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How'd this get overlooked?
cfc_can1 October 2000
You probably have never heard of this movie but it's a real find. It's a mixture of science-fiction/action and revenge themes. It has a comic book plot but it's presented in a fast paced, razzle-dazzle way. The cast is in pretty good form too. Chaykin really steals the show in an interesting plot twist. It doesn't have much to do with the original Frankenstein legend so The Vindicator is a better title than Frankenstein 88. It was shot in Montreal but you'd never know it. Unlike many Canadian films made at the time, it does not have an ultra-slow, cheap look about it. In fact, the special effects and sets are highly impressive. It only had a minimal release and then turned up on Pay-TV and video. If you like sci-fi even a tiny bit, check this out and tell a friend. You won't be disappointed!
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One Year Before Robocop...
Claudio Carvalho5 September 2015
The high-tech ARC Corporation that is directed by the unscrupulous Alex Whyte (Richard Cox) is researching a software that provokes violent reaction from someone that is attacked against the attacker. The efficient scientist Carl Lehman (David McIlwraith) has an argument with Whyte since his funds have been cut. On the next morning, Carl has a serious accident while his partner and friend Burt Arthurs (Maury Chaykin) is bringing coffee for them. Carl's pregnant wife Lauren Lehman (Teri Austin) is informed that her husband has died; however, the accident was provoked by Whyte. Carl becomes the guinea pig for the ARC Frankenstein Project and is turned into a cyborg. While testing the remote control unit, the scientist Gail Vernon (Lynda Mason Green) is attacked by Carl that escapes from ARC in a garbage truck. Then he eliminates a motorcycle gang that has attacked him. Carl realizes that he cannot be touched and he contacts Lauren from outside home to arrange a meeting with Burt. Meanwhile Whyte contracts the killer Hunter (Pam Grier) to get rid off Carl.

"The Vindicator" is a low-budget movie with a poor storyline and lame production. The characters and situations are not well-developed and the rushed beginning does not exactly explain the importance of the rage project or why it was necessary to eliminate Carl. The storyline has similarities with "Robocop" that was released more than one year later. Was "Robocop" a rip-off "The Vindicator"? My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Roboman"
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Decent pre-Robocop Robocop Rip-off
Golden_Brown20 May 2005
Going into this movie, I was expecting a Robocop rip-off, what I got was a fairly entertaining Robocop rip-off that also reminded me of Darkman and The Guyver in equal amounts. Imagine my surprise then, to learn that this fairly obscure little movie actually predates all of those films by a good few years, and the only films that are blatant influences on it are The Terminator and Frankenstein.

A brilliant Scientist is killed by his boss to be recreated as an invulnerable Cyborg who will obey his every command. However, when the control chip for him is detached, he escapes, visiting his mourning wife, while being hunted by a Bounty Hunter(played by Pam Grier) and the company's scientists and hired muscle, before he decides to put an end to their schemes.

It's not brilliant, and all of the aforementioned movies, barring maybe the first Guyver, are better than it, but that doesn't mean it's not a fairly good B-grade Sci-Fi movie that never bored or failed to entertain me. The effects, done by Stan Winston, are actually pretty good, although the Cyborg's design could have been better, it's actual creation is excellent. Acting in the movie is fairly divided, with the main players all doing very well, but the supporting cast are pretty dreadful.

