Abraxas, Guardian Of The
Director: Damian Lee
Cast: Jesse Ventura, Sven Ole Thorson, Jim Belushi
Special guest review!
By Jason Alt
Before Arnold became the governator, one man established
himself as a man who could make the transition from acting to
politicking. What's that you say? Ronald Reagan? Oh, ok, fine. There
were two men, and one of them was not Ronald Reagan, who established
himself as a man who could make the transition from acting to
politicking. This man was Jesse Ventura. A Minnesota native, Ventura
was the logical choice to play the part of the lead character, Abraxas,
in this movie. The casting of an actor capable of expressing emotions
would have lead to confusion from the audience. Ventura's shortcomings
are actually to his advantage in this role as well as every other movie
role he has played (The guy in Running Man who scowled
and tried to kill people, the guy in Predator who
scowled and tried to kill people, the guy in Demolition Man
who scowled and tried to kill people…).
All sarcasm aside, Ventura's short-comings as an actor
really hurt the film. Abraxas is a character who is supposed to be an
alien who decides to forsake his duties as guardian of
the universe due to his life-changing experiences such as falling in
love and driving a station wagon. The "love scenes" are robotic and
forced-looking and must have been as painful to shoot as they were to
watch. I think there is an excellent reason that the WWF didn't refer
to Ventura as "Jesse the personality" or "Jesse the able-to-emote." It
isn't entirely fair to say that Ventura can't express emotion at all.
After all, he can express anger very well. His performance in The
Running Man is evidence enough of his capability to let people
know when he is angry. He can also express the emotion of "I am
straining very hard to lift this heavy object/ smash this dude's face
in" exceptionally well. Unfortunately for "Jesse the body," his acting
talents are limited to these few situations, and go a long way to
express what a poor casting choice Ventura was for the role of Abraxas.
Of course, the other male lead, Sven Ole-Thorson makes Ventura look
like some sort of bizarre love-child born of the union of John
Malkovitch and Dame Judy Dench (Hint: they are good actors) by
comparison. Sven's contribution to his first Ventura collaboration, The
Running Man, consisted of him putting on his "mean" face and
delivering one line of dialogue in some extremely broken English. He
managed to clean up his pronunciation a little bit for "Abraxas" but he
still couldn't even act his way out jury duty. Luckily for Sven, he got
to play the typical late '80s, early '90s movie villain role of
shooting and revealing way too much about his plot for world domination
which will ultimately lead to his being thwarted. Having to step
outside the box a little would surely have caused Ole-Thorson's head to
explode (another late '80s early '90s movie cliché, but one which I
never get sick of seeing). Ole-Thorson's performance in this movie kind
of gives me the urge to travel back in time and stop his parents from
meeting on the off chance that it would be enough to prevent this movie
from being made. I am so disgusted by this movie that I would risk the
potentially cataclysmic effects that this action would have on the
universe. Speaking of crazy chaos theory propelled doomsday scenarios,
remember that Ashton Kutcher piece of crap Butterfly Effect?
Well, it's better than this movie.
I expected the presence of Jim Belushi (who is clearly
depicted on the
back of the (3 dollar) DVD case, but not listed in the credits on said
case) to save the movie. Unfortunately for myself and everyone else who
paid 3 dollars for this movie at grocery stores all across North
America, he appears in this movie for a sum total of 45 seconds.
Apparently he did the appearance in this movie as a favor to Marjorie
Bransfield, who happened to be his wife at the time, and who happened
to play the female lead in the film, Sonia. Despite being the biggest
actor in this film, not only was he not given the lead billing, he was
not billed at all. The absence of his name on the case lead me to
question whether or not my eyes were playing tricks on me when I
thought I had seen Jim Belushi. He's in this movie. At least in body,
but I doubt in spirit. The lack of his billing may say about as much as
his unwillingness to be associated with this movie as it does about the
negligible role which he played in this movie.
