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The Vindicator (1986)

An employee of a secret company operation becomes the victim of the company's special weapons project. He is transformed into a robotic killing machine that, because of his programming must... See full summary »


Jean-Claude Lord


Edith Rey (original screenplay), David Preston (original screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David McIlwraith David McIlwraith ... Carl Lehman / Frankenstein
Teri Austin ... Lauren Lehman
Richard Cox ... Alex Whyte
Pam Grier ... Hunter
Maury Chaykin ... Burt Arthurs
Catherine Disher ... Catherine Collins
Stephen Mendel ... Ian Massey
Micki Moore ... Mrs. Jan Scott
Larry Aubrey Larry Aubrey ... Kurt Kessler
Lynda Mason Green Lynda Mason Green ... Gail Vernon
Denis Simpson Denis Simpson ... Joe Simpson
Caroline Arnold Caroline Arnold ... Lisa, Massey's Girl
John Zobolles John Zobolles ... Paper Boy
Trevor Daves Trevor Daves ... Lab Security Guard #1
Carl Knutson Carl Knutson ... Lab Security Guard #2


An employee of a secret company operation becomes the victim of the company's special weapons project. He is transformed into a robotic killing machine that, because of his programming must destroy anything that comes near him. Written by Michael Silva <silvamd@cleo.bc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They thought they took his life...now he wants theirs. Invincible. Unstoppable. Indestructible. He's out on the street and out of control!


Action | Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frankenstein '88 See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada


Box Office


$4,210,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Carl Lehman: I reprogrammed myself in the computer room - I don't have to kill anymore!
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User Reviews

Bland Sci-Fi Nonsense...
15 December 2009 | by MetalGeekSee all my reviews

"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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