Friday, September 25, 2009


Original Title: Colpi di luce
Year: 1985
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writer: Enzo G. Castellari, Tito Carpi

imdb synopsis:
A crazed physician invents a death ray and threatens to destroy San Francisco unless he is paid $10 million.

Physician? I would say he is more a physicist, but we can't all be perfect, right?

And here we are back with another 80s Castellari film, this time starring fan favorite Erik Estrada as Detective Ronn Warren!

Funny little aside: my brother, Eric, almost had his named spelled Erik on his birth certificate after Erik Estrada, and would have if the choice was ultimately up to my dad. Mom put her foot down, however, and went with the more conventional C spelling.

Anyway, while this film is more simple and straightforward, not all that original, and equally poorly acted as Hammerhead, I really had a more enjoyable experience with it. Where Hammerhead began to get lost in it's own story by the end, this one is easy, light, and will provide some laughs.

We get some Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema ( staples all throughout this film. The story revolves around a giant LAZER; always a good thing. There are carsplosions thrown in there. Almost every bad guy sports an impressive stache. There is even a tough tits appearance (Estrada just had to don that speedo! Oh, and he is carrying a turkey in the screeshot there.)

Unfortunately there are no Members Only jackets, but there's plenty of other great 80s fashions to make up for it. Casio watches have never looked better! Man that little jogging man is HOT!

There are other little things that just really made this a fun film to watch. People have never been more flammable for one. If any person in this film is near fire at all, they will also burst into flames. Then in true Castellari fashion, they will flail around a bit in slow motion! There's explosions, melting faces (think Raiders of the Lost Ark on a 3 dollar budget), gun play, car chases, Estrada flying in a dune buggy...

This movie has it all, right??

Well, not so fast.

The story here is nothing to write home about. While some elements are interesting, such as the laser weapon itself, the overall story while easy to follow is just cut and paste detective chasing the bad guy. If not for all the fun stuff I listed already, this could have been a disaster. This is a writing team up once again of Castellari and Carpi, which I have seen often in Castellari's films.

There was no standout aside from Estrada in the acting department, and if you've seen Estrada play a cop in anything else, you know pretty much what to expect from Detective Ronn Warren.... meh, right? It was kinda cool seeing him punch a woman square in the face, however. Not that I condone that! But it's trashy movie world! Oh, and she had it coming! Everyone was pretty forgettable or just bad I thought.

The physicist (played by Ennio Girolami I believe?) could be particularly bad when he goes on his mad scientist rant.

Another thing this film was lacking was Castellari's and his director of photography's trademark flourishes and sense of playfulness. There was a little in there you'll notice with some repeated actions or slow motion, but as I said, this was much more straightforward - moreso than anything else, outside of maybe his early westerns, that I have seen. The direction is fine here, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't noticing anything all that special. I get spoiled by the European genre style. As with Hammerhead which came a little later, and putting aside the fact that it takes place in San Francisco, this film felt much more American than most of the Castellari films I have seen.

If you can track this down, this is definitely worth a watch. It's a fast hour and a half that is cliche but a lot of ridiculous fun. Have fun with this one... and stay away from open flames!

6 out of 10

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