Shout! Factory // 1991 // 100 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // November 4th, 2013
They gave her looks.
Everything but an "off" switch.
After years of research and millions of taxpayer dollars, a secret section of the government has finally created the world's first humanoid robot. Her name is Eve VIII (Renee Soutendijk, Spetters) and she's blonde, beautiful, and fully ready to detonate! When Eve escapes her scientific creator (also played by Soutendijk) and goes on a crazy rampage -- retaining the personality and essence of her creator -- the military brings in one of the best counter terrorists they can find to take her down: Col. Jim McQuade (the late Gregory Hines, Running Scared). The bad news is that Eve VIII doesn't really have an 'off' switch and has been outfitted with a nuclear device that could wipe out dozens of city blocks in the blink of an eye. With time running out and Eve's emotional state slowly going on the fritz, McQuade has only hours to find Eve VIII before she has one of the deadliest emotional meltdowns this side of Britney Spears!
1991's Eve of Destruction is what I lovingly refer to as a 'Video Box Movie'. By that I mean that I spotted the VHS box over and over and over again at Blockbuster video stores during my formative years, yet never had a chance to watch the movie. I know of the film only through its lurid cover of Gregory Hines pointing a laser scoped gun at me in front of an attractive blonde woman. How I missed this movie I'll never know. Eve of Destruction is fascinating for the fact that A.) it is a science fiction action movie that B.) stars Gregory Hines, most notable as a tap/ballet dancer from the drama White Nights. When you think of movie stars running through "large fireball explosions" or dodging "rapid uzi gunfire", the guy who co-starred in a dancing movie with Mikhail Baryshnikov is usually not the first person to come to mind. It's sort of like making a romantic comedy starring Robert Englund in full Freddy Krueger make-up.
I'm not sure what kind of movie director Duncan Gibbons (Fire with Fire) meant to make. In a way, Eve of Destruction sort of defies description. It's kind of a science fiction movie, a little bit of a B-grade horror flick, sort of an action picture, somewhat a slasher film, and a bit of a police procedural. Oh, and it's got a little comedy thrown in just for good measure. It's a mash up of many different elements, none of which totally gel. Eve of Destruction reminded me a lot of the sci-fi alien movie Species, where a group of military men/scientists/detectives must hunt down a girl named Eve who is far more dangerous than anyone could imagine. The major difference is that in Species Eve is a lizard-like alien while in Eve of Destruction she's a cybernetic organism retrofitted with a nuclear bomb. Potato, po-tah-toe.
Although Gregory Hines isn't associated with action movies, he actually acquits himself quite well in Eve of Destruction. Hines carries the film with his sleepy-eyed delivery and snappy comebacks (honed on such films as Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I). Renee Soutendijk -- an actress unknown to me until seeing Eve of Destruction -- has the thankless task of playing both Eve's scientific creator and Eve herself. Soutendijk is able to give each character separate personalities, although Eve VIII's character seems to consist of being befuddled, angry, or super horny. Showing up in supporting roles are the always dependable Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters II) as one of the men helping to track down Eve and a babbling Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) as one of Eve's eventual victims. Both men come from a rare breed of actor who elevate any movie just by showing up.
The screenplay by Gibbons and television writer Yale Udoff (Tales from the Crypt) consist of Eve going to great lengths to dispatch those she deems a threat. Sometimes she rams them off the road. Other times she chomps off their penis in one large bite. What I'm trying to say is you just never know how Eve'll treat you, especially your genitals. Eve of Destruction is filled with dialogue that would be groaningly terrible if it weren't so entertaining, like the gem, "So, this device of yours is horny as well as psychopathic?" This is a movie that throws everything at the screen including the kitchen sink, plus your neighbor's garage, and possibly your German Shepherd. You've got to give the movie points for trying even if it doesn't always succeed.
Eve of Destruction is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. Scream Factory's output on their older catalog titles is often superior, and their transfer for Eve of Destruction is no slouch. Although this transfer isn't sparkling clean, it does look very good with bright colors and solid black levels. A few imperfections show up in the image from time to time, but for a movie nearly 25 years old, this looks pretty good. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo in English and is adequate. This isn't a very exciting audio mix, and is mostly front heavy without any boisterous moments (a few explosions and gun fire is the loudest it gets). Directional effects and surround sounds are kept to a bare minimum. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are included on this disc.
Scream Factory's releases usually include a nice array of extra features. Unfortunately, Eve of Destruction isn't one of those titles; the only supplement included in this package is a single theatrical trailer for the film.
What I'm trying to say is this: Eve of Destruction is cheesy, ridiculous, schizophrenic, and never, ever boring. Some nights you just can't ask for much more than that in a movie.
Not great, but if you're watching at 3:00 AM, it gets the job done.
Review content copyright © 2013 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Rated R