Worth watching to see a sort of Pre-Robocop Robocop.
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Predates Robocop
Macholic9 February 2004
Looks as if the Robocop writer has been wholesale looting The Vindicator. This is a very solid horror/action movie about a man set up in an accident to be used in cruel experiment. Anyone who have seen Robocop knows the story. Watch out for Pam Grier as a bitchy and darn good looking assassin. This highly effective, violent and bloody horror movie may not be to everyones liking, but this Canadian outing is well worth seeking out for anyone who is fan of the genre. 8/10
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great movie
faceman00200028 December 2006
as a fan of robocop, i always loved this movie. i seen it when it first came out, and finally i bought it on DVD from Brazil, it was never released in the us on DVD. i like the film, but like everything else in this world, everyone has their opinion, love it or hate it. no matter what a movie does, someone will always say "why didn't they do it another way?" in other words you cant please everyone. if you love robocop, you will love this film. to me, its so unique thats its not cheesy, or silly like a lot of lower budget movies. this film always kept me interested. i can see a few scenes that robocop borrowed from here, but tell me what movies don't do that? a lot of films use other ideas from other movies, and sometimes change them around. fun film!
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"Thank god he wore goggles..."
vindicator500027 October 2002
The combination of amazing special effects and oscar worthy acting makes the Vindicator one of the most important sci-fi films of recent years. For some reason still unknown to me this gem was found in a bargain bin, why some worthless human thought it right to dirty a modern classic by relagating to a bargain bin is beyond me. I have never been so terrified by a man in tin foil and random bursts of fire. Forget Terminator, Robocop, Aliens, and other films that blaintly ripped off this masterpiece, the vindicator is an unstoppable force.
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sol-9 July 2017
This curious precursor to 'RoboCop' stars David McIlwraith as a scientist turned into a cyborg after being seriously injured in an explosion. While the film lacks Paul Verhoeven's dark sense of humour, it features well crafted action scenes, great makeup effects (beneath the mask), an awesome body suit and lots of fascinating pseudoscience with McIlwraith working in a laboratory experimenting with rage control. The film also prods a bit into the personal identity crisis he faces after realising that he has become a cyborg; "I don't know what I am", he emotionally states at one point. Verhoeven would of course prod into such territory in further depth, but there is enough here to render 'The Vindicator' less a simple revenge thriller and more a resonating character drama. An interesting plot element is how he has been redesigned to kill any human beings who touch him, which leads to some complexities as he tries to reconnect with his wife (who has been told that he died in the explosion). Not everything quite adds up here with one character inexplicably transforming into a mindless sex maniac at one point to further the plot (!), but it is a pretty classy affair that stands up well if not judged alongside 'RoboCop'. The budget here was of course far more modest, and yet the filmmakers create some excellent set pieces; a sewer segment is especially eerie.
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Vindicator has a certain unorthodox appeal and is worth seeing.
Comeuppance Reviews13 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A scientist/researcher, Carl Lehman (McIlwraith) is in a bit of a bind. He has a loving wife, Lauren (Austin) who is pregnant with their first child. But also he was horribly disfigured in a lab accident, presumed dead, revived and put in an indestructible bodysuit, and is on the run because he is programmed to kill against any sort of human will he has left. So you can see his predicament. Diabolical scientist Whyte (Cox) hires a bounty hunter of sorts, named, naturally Hunter (Grier) to stop the man they now call "Frankenstein". But after this modern-day Frankenstein (see the movie's alternate title) beats up some street punks in an alley, we see what he's capable of. Through all this mess, he still communicates with his wife by speaking via the family synthesizer! And what does the Chris Christie-like Burt Arthurs (Chaykin) have to do with all this? Will Frankenstein come "unbound"? Find out today...

Not to be confused with The Exterminator (1980), The Terminator (1984), Eliminators (1986), The Revenger (1989), or The Punisher (1989), THE VINDICATOR is a highly comic book-influenced sci-fi actioner that wears its Canadian heritage on its sleeve with pride. Director Jean-Claude Lord proves there's more than one guy named "Jean-Claude" in the movie industry that we should be aware of. He imbues the project with an intelligence that keeps the viewers' interest. He seems pretty influenced by his compatriot David Cronenberg, but Lord's approach to some of the same themes Cronenberg has tackled is much more populist and aimed for the heart of the video store market. While on the one hand, Carl's "body horror" and his examination of his own humanity is reminiscent of Cronenberg, Pam Grier with a super soaker-like weapon shooting people in a sewer as cars blow up really isn't.

The most obvious parallel we can see to The Vindicator is, of course, Robocop (1987), which came out the following year, which is extremely interesting. The Vindicator came first, much like Greedo's shootings. But the sewer scenes recall yet more movies, C.H.U.D. (1984) and Alligator (1980) - Pam Grier's character is reminiscent of Henry Silva's in the latter movie. So it's fair to say The Vindicator is an amalgam of many different sci-fi/fantasy/horror/comic book ideas from years past. Thankfully there are enough of these ideas so that the filmmakers and cast can make it work. This is a movie that is filled with as many strange situations as it has strange-looking people. It was from a golden time when scientists smoked and cops shot monkeys with abandon. Also there's a line of dialogue about "3000 free games of Zaxxon", totally in keeping with our perspective today as the movie as retro-futuristic.

Released by Key video back in the good old days of the video store, The Vindicator has a certain unorthodox appeal and is worth seeing.
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Vindicator the indestructible Spaceman!
Max Kämmerer6 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Well I just got done watching this movie and it's a great flick.

The acting's top notch for a production like this. The highlights for me were Richard Cox as Whyte and David McIlwraith as the Vindicator/Frankenstein. The story overall has its twists and turns and keeps you entertained.

Some movies move very slow. The only thing that can be said about this movie maybe is that it moves a little too fast sometimes.

I don't understand why James Rolfe from didn't like it. It's got a lot of drama, intrigue and action. Very recommendable.

I don't regret paying those few bucks for the DVD at all.

PS: One bad part - the exploding truck. Too much for my taste.
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Science Fiction Robot is actually cool and campy
JP Fournier23 August 2011
The movie starts with a monkey in a cage, who's been hooked up to some sort of robotic transmitter that people can command the monkey to perform certain acts. Then one of the scientists says, "Now take a look at what happens when we touch him with a robot." To which a small remote controlled robot enters the cage and touches the monkey, followed by inappropriate reaction from the monkey. Whenever a film starts with testing a monkey and we hear, "Ok Now take a look at what happens with when touch him with a robot." I'm going to be in for the long run.

