May 4, 2017
Review #930: The Humanoid.
Richard Kiel (Golob), Corinne Cléry (Barbara Gibson), Leonard Mann (Nick), Barbara Bach (Lady Agatha), Arthur Kennedy (Dr. Kraspin), Ivan Rassimov (Lord Graal), Marco Yeh (Tom Tom), and Massimo Serato (Great Brother) Directed by Aldo Lado.
What day is it? Why it's May 4th, otherwise known as Star Wars Day by fans due to the easy pun on the catchphrase "May the Force be with you". As such, I figured it best to honor the day with...a film that has "inspiration" taken from Star Wars, made in Italy (released there under title of L'umanoide) and released in 1979. The similarities are apparent from the opening titles, with an opening text crawl detailing events from the film (though this is set in the distant future on "Metropolis"). The villain of the movie wears a costume that looks like a low rent Darth Vader outfit (though his face is visible this time), while also commanding a spaceship in the shape of triangle. At least the plot-line is something different, involving turning people into super soldiers (called "Humanoids", naturally). There is a feasible budget this time around (reportedly around $7 million), so the sets have an admirable cheesy feel to them, doing this better than say, Starcrash (#755).
The mish-mash of ideas is quite entertaining if not strange, from the wonder kid filled with mysterious (if not random) powers (and his own mysterious protectors) to the robot dog (because of course) to the villainess who relies on youth serums (gee I wonder what her fate will be) to Kiel basically playing a mix of the Hulk and other monsters with a big heart. There's even a character called the Great Brother, with his brother being the villain (are you surprised?). The music by Ennio Morricone is weird and wonderful, with a bunch of synthesizer arrangements, disco grooves that certainly make for an interesting listening experience. Kiel is interesting in the sense that this is one time where he actually has more than a couple of lines, though after becoming the title character he doesn't speak much; he manages to a capable job nonetheless. Clery and Mann are somewhat capable. The big standout is Yeh, playing some sort of mystical kid hero who excels at playing the ridiculous nature the role carries (he rides on a ghost ship at the end). Rassimov plays the villain, though obviously he doesn't have much evil presence as Kennedy, who hams it up just a notch more along with Bach. He does get to fire laser beams though, so in a way we all win. The ending is pretty interesting, in that it ends with a ghost ship flying away to Tibet with the kid and his friends (?????), with an ending text and narration talking about it took intelligence, insight and strength to defeat a mortal enemy - because of course it ends with that. On the whole, this is an entertaining, if not exactly sane kind of movie.
Overall, I give it 6 out of 10 stars.