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Author Topic: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs  (Read 17577 times)

vigilanteforce

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Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« on: 03 Aug 2007 - 12:19 »

OK, since this section of the forum is also about rip-offs, I thought I should post my article on Italian cyborg and TERMINATOR-influenced films.



HANDS OF STEEL (1986, Sergio Martino)

Sergio Martino (credited here as Martin Dolman) is a skilled director able to handle thrillers (I love his gialli) as well as action films. For some reason I thought this shameless TERMINATOR rip-off was even more enjoyable than his 2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK. Not to mention more entertaining than Cameron's movie. Everybody who knows me knows I believe the Italians ALWAYS do it better.I watched this again after 6 years and loved it. The action is unstoppable and the score by Claudio Simonetti is great. Claudio Cassinelli impressed me for the first time and its a big shame he was killed during the making of this film. RIP Claudio! George Eastman's appearance is more than welcome while leading actor Daniel Greene is not as bad as he could be. He went on to make more films with Sergio and HAMMERHEAD with Enzo Castellari. Get this masterpiece!

Youtube clips:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVFSJmlxUHs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRLkHVAXREo



TOP LINE (1988, Nello Rossati)

Franco Nero is alcoholic (again!!) writer Ted Angelo. He discovers a UFO (or is it Noah's Ark?) inside a cave located somewhere at the Columbian jungle. Of course that means trouble as literally everyone wants to get rid rid of Ted and get their hands on the priceless treasure: CIA, KGB, the mob, a Nazi villain (George Kennedy of THE DELTA FORCE) and even a cyborg ala HANDS OF STEEL.TOP LINE is definitely one of the craziest Italian cult movies you will ever see. The first half plays like a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK rip-off (Franco even wears a hat similar to Harrison Ford's) with shades of ROMANCING THE STONE. Of course there is nothing wrong with that as the Italians always do it better. The film is fast-moving and entertaining although nothing prepares the viewer for the outrageousness of the last act where a cyborg appears and goes after Nero's character. Shades of THE TERMINATOR (and Sergio Martino's HANDS OF STEEL aka RETURN OF THE TERMINATOR) are obvious here as the cyborg's head is bust wide open and his eyeball pops out, hanging from wires. The half-human, half-robot is defeated by a bull that is enraged by his red shirt. Brilliant. TOP LINE goes even more over the top when Mary Stavin's character turns into an alien monster. The ending is sudden and could have been way more gripping but the rest of the film definitely pays off. Nero is perfect as the alcoholic writer- after all it's one of his favorite parts isn't it? His performance ads seriousness to the admittedly trashy script and rescues TOP LINE from being classified as another b-movie piece of junk. So does the competent direction: Rossati is not the man you would expect to direct a sci-fi/action film (that would be probably Enzo Castellari or Sergio Martino) but he does a great work, using traveling shots frequently. The locations help a lot and the cave where the ark is found is probably one of the most beautiful settings in an Italian genre film. The ark itself is a piece of art and definitely no low budget work. The special FX will probably scare perfectionists away although they are not bad at all, considering the budget limitations. The sequence where Nero is hunted by the mob and George Kennedy in his car is one of the most memorable in the whole film as it creates tension due to Rossati's expert touch and Nero's incredible performance.Overall, TOP LINE is top-notch Italian cult, highly entertaining and certainly an original creation. If you love movies that try to throw in a little bit of everything this one is for you. Not to be missed. For the record, director and star cooperated again on previous year's DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN aka DJANGO 2.



CY WARRIOR: SPECIAL COMBAT UNIT (1989, Gianetto De Rossi)

Years before becoming widely known for doing the gore FX in HAUTE TENSION, De Rossi directed a couple of ultra-trashy films for producer Fabrizio De Angelis. CY WARRIOR is hated worldwide for it's cheesy attempt to copy TERMINATOR. I found it a lot better than everybody thinks- I am just a sucker for Italian rip-offs of American productions. This one is definitely not as great as HANDS OF STEEL or as expensive as TOP LINE but still has its moments. Henry Silva appears in one of the most over the top moments in his career, non-stop yelling and cursing! De Rossi doesn't do a bad job directing this although the cinematogaphy is a bit darker that it should be. The score by Lanfranco Perini (Lenzi's COP TARGET) is one of the most memorable things about the film. Leading man Zagarino is no Daniel Greene but he carried out the film quite well in his own expressionless way. I enjoyed this a lot more than Mattei's SHOCKING DARK.