Vindicator might not feel like an original story, crossing Robocop with the Hulk (film doesn't even try to hide that it has borrowed a concept from the hulk by making), with a scientist who's been rebuilt into a powerful after a freak accident, which was purposely cause by his coworkers to push forward an experiment.

Yes, this is low budget, and yes this is silly, and yes, this is very eighties, however the film runs smoothly, never feeling dull. It's villains are despicable and you'll root for the hero to give them their dues. Some of the directors choices are also good, for instance a church sequence that has a great shot of our hero jumping from a balcony into shattering wood floors.

This is a true 80's low budget gem. Hard to find but worth the hunt.
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A pretty nifty and unjustly overlooked 80's sci-fi/horror action flick
Woodyanders12 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Scientist Carl Lehman (well played by David McIlwraith) gets blown up something terrible in a deliberate chemical explosion. He has his brain transplanted in the body of a nearly indestructible metal cyborg suit by his evil colleagues who are led by wicked obsessive fellow scientist Alex Whyte (a perfectly hateful portrayal by Richard Cox). Lehman embarks on an all-out killing spree. It's up to nasty mercenary Hunter (a wonderfully loathsome turn by the divine Pam Grier) to put a stop to him. Director Jean-Claude Lord, who previously helmed the under-appreciated slasher psycho thriller "Visiting Hours," stages the plentiful action scenes with considerable verve and maintains a zippy pace throughout, thus ensuring that this flick sizes up as an enjoyably trashy sci-fi/horror action outing. Paunchy character thesp Maury Chaykin easily cops top acting honors as disgusting fat creep Burt, who in the movie's single most tasteless sequence has a brutal fistfight with Lehman's pregnant wife Lauren (a winning performance by the lovely Teri Austin). Stan Winston's nifty make-up f/x and Paul Zaza's thrilling score further add to the overall sleazy fun.
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Look out, it's Robitussin Man!
tenthousandtattoos5 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When I first got the Portugese version of this film (it's never been released on DVD in my country but saw it on VHS when i was like, 11) only to discover in Spanish/Portugese speaking countries this film is known as "RoboMan", I laughed, thinking what a silly name. "The Vindicator" is far cooler. But after viewing this trash-cheese-fest again at the ripe old age of almost 30, i realised the Portugese were spot on. RoboMan is a much better title, if only the film itself didn't TAKE itself so seriously it might have been great. It has quite a good script, that I'm sure was effective when it was released, but sadly it just seems a bit dated and sad now, despite some really inventive ideas. As it is, it tries a little TOO hard to be a serious sci-fi horror, and falls a bit short.

David McIlwraith stars as Carl, a scientist, who is nearly killed in an "accidental" explosion because the bad-guy scientists don't like him. It doesn't matter why. Once he's mutilated they stick his brain (and his eyes and a bit of nose) into an indestructible space-suit and plug him in, oh and he has a nifty little device that means he goes ballistic and kills people if they touch him. Why you'd need that on Mars (apparently its a Mars-explorer prototype or something) I have no idea. It'd be like, "hey, we found some life on mars! Sh*t dude, Roboman just squished it!" Anyway, in true dodgy 80's movie-style, no sooner has he escaped from the labs when he runs into a couple of no-good-street-punks, and dispatches them swiftly, and it's here that the film really settles into the horror movie has all the pacing, limited characterisation, atrocious acting and simplistic music score of a "bad" horror movie.

He seeks to track down and destroy the scientists who imprisoned him the robo suit, and is hunted by...wait for it...Pam Grier, in a woefully cheesy role as the bounty hunter (or something) named...uh...Hunter, seems so oddly out of place in this film, and has the best line in the film (paraphrasing here, it's not THAT memorable): "Your buddy's dead with a manhole cover up his *ss coz YOU weren't straight with me!" Yep folks, THAT really is the best line in the film.

Terri Austin - she is not much of an actress, but she is quite nice to look at and has a nice voice. Unfortunately she's assaulted by the character of Maury Chaykin in a disturbing and unnecessary attempted-rape scene.

Vindicator suit - this actually isn't a ripoff of terminator (it couldn't be anyway, since both "creatures" were designed by the same guy!), the exo-skeleton thing is on the outside here. It is quite cool, in a horror-movie kind of way, like when he removes the face plate: "You can't love THIS!" And it looks good (it was made by Stan Winston studios) and you can see a lot of thought went into the design.

Setting - foggy Canadian mornings are a highlight in this film. Reminds me of cold days spent indoors by the fire. Likewise the houses in the film are cool, I particularly like the bad guy's living room, and RoboMan's house.

I'm glad i went out of my way to find this movie again, it's nice to have it on the shelf for a winter day when I feel like watching it again, but as far as recommending it? I don't know. I'd say it's more for people like me who saw it ages ago on VHS and have a soft spot for it, or if you are a fan of cheesy 80's Canadian cinema. Otherwise, stick with Terminator and RoboCop. They are easily available everywhere for good reason - they are fantastic movies. This one is pretty average.
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Flawed Nostalgic Scifi Grit.
amesmonde13 October 2011
A scientist working on a top secret experiment is killed in an explosion but the corporation that funds his experiments transforms him into a robot.

