Just like Leopardo’s frequent International Retro Review submissions are nearly exhausting my supply of Dutch jokes, the Retro Review machine from the land down under is making me get to the end of my Aussie jokes. Frankly I only have mullets, Utes, something about Kylie Minogue’s bottom, and deliberately confusing him for a Kiwi left to go and then I am all out. So let’s not waste limited resources here and just get on with the latest Retro Review from Wrenage – Eve Of Destruction.

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Eve of Destruction (1991) answers the age-old question: can a movie be noteworthy for the level of blandness it achieves? Yes! How bland is Eve of Destruction? It is as bland as two pieces of white bread with a pat of margarine slathered between and served on a paper plate to Anthony Mackie.

The plot of Eve of Destruction is suitably pulpy. A humanoid android built by the military completes a series of successful missions. Everyone is appreciative of the new technology, and no one raises any questions about what it means to be truly human.

Just kidding. Of course, Eve of Destruction does the opposite of all of that. It’s a robot-amok movie that does basic robot-amok stuff with all the enthusiasm of a bikini model at a Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con responding to geek flirtation for minimum wage.

Geek: “Your eyes are as blue as Luke’s lightsaber…”

Bikini Model: “Sign says stay back ten feet.”

Geek: “Why ten feet?”

Bikini Model: “It’s the event horizon of your body odor.”

Eve of Destruction stars Gregory Hines. I don’t think anyone here has a bad word to say about Hines. How could anyone badmouth someone who looks like Jiminy Cricket anyway? Nevertheless, if I put up $13 million for a robot-amok movie and word came back that Hines was my leading man, I would have reservations. I also wouldn’t cast Hines as a bad-ass special ops soldier unless he was infiltrating a clandestine cadre of terrorists with an affinity for tap dancing.

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Get wardrobe in the office, as well. Sure, it’s 1991, but Hines still dresses like a 56-year-old man would dress when he tells a 13-year-old girl he met on the internet that he is only 48-years-old and would like to come over when her parents aren’t home.

If that seems oddly specific, it’s because I’ve been watching a lot of To Catch A Predator lately. Something fascinating exists about witnessing men realizing they ruined their lives and the lives of their families with a single terrible decision that happens every day in Hollywood. (See Timmons, Ernst).

The android is played by Renee Soutendijk, a Dutch sex symbol of the 1980s, who also appeared in a couple of early Verhoeven movies (Spetters and The Fourth Man).

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More recently, she was in the Suspira remake. Soutendijk plays a dual role in Eve of Destruction. In addition to the amok android, she plays its creator: Scientist Woman. This is where the movie goes off the rails into blandness.

Eve of Destruction makes a flaccid attempt at being something more. Instead of the robot simply running amok, it embarks on a journey comprised of the repressed emotions of its creator. This could be interesting in the hands of a master science-fiction writer. Eve of Destruction does not have a master science-fiction writer. The journey basically consists of the robot performing castrata dentata on a redneck, running a jerk off the road, grabbing her creator’s son and walking briskly while occasionally shooting a mini-Uzi at stuff.

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The robots in other robot-amok movie had goals. The Terminator wanted to kill Sarah Connor. The replicants wanted more life. Yul Brenner wanted to kill Richard Benjamin because he was a twerp. Eve has no goal, ergo, the movie has nowhere to go. It makes a half-hearted attempt at having a ticking clock trope, but even then the most interesting thing about that is that it simply predates HE HAS A BOMB IN HIS RIBCAGE by a decade.

Eve of Destruction starts off as something that could possibly be trashy fun, like I Come In Peace, but it is dead on arrival by the end of its first act. Yet, somehow it cost $13 million. The IRS should really go back and look at this film. There may have been embezzlement happening.

Also, Soutendijk doesn’t look the part of an amok robot. I’m going for a deep cut here, but that’s the beauty of this place. You guys will get it because we all have a love of movies and their trivial details that borders on disease. But that is okay, because even talking about a turkey like Eve of Destruction can put a shine on our day. Soutendijk looks like she sprung from the pages of Helen Slater’s fashion designs that she bonded with Bette Midler over in Ruthless People.

