For the motive behind MANDROID one must go back a few years in the career of prolific B-movie producer Charles Band (PUPPET MASTER, TRANCERS, SUBSPECIES). Band met with Marvel Comics mastermind Stan Lee over licensing some of Marvel's lesser-ranked superheroes (for instance, "Ant-Man")
for feature film adaptations through Band's company, Full Moon Entertainment. Band later said he realized right away that he didn't have to pay for any comic-book leftovers as long as he could spin Marvel-grade concepts from his own imagination. Out went Ant-Man and in came DOLLMAN, based on the
same basic premise of a miniature hero. Marvel's occultist Doctor Strange found no refuge at Full Moon, but a lookalike called DR. MORDRID did.
And so on to MANDROID, a shapeless but lively springboard for not one but two separate fantasy franchises. Set in Romania (like many recent Band productions), the underpopulated plot has a handful of American and former Warsaw Pact scientists squabbling over who in the post-Soviet era will
benefit from Supercon, a formula that, depending on who is talking, can cure all known diseases, provide limitless clean energy, make people invisible or become a terrible weapon.
Hardliner Dr. Ivan Drago (Curt Lowens) tries to sabotage the deal and steal Supercon, but it blows up in his face and turns him into the usual scarred, skulking villain. He continues terrorizing the good guys with his heavy-duty lab assistant--Mandroid, a remote-controlled humanoid robot the
user can manipulate via thought power alone. There ensues skullduggery and shootouts between Mandroid and local militia before Drago is temporarily thwarted by heroic Dr. Wade Franklin (Brian Cousins). But the battle leaves Franklin a paraplegic, and the ending finds him learning to wield Mandroid
from his wheelchair. Meanwhile another scientist, Benjamin Knight (Michael Dellafemina), got slimed with Supercon in an earlier fight, rendering him transparent. A title card promises/threatens "The Adventure Continues in INVISIBLE: THE CHRONICLES OF BENJAMIN KNIGHT."
MANDROID recalls not so much a comic book as an old-time thrill-a-minute serial, with enough going on to hold one's attention through the feature's brief running time. Mandroid, looking like the creature from ALIEN stuffed into a scuba suit, is less than awe-inspiring, but it gets the job done.
The cast of East Bloc types look incongruously American, with the exceptions of Drago's Igor-like henchman and Patrick Ersgard as a CIA sneak named Joe Smith, who keeps switching sides, depending on who's winning. He and Igor wind up pumping bullets into each other long after both are mortally
wounded, a neat but belated Cold War metaphor. Aside from violence the film is refreshingly free of the profanity and sleaze that plague other Full Moon features, up until a tacky epilogue that finds the grotesque Drago in bed with a topless prostitute. It's a safe bet that the now-invisible
Benjamin Knight will be no stranger to the ladies' locker room. (Violence, nudity.)
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Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1993
- Rating: NR
- Review: For the motive behind MANDROID one must go back a few years in the career of prolific B-movie producer Charles Band (PUPPET MASTER, TRANCERS, SUBSPECIES). Band met with Marvel Comics mastermind Stan Lee over licensing some of Marvel's lesser-ranked superhe… (more)