So we have established that the acting sucked. But what was this movie
about? In a nutshell, Abraxas, guardian of the universe is a….guardian
of the…..universe. Another guardian of the universe, named Secundus
(played by Ole-Thorson) decides that he wants to see if the prophecy of
a boy born on the planet earth who can grant eternal life/ultimate
power (I don't remember which, but it doesn't really matter) is true
and decides to kidnap the boy. Abraxas is instructed by his superiors
via his talking wrist communicator (Dick Tracy would eat his heart out)
that this would be cataclysmically bad for the galaxy and that he
should stop Secundus. He does. Then the movie ends.
In a slightly larger nutshell, this movie involves a lot
damage. Police cars, innocent bystanders, wildlife; nothing is safe
from the chaos that ensues when Abraxas and Secundus fire their alien
laser weapons at each other. Apparently it is standard for alien
universal protectors that want to watch over humans without alerting
them to their presence to use their technology in front of lots of
them. But so many innocent humans die that it isn't very likely that
any lived to tell tales of advances alien laser weapons. This might be
their version of the Men In Black memory erasing
technique, just one with more permanent results.
Abraxas is unfamiliar with human customs such as kissing and not
driving cars directly into obstacles, so Sonia is there to help him
along the way as the two of them try to save her son from Secundus. She
serves as his guide and ultimately helps him realize that being human
is better than being a benevolent guardian of the universe. After about
10 minutes of watching her try to "humanize" him, I began praying for
Secundus to show up and kill everyone. No dice, unfortunately.
I am not sure what was more awkward, Abraxas' inability to behave like
a human and fit in with those who he was trying to protect, or Ventura
trying to get this across. I give him credit for applying the "110%"
philosophy which made him such a great professional wrestler (read
actor) to this film. However, the ability to make the audience think
that the flying reverse choke-slam into a stack of Hello Kitty
lunchboxes conveniently laying just outside the ring was real and the
ability to act on screen aren't the same thing. There is such a thing
as overacting (despite what Jim Carrey says) and Venture definitely
pushes the envelope in this film. 110%, beside the obvious fact that
it's not mathematically possible, is also a little bit too much when
you're trying to convey emotions on film. Ventura is to taking it easy
what Stephen Wright is to getting excited.
This movie is the bottom of the bad movie barrel. I love
bad movies for
the most part because they are at best unintentionally funny and at
worst hilariously cheesy, but this movie had no redeeming value. The
clichés were annoying instead of cute, the jokes we non-existent and
the action was hollow and unsatisfying. Nothing about this movie was at
all entertaining, witty, funny, tense, or good. I would have demanded a
refund, but I was only out 3 bucks (and 90 minutes or so of my life
which I wish I could have back). I actually kind of want to go around
the country and buy as many copies of this movie as I can find and
throw them in a huge pyre the size of which would rival even the
burning man. All the pseudo-art and twice the flamedge.
All pyromaniacal tendencies aside, don't watch this movie. Many of you
will due to your overwhelming curiosity which I have no doubt piqued
due to my harsh panning of this film. It was deserved, trust me. If you
want to see a good bad movie, rent Scanner Cop or
something. If you want to see a bad bad movie, shut up. You're a liar.
No one wants to subject themselves to a movie that isn't even goofy
enough to make fun of. If you showed Abraxas to Mike
Nelson, Crow and Servo, they would vomit. No quips or jokes, just 90
minutes of listening to robots puke. Is that what you want? Personally,
after watching Abraxas, I would welcome 90 minutes of
Robot puke. Anything to stop the voices in my head that tell me to quit
my job, change my name to "Secundus" and track down copies of this film
so I can force-feed them to Jesse Ventura.
One final note, this movie was a great bargain at 3 dollars. It was
either this movie or 12 gumballs, so I am glad I went with the movie.
It is entertaining; better at least than watching paint dry or
vacuuming your living room. At the very least, buy the movie so you can
say you watched it. If you liked this movie, and are planning on
writing me a nasty e-mail, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to
hear from someone who liked this movie. This is my personal e-mail
address, and easier to get in touch with me than going through the
website. Also, if you liked this movie but don't want to send me an
e-mail so I can find out where you live, you should check out Hercules
In New York which would make a nice double feature with Abraxas.
for availability on Amazon (VHS)
Check for availability on Amazon (DVD)
See also: Automatic, Death Machine, R.O.T.O.R.