A resurrection science fiction film that despite being a B-low budget affair has a grander 80's film quality feel thanks to some gritty, raw and rough round the edges special effects.

Richard Cox and Pam Grier are watchable and some performances are above average. However, they are counter balanced by what should have been better supporting actors. Edith Rey and David Preston's dialogue is sometimes flawed, yet their story fairs better exploring some moral dilemmas.

Although it predates Robocop (1987) I remember the main draw to watch it was because of The Terminator (1984). That said, the Vindicator shares more with Frankenstein and the Wraith (1986).

Jean-Claude Lord's Vindicator was of its day. It has some nice visual moments. The certain charm it held in my mind since 1986 was mostly warm nostalgia - as on revisiting The Vindicator it's not as fast paced as I remembered it.

While fun at the time, in retrospect it's for comparable curiosity only.
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Skutter-229 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Vindicator opens with the memorable scene of a monkey in a cage attacking a ripping apart a small toy robot as part of a scientific experiment. This random act violence sold it for me and I'm happy to say the rest of Vindicator provided a veritable feast of cheese.

The Vindicator is about a scientist (David McIlwraith) who is nearly killed an explosion in his lab whose tattered remains are put inside an experimental body suit/armour. For some unfathomable reason he is fitted with a Rage Response Activator, a device wired into his brain that will turn him homicidal if he comes into physical contact with any other person. They give some daft explanation about how it is a necessary defensive mechanism but I cannot see the logic in installing such a device unless you wanted a rampaging cyborg killing machine. It is especially ridiculous when it is indicated the suit Carl is wearing is actually an experimental space suit. What possible need would there be for an astronaut to turn into the incredible hulk whilst on a mission? He predictably breaks out of the lab and proceeds to battle the dodgy scientists who put him in the suit, along with the ninja assassin Hunter played by Pam Grier (No, really).

The Vindicator itself looks pretty damn goofy. It is basically a dude in a mangled golden foil suit. He also has a perpetually bewildered look in his eyes, that doesn't inspire fear or even compassion. I guess you can't blame him for that, most people watching the movie will have that same look on their faces.

The acting is of the really bad, stilted, 'I'm not sure what the character's emotions or thoughts are that this point so I'll take a punt and spurt out my dialogue in a random tone of voice whilst trying not look at the camera' school of acting. The actor playing the funky black scientist even struggles with this last part.

It is after this initial accidental death that the Vindicator goes after the scientists. Strangely enough the whole Rage Response Activator 'touch me and I'll kill you' thing doesn't play as big a role as you might expect with Carl going after his former colleges in a reasonably detached manner. There was one scene where he rather brutally kills some street punks who push him around. I know that it is de rigueur for street gangs to randomly assault the lead characters in eighties movies but surely one of them must have realised it might be a bad idea to attack the hulking cyborg guy even if he does look like C3PO's retarded cousin. As it is they don't even seem that surprised to see a mangled golden cyborg walking down the street as though it was an every day occurrence for them. The only other time this rage response activator comes up in the movie is when old Carl can't give his wife a hug. When Hunter tries to turn this against him by throwing her into him so he'll be forced to kill her he casually remarks he has reprogrammed himself (Off-screen naturally) so this doesn't happen. They could have left out the whole Rage Response Activator thing and just gone with a straight revenge story and it wouldn't have made a huge difference to the movie.

There is an amusing sequence in the sewers as Grier and her cronies track down the Vindicator. Due to his armoured hide they are all armed with weapons which fire 'vapourised acid.' For some bizarre reason when these weapons fire it is represented on screen by cartoonish red lines that streak toward their targets ala Ghostbusters. The Vindicator fights back by ripping a gas pipe out of the wall and incinerating all of Grier's goons in an enormous streak of flame that comes out. The resulting fireball is so huge and powerful that it comes out of the sewers out of a man hole and blows up the van a couple of the scientists are. Strangely enough Grier escapes by throwing herself down into the inch deep water despite the fact she was closest to the Vindicator. This is one of several fake fiery explosions throughout the movie, including the death of funky black scientist when the vindicator sends his van of a cliff. (This is after they capture The Vindicator by trapping him in a giant lump of gello- no, seriously).

There is also one unsettling and long and out of place sequence in which Carl's treacherous overweight friend, who looks like a poor man's Ned Beatty, reveals his infatuation with Carl's wife and tries to rape her. It goes on for about 5-10 minutes and is full of disturbing shots of the guy slobbering over the wife's face, gyrating on top of her and trying to pull her dress off. It is icky to say the least and seems really out of whack with most of the rest of the movie which is kind of cartoonish and larger than life in its violence.

