(Aka La Guerra dei robot )
Review By Cathleen Grado Directed by Alfonso Brescia Starring Antionio Sabato, Melissa Long, James R.Stuart, Yanti Somer
"A Living Nightmare"
Being consistently on the hunt for off the beaten path Science Fiction films, I felt the impulse to pick up the old Italian produced Reactor and give it a go. How could one go wrong with exotic looking space explorers from earth, golden androids, Yule Bryner-esque humanoid slaves and a desperate mission to stop a nuclear reactor from destroying the earth?
The answer is that on can go quite wrong, but however quirky and disjointed Reactor may be, it is still a terribly fun Science Fiction fillm for eccentric fans of the genre. A little bit Dr.Who, a little bit Space 1999, the story begins on a giant space ship city filled with gleaming metallic costumes, kitschy 70's hairdos and crazy space aged synth music. (One of the best things about the film is the original score by Marcello Grombini, who also did the soundtrack to Anthropophagus, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, and Emmanuelle 3)
In a scientific laboratory which appears to have been smuggled in the night on-set from the local high school chemistry lab, we are introduced to the Professor and his beautiful Assistant, Julie. The Professor is working on the formula for life, speaking about the wonders of replacing decimate land with forests, and immortality for all. Julie, however, voices concern about man playing God; the possibility of altering the balance of the universe.
At this point the filmís action begins. Suddenly a gang of "Golden Haired" men kidnap the professor and his assistant. These strange beings need the knowledge of eternal life to take back to their planet, where ancient creatures, unable to naturally re-produce, need to find a way to continue their existence.
The shipís Doctor discovers the pairs abduction too late, and announces the bad news to the captain of the ship, Captain John Boyd, love interest to Julie. (played by Antonio Sabato)
The entire population is now in danger, as the missing Professor is the only one who knows how to work their nuclear reactor. In eight days it will explode, killing everyone on earth. (We are never really clear on rather earth is now the ship or the actual planet here) Why a ship with an entire cityís worth of people on it would allow such detrimental information to be held by one elderly man is a mystery.
What ensues is a massive race against time to find the alien ship with the Professor and his assistant on it, bring them back within eight days and have them stop the reactor from exploding and causing the destruction of Earth. I thought this point was when the film became uniquely entertaining. There are amusing scenes in outer space against painted sets which, set to the original score, are quite fun to watch. Cave dwelling humanoids, being harvested for their organs, look like something out of the Omega Man, and Space Ship fighting sequences appear to have been filmed directly from an Asteroids video console.
When we are shown the "alien race" of ancients, the cinematography becomes rather sophisticated. After almost an hour of continuous yet droll action, the pace slows down to a halt as the viewer is shown face after face of withered, sexless creatures, shroud in black cloth as if in mourning.
There are a couple of plot and character twists, love triangles, and an unfortunate problem with continuity regarding the eight day limit for saving the earth.
Although most of the acting is measly, one character stands out in the film and that is the leader of the humanoids, Kuba, played by Aldo Canti. Once slave to the ancients, he is later recruited to help rescue the professor. Hairless and donning a heavy dose of eye kohl, he seems to be the only individual in the film relishing his part. For that reason he becomes detrimental to the film. At certain points he looks as if he were about to break out into kung fu action against the golden men during fight scenes.
Reactor is best watched without expectation, for humorous and kitschy entertainment. Itís not frightening in the least, nor does it have political overtones. But visually and aurally itís quite appealing, and a great watch for a rainy Sunday Afternoon for Cheesy Sci Fi Fans.
Film/Story 3.5/5 BITCH SLAPS Camp 4.5/5 BITCH SLAPS
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