Troma // 1983 // 99 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 5th, 2003
"We're dealing with someone with the ability of upsetting the balance between good and evil in the world. As impossible as it seems, we need a man with the guts and the ability to restore that balance"
"I see. So you need...a stabilizer."
When the opening credits splash on the screen and the viewer is treated to a "Punjab Brothers" feature, presenting a film directed by "Arizal," with the theme song belted out by "A.J.," one know a unique experience lies ahead...or, perhaps, lies in ambush, poised to steal 99 minutes from the said viewer's life and hold it in front of him or her, mockingly. The Stabilizer falls into the latter category, although there is some bottom shelf D-movie fun to be had here.
Peter Goldson (Peter O'Brian), sporting an astonishing perm/mullet and a plunging V-neck, finds himself in Indonesia, sniffing the trail of his arch-nemesis, Greg Rainmaker (Craig Ravin) and his Golden Triangle narcotics syndicate. There he teams with Sylvia Nash (Gillie Beanz -- ?!!) and Captain Johnny (Harry Capry) to track down a professor, kidnapped by Rainmaker. The professor has created something called the "narcotic detector," which is not described in even the remotest detail, and its function is only delineated by its fairly straightforward name. Goldson, oh, pardon me, The Stabilizer, drinks up the lay of the land while avoiding 15 MPH car chases, goon squads of uncoordinated punch-magnets, and an amazing number of vehicles being driven through walls. Along the way, his passions are inflamed by the professor's homely, ill-fitting bikini prone daughter Christina Provost (Dana Christina).
Goldson shoulders a vendetta against Rainmaker, who raped and kicked to death the future Missus The Stabilizer in a flashback with no transition, and carries that with him through long, long fight scenes to the final, violent showdown at Rainmaker's compound.
Anyone popping this disc into his or her player -- unless deceased -- should have zero notions that this will be anything other than a movie to viciously deride. I mean, "The Stabilizer?" At first glance the name may sound cool, but think about it -- wasn't that the doohickey that always broke on the Millennium Falcon? The question stands then: does the film succeed as a good time with wise-cracking, potentially inebriated, friends? Well, more or less, with more "less" than "more."
Here are some observations:
1) There is a decent amount of action here. I have found that these early '80s "action" movies often degenerate into one or two brouhahas flanked by endless dialogue that advances a threadbare plot. However, here, the fight scenes are copious; watch as The Stabilizer body-slams one thug after another, coming out nearly scratch-free, his imposing coiffure hardly disturbed! Though most fights feature bad guys tossed into boxes, there are a few nice, gory moments. One unlucky fella falls into the weed whacker he just dropped and a flume of blood jets out (though, last time I checked, most weed whackers employ a little, plastic line to cut, not deadly steel; eh, maybe the guy was a hemophiliac).
2) The "Vehicles Driving Through Walls" motif. I'm not sure exactly what this motif represents, but let me tell you this: there are a lot of vehicles driven through walls. These include a pick-up truck, a forklift, and two motorcycles (one of which is driven by The Stabilizer, who then proceeds to punch bad guys in the face with the front wheel, I kid you not).
3) The laughable tactics by The Stabilizer and crew and Rainmaker. In a covert rescue mission at night, Goodson (looking more and more throughout the movie like David Hasselhoff on heroin withdrawal) and company plan an attack on a warehouse to retrieve the professor. Provost, the professor's daughter, arrives, not in dark clothes like one would think, but clad in a bright red and yellow get-up that smacks less like "clandestine assault force" and more "unemployed McDonald's commercial extra." Hilarious. Rainmaker fails to capitalize on this shortsightedness, however, choosing to employ as his defense force lots and lots of idiots, led by the winner of the Indonesian Mr. T. look-alike contest, whose fighting ability seems to be severely limited by his ridiculously tight jeans. When the action shifts to Rainmaker's "heavily fortified" island compound, The Stabilizer and his merry band of Stabilites breach the airtight defenses (read: some clowns on bright-colored boats and the Rainmaker's torpedo system that couldn't hone in on the Great Barrier Reef).
4) That crazy guy who eats live lizards. Can't do this one justice.
5) The clothing accessories of the Golden Triangle henchmen -- large, dangly golden triangle earrings. These guys must be such bad-asses (or not -- see number 3) they're just daring people to insult them. The strategy of these earrings on battle-hardened thugs strikes me not so much as "intimidation" but "I-can't-shoot-these-morons-because-I'm-laughing-so-hard-oops-they-just-shot-me." Regardless, The Stabilizer was not impressed, believe me.
All this mayhem leads to the inevitable confrontation at the Rainmaker stronghold, complete with rampant gunfire, bad guys falling into boxes, a double-cross, a tragic death, two unnecessarily creative, easily-escapable executions, an unwelcome helicopter stowaway, and a vehicle or two -- yep, you guessed it -- being driven through walls.
This is a Troma re-release of an old movie, so the video quality is maybe a hair better than VHS. And actually, toward the end the picture, things gets really weird, when it appears that two separate scenes were pieced together in a restoration endeavor. Putrid yes, but fitting of the movie. Audio is mono, with dialogue sounding like a separate entity just pasted on -- almost like a voice-over throughout. Music...yeah, gotta love those Casio keyboards.
Extras include several trailers for other Troma releases as well as spots for Lloyd Kaufman's book "Make Your Own Damn Movie" and Troma.com.
Uh...this movie blows? In the land of B-Movie action crap The Stabilizer may hold its own, but back in reality, the only people getting a kick out of this will be frat boys under house arrest.
Okay, for a film to throw in and ridicule with your stupid friends, you can do worse than The Stabilizer, but don't think for a moment that any other sentient, bipedal organism wouldn't rather undergo gum surgery for two hours.
All those involved with the production of The Stabilizer are free to abandon all hopes of further employment in the film and entertainment industry and look into local Indonesian community colleges for alternative career choices. Peter O'Brian is hereby ordered to change the spelling of his last name.
Review content copyright © 2003 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Trailers: The Stabilizer, Citizen Toxie, Eve's Beach Fantasy
* "Make Your Own Damn Movie" Spot