The movies finale involves the Vindicator battling a whole bunch of other dudes in battle suits. For whatever reason all these other dudes are less kick-arse than Carl, some of them being dispatched by the wife simply by having a protruding tube in their side ripped out. Luckily for Carl the suit he is wearing lacks this crucial design flaw. The only really memorable part toward the end is the death of Grier. Doing something I've never seen a baddie do in a movie before, in the middle of her confrontation with the Vindicator she decides she really doesn't stand a chance against him and in a rather of matter of fact manner blows her own brains out with his pistol.
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Kind of a Terminator rip-off.
Aaron13752 February 2004
I would also say it was a "Robocop" rip-off too, but it came out before it and for all I know "Robocop" stole from this movie, but I doubt it. A mediocre version of "The Terminator" that has a scientist involved in an accident and his brain and a few other parts are placed in this super robot body meant for space flight. When I think about that it also sounds a bit like "Darkman" doesn't it? The whole scientist in an accident thing. Anyway, this robot has his brain, but if he is touched or something the suit goes off and kills. The scientist has no control over it when it goes through these swings. If this isn't bad enough he is being chased by a really stupid bounty hunter woman. She hates men and would never let her self be killed by one. In fact, she would rather turn the gun on herself rather than be killed by the scientist in the suit. Of course, simply running away from the slow moving scientist never occurs to her, I guess she figured it would be easier to pull a trigger. There is an ending with our hero in quite a fight and then the very ending is kind of cruel. For some reason he is put on display or something.
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Here's How to Eat Popcorn from the 1980s
wes-connors25 June 2010
As a microphone disappears overhead, scientists in the "Primate Lab" division of "ARC" witness a monkey going ape. Meanwhile, at home, absent worker David McIlwraith (as Carl Lehman) tells barely pregnant Teri Austin (as Lauren Collins) he suspects boss Richard Cox (as Alex Whyte) is up to no good. Relatively unconcerned (at this point), Ms. Austin responds, "You wanna try for twins?" Running a tight ship (with jeans to match), Mr. Cox has already determined Mr. McIlwraith is a risk to his top secret "Project Frankenstein," and McIlwraith "dies" in a freak accident.

"The Vindicator" gives presenter Michael Levy and viewers an excellent bang for the buck.

As it turns out, the "accident" was staged, and McIlwraith isn't really, totally dead. Cox and company put his brain (and eyes) in an indestructible containment suit. But, the suit is equipped with a protective device making McIlwraith wantonly kill anything it perceives as a threat. Think of it as "The Terminator" meeting "The Hulk" (the script wisely offers the comparison). As you might imagine, punks and Cox had better beware, but Austin and innocents are in danger too. No dummy, Cox hires Pam Grier (as Hunter) to track down McIlwraith before he completes his revenge.

"The Vindicator" is a good example of what to do with a formulaic project and limited budget.

Director Jean-Claude Lord and the crew pace it very well. And the lead performers are terrific. In two of three sexy "R-rated" scenes, Austin shows more than she did on "Knits Landing" (and it's a welcome sight). Cox is one of those actors who never gets the caliber of parts he deserved (and it shows). Grier seems a little lost at first, but is fine on later auto-pilot (there couldn't have been many re-takes). Unrequited lover Maury Chaykin (as Burt Arthurs) plays his role just right. And, McIlwraith (whom you may have seen in "Hollow Man II") follows suit. Make some popcorn.

******* The Vindicator (2/14/86) Jean-Claude Lord ~ David McIlwraith, Teri Austin, Richard Cox, Pam Grier
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The Vindicator
Scarecrow-8830 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Scientist Carl Lehman(David McIlwraith),working on a special type of NASA space suit, demands to know why his funding has been cut off by colleague Alex Whyte(Richard Cox), threatening to expose his secret project. Whyte has a number of scientists devoted to a project which would create cybernetic humans, offering the possibility of eternal life. The catch..Whyte would have a remote which could order them to do what ever he so chooses, quite a wealth of power at his command. So, Whyte has scientist Ian(Stephen Mendel)set poor Carl up to be severely burned by a nuclear reactor, his body used as the first prototype for the super-powerful cybernetic man..a BIG mistake, because Carl is able to break free, his remote control mechanism unattached, leaving the facility, and out to endanger potential innocent lives because the single touch onto his body causes a negative hostile reaction that's fatal to the one responsible. Carl's brain still contains memories and certain feelings for his beloved wife, Lauren(Teri Austin), and anger/hostility for those who ruined his life forever. Whyte is quite worried that he'll spoil his future success and calls in an exterminator, Hunter(Pam Grier)who has "never lost to a man", a cold-blooded assassin that will eliminate anyone that may've witnessed something they shouldn't have. Carl believes his only ally, besides Lauren, is a fellow co-worker, Burt(Maury Chaykin), but even he might not be the friend he always though he was.

