Eliminators (1986) Retrospective

SUMMARY
The plot centers around a “Mandroid” constructed by an evil scientist from the body of a downed pilot, who teams up with the scientist responsible for android technology, her pet robot Spot, a riverboat guide, and a martial arts warrior.

After returning from a scouting mission in a time machine, the Mandroid gives a Roman centurion shield to his master Abbot Reeves. Reeves orders the Mandroid to be dismantled (killed), but Reeves’ assistant Takada tries to help the Mandroid to escape. Although Takada dies in the escape attempt, he tells the Mandroid to seek scientist Col. Nora Hunter for help in stopping Reeves from enacting an evil plan. In the U.S., the Mandroid finds Hunter and reveals himself to her. She believed Reeves to be dead and recognizes her designs for a Mars probe in the Mandroid. She repairs damage done to the Mandroid in his escape. The Mandroid plans to return to stop Reeves’ evil plans (whatever they may be) and Hunter insists on accompanying him as his mechanic. She also brings along S.P.O.T., a small flying scout robot of her own design.

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Arriving in Mexico, Hunter hires the best river boat captain she can find in a seedy bar, one Harry Fontana, and they head down a river. After running afoul of rival riverboat captains and Reeves’ men, they end up finding the Mandroid’s crashed plane after an encounter with a tribe of cavemen brought to this time by Reeves’ time travel experiments. They also meet Kuji, the ninja son of Doctor Takada, who has come to find his father. The Mandroid informs him that his father is dead, killed by Reeves. He joins the group, which then storms Reeves’ headquarters, only to be captured by Reeves, now a cyborg himself, more advanced than the Mandroid, whose body is designed to look like Roman armor. Reeves plans to travel back to ancient Rome and become the new Caesar.

The Mandroid fights Reeves and is quickly defeated. Badly damaged, the Mandroid sacrifices his life to free the rest of the group. They pursue Reeves to his laboratory just in time to watch him escape to ancient Rome in his time machine. In frustration, Fontana smashes the laboratory control panel, causing the time machine to overshoot its target date and maroon Reeves hundreds of millions of years in the past.

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DEVELOPMENT
Both Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo also marvel at the rapidity with which projects come together at Empire. As screenwriters, they had been working for almost a decade without much success. Then, suddenly. Empire was making several scripts of theirs one after the other. As writers, they’ve written Trancers, Eliminators and Zone Troopers. Bilson reveals that he became involved with Empire as a camera assistant on The Dungeonmaster, Ghost Warrior and Ghoulies. He first began work on Eliminators two years ago with his writing partner Paul De Meo. It is based on four characters that Charles Band supplied a mercenary, a ninja, a lady scientist and a mandrold. “We wanted a Fantastic Four feel,” says Bilson. “It was Charles’ idea two years ago (with his writing partner for the film) to be a revenge picture. It went through more and more stages. Originally, they wanted the mandroid to turn into an airplane, a boat, whatever. Something like a Go-Bot, but that was deferred due to budgetary considerations. Still, we had fun dealing with a character that had interchangeable arms.”


“We had all kinds of problems,” Manoogian said. “For example, we had this boat exploding stunt which was not that spectacular, so we decided to redo it. The Spanish producer was always concerned about the budget. I told him we needed another boat, and he said ‘No problem.’ Upon hearing that you just knew there was going to be a problem! He decided to reuse the old boat that had had its back end blown off. I said‘ well, OK. if you think it can work.’ They rebuilt the stern and added two 240 horsepower motors. I told them, ‘I don’t believe this is going to work.’ The producer said, ‘It doesn’t run well, but I think it’s going to be OK.’ – Peter Manoogian

Eliminators (2000)
“On those kinds of movies, they often spend a lot of money shooting. because they don’t spend very much preparing.” the actor notes. “So we took a long time to shoot Eliminators, which was kind of OK with Band. He said, ‘Look, just keep going. Get what you want to get, because it’s not expensive to shoot over here.’ So I was three months shooting on locations around Madrid for that one, and it was quite a nice adventure. It was also one of the rare times I got to play the hero. And, as one gets older, there are even fewer of those roles.” – Andrew Prine

Eliminator-still-6_06f68ca1-34a0-e511-9442-0ad9f5e1f797_lg

“We spent three months in Spain on that one, and most of that was spent sunbathing on the roof of the hotel. I thought the film’s intent was good, and I felt my character was good enough to be exploited in another film. But it wouldn’t really bother me if people forgot that Eliminators had ever been made.” – Roy Dotrice

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Eliminators (1999)“Our budget on that entire film was less than what one episode of Star Trek is,” giggles Crosby. “It was my first lead role in a film, so it is definitely something that I will not forget. Nobody starts out to deliberately make a bad film, and I really don’t regret doing it for the experience it gave me as an actress. To be perfectly honest, though, I’m not madly in love with the results.” – Denise Crosby

CAST/CREW
Directed by Peter Manoogian
Produced by Charles Band
Written by
Paul De Meo
Danny Bilson

Andrew Prine as Harry Fontana, riverboat captain.
Denise Crosby as Colonel Nora Hunter, scientist.
Patrick Reynolds as Mandroid/John, a pilot who crashed in South America and turned into the cybernetic tool of Abbott Reeves.
Conan Lee as Kuji, ninja son of Doctor Takada.
Roy Dotrice as Abbott Reeves, evil scientist.
Peter Schrum as Ray
Peggy Mannix as Bayou Betty, the evil rival riverboat captain to Harry.
Fausto Bara as Luis
Tad Horino as Takada, the good scientist assistant to Reeves.
Luis Lorenzo as Maurice
José Moreno as Neanderthal Shaman (as Pepe Moreno)
Charly Bravo as Bartender
Miguel de Grandy as Chief Guard (as Miguel de Grandi)
Gabino Diego as Young Guard (as Gabino Diego Solis)

CREDITS/REFERENCES/SOURCES/BIBLIOGRAPHY
Fangoria#162
Starlog#130
Starlog#133
Monsterland#10 1986

5 thoughts on “Eliminators (1986) Retrospective

  1. Wish I could share this on Facebook but not letting me, saying people have reported you. Pity as I’ve got loads of groups where it would be really appreciated

    Like

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