual nature of the material, makes this a disc you might want to look into.

Dutch actress Renee Soutendijk plays Dr. Eve Simmons, a scientist who has created a military robot fashioned after herself. (How's that for an ego trip?) When the robot, known as Eve VIII, gets damaged, it goes haywire and threatens to create a nuclear catastrophe. Colonel Jim McQuade (Hines) is brought in to track the thing down. Eve proves difficult to stop, though. It possesses the troubling memories of its creator, and is designed to terminate anyone who attempts to halt its mission. Thankfully, Dr. Simmons is on hand to assist.

Eve of Destruction finds the robot acting out one of its maker's dark sexual fantasies, pushes the world to the brink of destruction, and has a whole explanation for why McQuade has to shoot Eve in the eye to make her stop. Several bloody action scenes take place along the way, the most outrageous of them being set in the tunnels of a subway system. Through it all, you get the late Gregory Hines usually a paragon of joy on screen trying valiantly to be a badass action hero, a la Schwarzenegger. None of it really works, and yet there's something strangely absorbing about Eve of Destruction. Many early '90s action pictures were pretty generic. This one, in which a woman hunts down a synthetic version of herself, is anything but generic.

I've long been a believer that our response to genre pictures tends to loosen up over time. They eventually take on a nostalgic quality that makes us forgive their faults a little more. In 1991, Eve of Destruction looked like one of the year's worst films. Now it seems like an amusing time capsule of sci-fi filmmaking from a different era. Scream Factory has nicely transferred the movie to Blu-Ray, and the sound mix is especially good. How cool that a quirky, goofy little picture should get such love.

Eve of Destruction is rated R for strong violence and language. The running time is 1 hour and 39 minutes.

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