I'm a big fan of "human cyborg" films, contributed to my formidable teenage years watching popular sci-fi actioners, ROBOCOP & THE TERMINATOR, and I do believe THE VINDICATOR will appeal specifically to this crowd. The film also is a mad scientist movie as well with Cox well cast as the determined ARC industries boss yearning for the kind of universal control his project might eventually produce( controlling the cybernetic human, whose strength is a phenomenal asset, Whyte sees the unlimited potential for power). The true casting choice that will provide an allure for THE VINDICATOR is Pam Grier as a vicious killer who will snap the neck(..or put a long, thin needle all the way through young female witness' throat)of a woman who provides a threat to her employer's company without a second thought. McIlwraith is only seen for a minimum of five or so minutes before Whyte has him terminated, his eyes providing us with the only method to judge his feelings when his cyborg body goes into attack alert(..when he's touched by anything, an alert sounds off, beating faster and faster before trouble starts for those that antagonize him)..or when he takes his face guard/helmet off to reveal his scarred visage, reflected to his horror from a pool of water or store shop window. Those familiar with Maury Chaykin know that his characters are often never to be trusted, even when his Burt consoles Lauren(..actually Burt is lustfully obsessed with her, and his attempted rape/strangling of her is really disturbing).

No doubt, Whyte's team of scientists(..and his bounty hunter)are an assortment of ruthless, vile dreamers, willing to go to any lengths for their own success. That's what makes Carl's revenge so sweet. The 80's, interesting enough, featured films like these where revenge was so satisfying because the hero's opposition were such foul cretins worthy of the most violent death possible. The death toll here isn't extravagant, and the violence isn't as graphic as in ROBOCOP or TOTAL RECALL, but I think THE VINDICATOR has enough elements to please sci-fi buffs. A good point was made elsewhere regarding this movie coming before ROBOCOP so it shouldn't be labeled as a rip-off. Carl's robotic suit of armor(..after the golden NASA suit is burned away), in a bit of cool trivia, was made by Stan Winston's studio.
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Post-Terminator meets the Pre-Robocop
Maldarrin25 September 2006
This movie is an evolutionary piece - from Terminator to Robocop .

Stan Winston did the SPFX !

In this film, a scientist working in a sinister robotics company with a really creepy boss(they always are) gets is killed by them in a horrible lab explosion and has his brain placed inside an indestructible robot body .

The rest of this movie goes on with a romance angle as this Cyborg/Man regains consciousness and wreaks havoc while trying to communicate with his wife, played by the gorgeous(back then in 1986) Terri Austin . (He tries to reconnect with his old life, like in that scene in RoboCop)

The rest of this movie is about breaking things, while trying to defeat the evil his evil boss from recapturing him for some ill-defined 'turn humans into cyborgs' project .

This film pays homage to previous movies like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL - - as the cyborg breaks free like the giant robot Gort does .

Except for the 'Frankenstein Suite' designed by Stan Winston, this movie's production values are typically Canadian: SLEAZY ! !

Pam Grier stars in this film as an hired killer-commando, a cheap role of the likes she was doing so much of during the 80's .

As for a Sci-Fi Horror B movie, out of 4 Stars, this film ranks about a <3
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Bland Sci-Fi Nonsense...
MetalGeek15 December 2009
"The Vindicator" is a weird little Canadian B-Movie. At first glance it would appear to be just another cheap (extremely cheap!) "Terminator" knockoff, but strangely enough it also shares some qualities with the original "RoboCop," which hadn't even been released yet when "Vindicator" appeared (1986). Coincidence? Who knows? Anyway, the story is thus: scientist Carl Lehman seems to be a pretty nice guy who works for a super duper secret government high-tech research lab, reporting to a sleazy boss named Whyte, whom he butts heads with about project funding early in the movie. Carl's got a loving wife at home and a baby on the way, which makes it all the more tragic when he is suddenly killed in a "lab accident." But wait! Carl's not really dead after all! Whyte has extracted Carl's brain and inserted it into his pet project, some sort of experimental bio-mechanical space suit. When Carl wakes up inside his new body, he understandably goes a little nuts, trashes the lab, and escapes. This is a problem because Whyte (for reasons known only to himself) has programmed the mechanical suit with a "Rage Reaction" program, which will cause Carl to kill anybody who touches him for any reason. In hindsight, that little addition to Carl's psyche was probably not the best idea.

So Robo-Carl wanders aimlessly through the movie for a while, killing a couple of random muggers and other assorted background characters, till he returns to his home and contacts his wife (this scene is supposed to be heartbreakingly touching, I guess, but turns out comical because Carl's robot voice is so heavily synthesized that you can barely understand a word he says). He of course tells her to leave the city and never come back because she's in danger, but she wants to stay and help him, yadda yadda yadda. Eventually Whyte hires a gang of commando thugs led by "Hunter," an apparent ninja assassin played by Pam Grier (!)to hunt down and destroy his runaway creation, using Carl's wife as bait, and predictable (but laughably cheap looking) mayhem ensues.

