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Case Number 14715

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Syngenor: Special Edition

Synapse // 1990 // 98 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 10th, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson and Syngenor go together like oil and water.

Editor's Note

Our review of Syngenor, published January 7th, 2004, is also available.

The Charge

Product of science. Nightmare from Hell!

Opening Statement

Hey, you know what would hit the spot right about now? A low-budget, 18 year-old movie about a man in a rubber suit punching smarmy corporate executives in the face. And look, here comes Syngenor! Happy day!

Facts of the Case

SYNthesized GENetic ORganism = SYNGENOR! Despite his unwieldy name, the fearsome creature Syngenor is…well, clunky and unwieldy, but at least someone had the good sense to spring for a bigass rubber suit to stuff some poor stagehand into.

Syngenor was created as the ultimate super-soldier to wage war in the Middle East on America's behalf. These creatures are gigantic, slightly-reptilian, butt-ugly creations with super strength, pointy teeth, and can reproduce asexually. Their weakness: Vases with flowers in them!

Investigating this threat to all of mankind-that-don't-live-in-a-country-filled-with-flowering-plants is our dynamic duo: a hapless reporter and the spunky daughter of a slain executive Who Got Too Close.

The Evidence

Syngenor has its moments, particularly towards the end when all Hell breaks loose, as the creatures square off against a battalion of dorks in hardhats and plastic cod-pieces. But overall there's not a whole lot to recommend to anyone other than the committed B-movie nut. Then again, that's probably the exact demographic Synapse is marketing this disc to.

Anyway, since I'm feeling pretty good from a tasty bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats and blueberries, we're going to start with the high points.

The Creature Effects
…are actually kind of cool. In this age of over-dependence on half-baked visual effects, I can get on board with any film that—no matter how micro-budgeted and cheesy—utilizes practical gags. The Syngenor creatures are straight-up men-in-suits, stumbling around in their awkward, rubber contraptions and growling a lot. There's charm to that, for sure, especially when they're clinging to car roofs or taking a blast of laser cannon fire straight to their silly little faces.

The Gore Effects
Also practical. Much liquid, prosthetics, and slime typically utilized for the after-effects of the Syngenor attack. An honorable mention goes to the finale, when our heroes take on like 20 of them with the goofy laser beam gun, sending Syngenor mucus and body parts flying every which way. And then, at the end, Giant Mutated Half-Life 2 Syngenor shows up to distribute some sweet, head-popping, slop-spewing justice.

The Atmosphere
It's an intangible, but I dig the B-movie, cheap-o feel of the whole thing. Maybe it's the fact that it flashes me back to the days of USA's Up All Night. I guess you can call it nerd-stalgia.

Now the low points.

The Ridiculous Acting
I can listen to an argument that the scenery-chewing line-reading fits snugly in with the B-movie atmosphere, but I would ask you to spend some time really soaking up the tour de force David Gale vomits forth as the CEO who goes bat-@#$% insane. And what's with the bunny rabbit mask at the end?

The Painful, Prior-to-the-Slime-Drenched-Finale Pacing
Until Syngenor gets his groove back, you're looking at an awful lot of exposition and flat dialogue.

The Aquanet
…and big lady glasses. Lots of both. It's amazing there were any births in 1990.

Overall, Syngenor: Special Edition is worth tracking down for fans of the killer rubber monster genre. There's enough corny fun to be had and director George Elanjian Jr. doesn't skimp on the fluids.

A nice treatment from Synapse: A clean, if muted 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and a front-loaded 5.1 Dolby Surround audio mix, three low-impact behind-the-scenes featurettes (three?!), a photo gallery, filmographies, and an audio commentary by actress Starr Andreeff, writer Brent V. Friedman, and producer Jack F. Murphy.

Closing Statement

Decent little creature feature with some fun moments. But that's about all Syngenor is.

The Verdict

Not Guiltenor.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 85
Acting: 75
Story: 75
Judgment: 76

Perp Profile

Studio: Synapse
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
• None
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Featurettes
• Still Gallery
• Filmographies


• IMDb

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