Let’s talk Terminator 3 for a moment. I’m fairly forgiving of it. Stahl and Danes were good; the car chase was great; it moves fairly well; but Kristanna Loken was the key. She was a decent Terminatrix. She melded bombshell and butch and was a believable foil for Arnold.

Soutendijk, unfortunately, has none of that. The rest of the cast doesn’t carry the day either. Eve of Destruction only has two other characters worth mentioning. Kurt Fuller shows up as a government bean counter and injects the movie with its one moment of wit. As Eve is on the verge of detonating within New York City, Fuller calls his higher-ups and talks about establishing “plausible deniability.” Perhaps, “they can blame the Iranians…”

The other actor worth mentioning is Kevin McCarthy. He shows up for .0025 seconds to have his neck broken by Eve. McCarthy was her creator’s father or something. I could look it up, or maybe go back and investigate, but I have a butter sandwich calling my name when I finish this review.

Nothing much else about Eve of Destruction pops. Essentially, it’s a feature-length episode of the 1990s Outer Limits revival without a pithy denouement. This is also odd considering that its production designer was the great Peter Lamont. Lamont has done numerous Bond movies, Titanic and more.

Again, the subject of embezzlement comes up.

Only two moments in Eve of Destruction brushed up against well-designed. A couple of brief shots of Eve without her skin are shown, and they are well done. Later on, Eve is in a car crash, and it looks like they built a rig to make the car “squeeze” around her. It is shown so quickly, however, that you don’t get a chance to fully appreciate it.

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We could also mention Hines’s weapon of choice. He carries a 1911 with a slide roughly 36 inches long and a laser sight roughly the size of a Toshiba double-decker tape deck. It might have been cool in 1984 but not 1991. In fact, it maybe came from 1984. Maybe it was a leftover prop from Tom Selleck’s Runaway. Shout out to Cynthia Rhodes. She would have made a better Eve. If they remade Eve of Destruction today, perhaps Margot Robbie could do it. She looks like she was built in a factory. Her features are almost too perfect.

I always believed Eve of Destruction was a made-for-TV movie. I saw it on one of the major networks in the early 1990s. It did have a box office release, however. It made about $5 million.

SHE HAS A BOX OFFICE BOMB IN HER RIBCAGE!

Supposedly, some optimism existed that such a movie would make decent bank because of the building hype for Terminator 2, which came out shortly after. I don’t understand that logic. If I know I have a steak in my future, I’m not going to Burger King a couple hours before it arrives.

Eve of Destruction was directed by Duncan Gibbons. He was a British filmmaker who started out in music videos. He even got to work with WHAM!, so he was in the big leagues. Gibbons only has a couple of movies to his credit, however. He died young.

Gibbons escaped his home as it burned from a wildfire, but he decided to go back in and rescue his cat. The attempted rescue resulted in severe burns. Gibbons jumped in his pool to put out the flames, yet his skin was so damaged by the fire, that it allowed the chlorine and other pool chemicals to directly enter his bloodstream. Gibbons died in the hospital. The cat was eventually found with only minor injuries.

Earlier we talked about bad decisions on To Catch A Predator. These stories are good reminders to count the cost when faced with sketchy scenarios. I’m not sure what life lessons the story of Eve of Destruction can teach us. It is one of those movies a person watches when they are completely mentally-exhausted and don’t want to waste any energy caring about what is onscreen.

Perhaps, only men can truly understand this state-of-being.

We have reached the eve of our review of Eve of Destruction. It is a movie. A plot of sorts exists. A beginning happens. Some sort of middle is middling. An end occurs. Credits roll. That is an automatic two-and-half stars, but the flick never rises above its mediocrity. In fact, it sinks below it. I can only give Eve of Destruction less than that. Mostly for the fact that it brought us all here today. It contributed that much to the world, at least.

Before I go, I need to revisit my opening joke and build on it. How bland is Eve of Destruction? It is as bland as two pieces of white bread with a pat of margarine slathered in between and served on a paper plate to Anthony Mackie.

Despite all of the components of that equation, Anthony Mackie still somehow manages to be the whitest part of it. Come on, you know it’s true.

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