I'm a B-Movie kind of guy but "The Vindicator" was so half-assed that it turned into high comedy pretty quickly. I'm assuming that a good hunk of the budget went into Stan Winston's robo-Carl suit design, because that actually looks pretty cool, but the rest of the movie suffers from a cheap, made-for-TV kind of look. The script could've used a LOT more work, but then maybe the filmmakers had gotten wind of "RoboCop" going into production and rushed to get "Vindicator" out so they couldn't be accused of ripping them off. Either way, judging by the other comments here on IMDb, I'm not the only one who's noticed the parallels between "Vindicator" and "RoboCop," and obviously "Robo" is the superior film, so there's no need to waste your time sitting through this piece of nonsense unless you want to see a film that can best be described, at best, as a rough draft of "RoboCop" if it were made by an 8th grader.
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Hard to find sci-fi horror cyborg action.
Paul Andrews1 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Vindicator start as ARC, Aerospace Research Corporation, research scientist Carl Lehman (David McIlwraith) is killed in a laboratory explosion after he confronts his corrupt boss Alex Whyte (Richard Cox) about missing money. Carl's pregnant wife Lauren (Teri Austin) is devastated but thinks that's the end of the matter, however Alex & several other ARC scientists pool their research in order to create a living cybernetic robot that contains Carl's brain that is intended to explore Mars. Unfortunately the remote control device is disconnected from Carl & manages to escape the research facility & contacts Lauren, enraged about what has been done to him by his fellow scientists Carl decides to use his almost limitless strength & robotic power to take revenge on those who did this to him. Meanwhile Whyte calls in Hunter (Pam Grier) an assassin to cover the mess & bodies left behind as well as track Carl down & bring him in...

This American Canadian co-production was directed by Jean-Claude Lord who had previously made the Canadian slasher Visiting Hours (1982) & is still directing even now, anyway this being the first of January 2010 The Vindicator is in fact not only the first film of 2010 that I have seen but the first film of the new decade & while it's not a bad way to kick start my exploitation viewing for the next ten years I wouldn't exactly call it a classic. The Vindicator is a pretty obscure film & one I would actually like to know more about in terms of it's production since the IMDb lists a release date of 1986 but the copyright date on the credits says 1984 (I think & the IMDb itself lists the production date as from October 1984 to November 1985) & it was originally called Frankenstein '88 until the huge success of The Terminator (1984) which probably made Twentieth Century Fox pick it for distribution & release it theatrically in the US & certainly influenced the change of title to The Vindicator which sounds a lot like The Terminator doesn't it? As far as the film itself goes you can clearly see that The Vindicator was a modern take on the Frankenstein story, several character's refer to Frankenstein by name & the idea of saving someone's brain & transplanting it is taken directly from Frankenstein. At 90 odd minutes in length it has a good pace, it moves along quickly enough, there are one or two memorable scenes especially the fiery first appearance of the Vindicator & it has a certain sleazy seriousness to it, there are a couple of minor plot twists & overall it's an entertaining piece of sci-fi action horror that is strangely obscure & not that well known. Of course the film isn't perfect, using the guy's brain who you have just murdered seems like a foolish idea, there's no real logical reason as to why Carl is programmed to kill or destroy anything that even touches him or why he makes a silly bleep bleep noise when he's in rage mode & there's no explanation given at the end as to how Whyte manages to become a cyborg in the space of ten minutes with no help from anyone.

There's a real early 80's vibe going on here with the fashions, laboratory equipment & decor but it has a level of seriousness that sort of works & it hasn't dated too badly everything considered. I quite liked the casio keyboard synthesiser music too with loads of chimes going on in the background. The effects are pretty good, the robot suit looks a bit clunky at times & a bit too much like plastic but it looks alright & the unmasking scene in the Church is cool as he reveals his face beneath the mask which has no lips or upper skull & his brain is visible. There's some gore like a needle through someones throat & some action scenes including several exploding cars, it's just a shame the action scenes aren't staged that well. There's also an unpleasant sexual assault which almost certainly was the footage that the BBFC cut from the UK tape back when it was released over here. The film feels a lot like Robocop (1987) & the same sorts of themes & ideas are present in both although The Vindicator was shot at least a few years before. Maybe I am just thinking out loud here or guessing but around 1980 an adaptation of Frankenstein was announced to be directed by legendary Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg (even as far as advance ads appearing in magazines) but it ultimately never got made & I am wondering if The Vindicator is what that project eventually turned into, I mean the Frankenstein themes are there & Pierre David was involved in both as a producer.

A lot of reviews comment on this being low budget but with a budget of almost $4,500,000 back in the early eighties this was probably quite well funded for the time. The end credits list Montréal as it's filming location. The acting is OK with Pam Grier the only real recognisable name in the cast.