TERMINATOR 2 aka SHOCKING DARK aka ALIENATORS (1990, Bruno Mattei)

Only Bruno Mattei has the nerve to openly rip-off a film such as TERMINATOR and release it in Italy as TERMINATOR 2! And lets not forget about his JAWS 5! Anyway, the film is mostly an ALIEN rip-off (set in a post-apocalyptic Venice) with the "Terminator" appearing during the last 20 minutes or so. From that point Bruno decides to start copying James Cameron's film. The film is not as entertaining as I was hoping for (I mean it certainly cannot top some of Mattei's action films of the late 80s) although it still delivers some trashy fun. Some negative points: 1) There is no stock footage here. Shameless use of stock footage is one of Bruno's trademarks and it is missing from this film. 2) There are no exteriors besides the opening Venice sequence. The film is extremely claustrophobic and dark, most of it is shot inside a factory. Anyway, TERMINATOR 2 still has its fans and regarded as a cult film by many. After watching ROBOWAR, STRIKE COMMANDO and RATS, my expectations were just too high I guess.

Youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjKTUABu-JU






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Inspector Tanzi

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #1 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 13:10 »

I enjoy "Hands of Steel / Atomic cyborg" though for a Sergio Martino film i suppose it could be a bit better (but what 80's Italian futuristic films don't have their cheapness, we wouldn't want them any other way!).
Sadly Claudio Cassinelli died in a helicopter crash on the way to a filming location.

I thought "Top Line / Alien Terminator" was awful, and even a great actor like Franco Nero couldn't save it, i expect he's embarrased about this one but he has made so many superb films we can let him off! :D
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vigilanteforce

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #2 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 13:49 »

I thought "Top Line / Alien Terminator" was awful, and even a great actor like Franco Nero couldn't save it, i expect he's embarrased about this one but he has made so many superb films we can let him off! :D

Why did you think that? It was nowhere as bad as it could have been! Just wait till you see CY WARRIOR hehe
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Jay

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #3 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 15:55 »

Cy Warrior will rape your mind!
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vigilanteforce

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #4 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 16:06 »

Special Combat Unit!  ::)
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Dorado

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #5 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 17:53 »

“Hands of Steel” is my favourite post apocalypse film, and one of my favourite action films of all time.

I have the film both on the shitty Brentwood label and on the great Japanese disc.

 
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vigilanteforce

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #6 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 17:56 »

Japanese disc?
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Dorado

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #7 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 18:06 »

Japanese disc?

Yes I have it in widescreen on a Japanese disc with Japanese subtitles that cannot be removed.
As far as I can see it was that disc that was used as source for the second of those clips from the film on youtube that you just linked to.


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vigilanteforce

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #8 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 18:39 »

can you post a scan of its cover?
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Dorado

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #9 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 18:48 »

can you post a scan of its cover?

I don’t have a scanner at the moment so I can’t do that for the time being, but I can give you a link to the guy who sells them from the USA.

http://www.revok.com/searchall.php?search=h&type=atoz

I have bought the following films from him.

Blastfighter.
Hands of steel.
Endgame.
Raiders of Atlantis.
The violent breed.

I have not bought anything from him in a long time though because he is too expensive IMO.
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Jonny

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #10 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 19:16 »

http://www.revok.com/searchall.php?search=h&type=atoz
I have not bought anything from him in a long time though because he is too expensive IMO.

Looks like a 'grey market' operation to me, anyone who quotes 'The Berne Act' in their FAQ is definitely   selling copies of foreign releases.

Way too pricey as well.

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Dorado

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #11 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 19:22 »

http://www.revok.com/searchall.php?search=h&type=atoz
I have not bought anything from him in a long time though because he is too expensive IMO.

Looks like a 'grey market' operation to me, anyone who quotes 'The Berne Act' in their FAQ is definitely   selling copies of foreign releases.

Way too pricey as well.



Sure they are direct copies of foreign releases, he make bootlegs of primarily Japanese discs and claim its legal. Whether it is legal or not to sell this in the USA I don’t know, but I quit buying from him because $19 for a bootleg is way too pricy.

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Jonny

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #12 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 19:43 »

Been doing some searching around for a 'Hands of Steel' DVD and found this...

Hands of Steel (US Version) DVD on the Trinity Home Entertainment label. Anyone know anything about this release?





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IL COMMISSARIO

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #13 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 20:02 »

To my knowledge this is a dupe outfit as well. HANDS OF STEEL has so far, only been released legitimetly on VHS here. Nearly rented it a dozen times but never did.
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Jonny

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Re: Italian Terminators & Cyborgs
« Reply #14 on: 03 Aug 2007 - 20:07 »

To my knowledge this is a dupe outfit as well. HANDS OF STEEL has so far, only been released legitimetly on VHS here. Nearly rented it a dozen times but never did.

I thought as much... Can find any info as regards any Japanese DVD releases though, are you sure your copy isn't taken off a widescreen VHS Dorado?
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