The Vindicator is a film I liked, I liked the modern (80's anyway) updating of the classic Frankenstein themes & thought it was a good little sci-fi horror film with some good action. Sure, it isn't any sort of masterpiece but I think most exploitation fans will be happy with this largely ignored & forgotten effort.
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Wham Bam, Frankenstein Spaceman!
Coventry10 January 2010
A remark that I've often encountered in reviews for "The Vindicator" is that this film is sort of like a knock-off of a "Robocop" even though it got released one year prior to the release of Paul Verhoeven's classic Sci-Fi movie. And the comparison is justified, too, even if "The Vindicator" was actually intended to be a cash-in on the success of "The Terminator" because that movie immensely popularized the formula of murderous cyborgs. So you see; the exploitation cinema industry is actually a very small world. "The Vindicator" is a quite gritty, fast- paced and mean spirited Sci-Fi slash horror hybrid with an admirably high amount of action and a handful of impressive low-budget special effects that are the courtesy of Stan Winston studios. Carl Lehman is a gifted scientist working for the greedy industrialist Alex Whyte, but when he complains about the budgetary restrictions for his research one day, Carl mysteriously dies in a lab explosion. Whyte and a few of his associates incorporate his brain and body into a hi-tech developed space suit to create the very first indestructible cyborg. Carl escapes before they can implant the temper remote control, however, which makes him a lethal killing machine that destroys everyone who even briefly touches him. While Cyborg-Carl attempts to get in contact with his mourning wife, Alex Whyte hires the female mercenary Hunter to destroy him. You can clearly spot how "The Vindicator" quickly got altered, with some re- writes of the plot here and there, to look more like "The Terminator". The film was initially intended as a modernized version of the legendary Frankenstein premise, but then the creators opted to make it a grim and darkly atmospheric cyborg slasher. The cyborg operation is still called "Project Frankenstein" and the alternative title "Frankenstein '88" was kept as well. The film benefices from a bleak and unsettling atmosphere and gratefully the plot never really leans towards sentimentality, what with the sub plot of Carl Lehman expecting a child. There are a couple of very gruesome murders (one guy is even crushed alive in his car) and gratuitous moments of sleazy and misogyny. Cult siren Pam Grier steals the acting show as Hunter. She's a seriously mean and ill-tempered mother who doesn't really hesitate to eliminate innocent bystanders.
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pardy_travis16 April 2003
Ok, it's not "craptacular", I just wanted to use the line. I just don't know what the other reviewers are raving about, as this is just not GOOD. The movie does have great special effects and acting, IN COMPARISON to 80's sci-fi Canadian efforts. However, they don't stand up when compared to other films of the same time in the same genre (and Canadian science fiction in the 80's is kind of a narrow field anyway, right?) Even animated films like Akira beat it. Budget-conscious editing and production is apparent but forgivable, as the crew did do a great job with the money given to them (probably the loose change out of George Lucas' wallet). The performances give what is demanded of them, undoubtedly, but the movie has a plot as see-through as the (very bizarre) goop the main character gets trapped in. I'm not saying it's a bad movie, but it's not good either. It's certainly nothing to build Canadian sci-fi around (we still have someone named David Cronenberg), and if Atom Egoyan ever put his massive brain into this genre we'd get something really wonderful. In short, go rent it, give it a shot. It won't live up to the fantastic title, but you might enjoy it for what it is. An 80's Canadian sci-fi movie.
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He'll stop at nothing… to see you dead.
mylimbo23 November 2008
Maybe I was expecting a little too much from it, but 'The Vindicator' was a so-so Canadian low-budget get-up of a half-human / robot on the rampage for revenge against those who did him wrong. While being tacky, junky and trashy all rolled into one, it just didn't rally up the thrills like it could have done. The story is pure comic-book stuff with some outrageous inclusions and can be loosely tied to the 'Frankenstein' story. But the main cause of interest, and it's been thrown around was how it could be seen as a minor blueprint for Paul Verhoeven's superior 'Robocop (1987)'.

Comparisons aside (which on the other hand James Cameron's 'Terminator (1984)' could've been an influencer to it), it's standard b-grade ho-huh that I didn't find it all that exciting or gripping in it's bland story-telling (which had too many daft moments in a wonky script) and uniformed visuals. Director Jean-Claude Lord's (who was also behind the 1982 slasher 'Visiting Hours') handling is crudely makeshift and the pacing can get blotchy, but the grimy atmosphere and cold-blooded violence (at least the deaths are creative) seems to fit. However the premise had something original to work with, but the way Lord went about it wasn't. At times it seemed to get too mushy with some unwanted details, where I wished it kept to a more straight-forward, but harrowing revenge exploitation path.

Iconic cult actress Pam Grier appears as a hired gun to destroy the cyborg, but even her firebrand presence isn't all that flammable. David McIlwraith cruises through his part as the scientist turned machine. Richard Cox is perfectly snake-like in his performance, but the pick of the bunch is Teri Austin's gallant turn. The always dependable Stan Winston vividly crafts out the space-suit wearing cyborg and make-up FX with great care, and is one of the film's major highlights. Paul Zaza's music score starts off effective, to only go on to be mainly forgettable.
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