Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (1990)

Written and Directed by Damian Lee

In a nutshell: Middle-aged actors portray Cyborg cops from the planet Sardacian fighting over the Anti-Life Equation.

Run Time: 90 minutes

Classic Quote:

Father So what makes you think you can locate my 4-by-4?

Abraxas My box has VD.

Mother What?!

Abraxas VD: Vibrational Detection.

 

Jess "The Body" Ventura Abraxas (Jesse Ventura)

Abraxas is the aging, rather ineffective, “Finder” sent out to destroy the Comater before the Anti-Life Equation can destroy the universe…or something.

Sven-Ole Thorsen Secundas (Sven-Ole Thorsen)

Secundas, Abraxas’s ex-partner, is the Bad Cop of the pair. Thirsty for power, he lets nothing get in his way, unless it’s a quick stop to a strip-club after kicking Abraxas’s ass yet again.

Marjorie Bransfield Sonia Murray (Marjorie Bransfield)

Poor Sonia, impregnated with a wave of Secundas’s glowing hand on a cold winter evening, she’s forced to raise Tommy alone and try to puzzle out his true nature before falling in love with a 10,000 year old robot named Abraxas.

Francis Mitchell Tommy “Comator” Murray (Francis Mitchell)

The Comater and carrier of the Anti-Life Equation (just go with it for now), is Sucundas’s mute son who posseses the power to destroy the universe but also likes to make school-yard bullies piss themselves with the power of his mind.

Open with a voice over from Jesse Ventura, aka Abraxas:

"Have you ever been vaulted? It involves re-enforcement of skeletal and muscle structures by short wave irradiation and ozone layering to zero point two three."

I think we can already safely say that this movie is not afraid of laying on the scientific-gobbledy-goop. In the background we see Abraxas laying on a table shuddering as he’s "vaulted"…"Very painful" he adds as a side note. Yeah, I got that.

Anyway, a bit of back story reveals that Abraxas is a 10,000 year old cop from the planet Sardacian. These super-cops refer to themselves as "Finders", but what they actually spend their time finding is unclear. Bad guys? Bad movies? I’m just kind of going with the flow for now. (Over the years I’ve learned that "Going with the Flow" is a smart movie-watching strategy for most of the films on this web site.)

He’s from another planet, see?

"Finders are the cops of the Universe," Abraxas continues as the credits roll, "but sometimes they go renegade!"

Cut to a snow covered forest where Abraxas is firing his silly looking laser pistol at…something. Ah, OK, Abraxas’s ex-partner, Secundus, appears to have gone "renegade" and is running through the trees returning fire. After a desultory exchange of laser fire, Secundus trundles off into the undergrowth and….Abraxas immediately loses him even though there must be a trail of footprints about a mile long to follow. Apparently, on the planet Sardacian the word "Finder" implies something else than finding.

Sniper-scope equipped pistol? Check!

Meanwhile, not too far away from the "action", Sonia is making out with her beau in a parked car in the freezing cold. (You’d think they’d have enough sense to at least find a warm sofa somewhere in their parent’s basement like I used to.) In fact, so engaged are these 2 youngsters in their amorous activities that neither notices the burly space man walking up to the car before it’s too late. "I need you’re body," Secundus growls to Sonia as he hurls her boyfriend into the snow and steals the car. (This dude is literally a "throw away" character as nobody ever mentions him again. I just love the way people are written into, and immediately out of, these cheap sci-fi flicks.)

Not too far behind, Abraxas gives chase as his radio crackles in his ear, "Secundus is in possession of a fertile birthing member of the species!" As Secundus gleefully rams Abraxas, Sonia deftly dives out of the passenger door and runs off into the snowy forests. Secundus gives chase and quickly corners Sonia along an icy river bank where he rubs his glowing hand on her midriff. "DNA fusion complete…reproduction will commence," a robotic voice tells us. (It would have been funny as hell if Secundus had lit up a cigarette at this point, alas, a missed opportunity…)

Secundus and his Glowing Hand of Impregnation

While Secundus bathes in a post pseudo-coitous glow, Abraxas finally shows up to arrest him. Sorry to beat a dead horse so early in the review, but what took him so long? I’m no Finder, but jeez, couldn’t he have just followed the tracks in the snow?!

After slapping on the virtual cuffs, Abraxas asks him why he did it. "The key is the birth of the Comater. The Comater can compute the Anti-Life Equation," Secundus explains. Maybe a Galactic Guardian like Abraxas should have already known this, but whatever. Sooooo…Abraxas orders down a "Travel Warp" and Secundus is whisked away to "prison planet Tiraina".

Travel Warp-in’ to Tiraina

After Secundus disappears, Abraxas learns from HQ that Sonia’s child is carrying the Anti-Life Equation and he must kill her before the child is born or else the universe will end, or some such nonsense…but generally bad things will happen. (Man, it seems like Headquarters has to tell this guy everything.) Anyhoo, Sonia is trudging through the snow but soon collapses under a tree and goes into labor! Daaaaammmmmn, Secundus, muh man! A tense moment ensues as Abraxas walks up to her, follows his orders, and kills both her and the child.

The End.

Yeah, right.

Nope, Abraxas blatantly disobeys his lawful orders, turns around and walks away. Seriously, is this guy a great Finder or what?

Back up at dispatch, Commander Dar can’t believe his eyes. "He didn’t do it! The Comater is born!"

Uh oh.

Guardian of the Universe Headquarters. No, seriously.

Later that morning, Sonia finally makes it back home with her kid, with not the slightest hint of hypothermia on either of them. Naturally, her parents press her regarding the child’s father’s…which is completely ludicrous since she went on a date that very night, not pregnant! (Again, nobody presumes that her boyfriend could be the father, nor does Sonia even seem to be concerned with his well being.) Sonia repeats over and over that she really doesn’t know who the father is, so, being a compassionate man, Sonia’s father kicks her out of the house. Nice.

Face time with the Comater

Cut to a nice stream flowing through the wintry landscape, I guess we’ve jumped to the next day…then narration starts:

"It’s been five years since Tommy was born…"

What?! Five years?!

Sure enough, we watch Sonia playing with her son, Tommy, interspersed with scenes of explosions (!)…which means who knows what.

Cut to a doctor’s office where we learn that Tommy hasn’t started talking yet because…oh wait, never mind, enough of that I guess…Cut to Space Headquarters where Commanders Dar and Hite discuss Secundus’ recent escape from Tiraina. Sheesh, aren’t prison planets supposed to be, you know, secure? And now, OK, I get it. The explosions previously shown were supposed to be shots of Secundus escaping prison, but how in the hell were we supposed to know that?!

"How did he escape?" asks Abraxas.

"We don’t know," answers Hite. Ahhhh, well, I guess that’s case closed then.

"The child is capable of unconsciously calculating the Anti-Life Equation and Secundus is capable is ripping it right out of his brain," Dar adds.

"Can you latch me onto Secundus’ warp?" Abraxas asks, and before you know it, he’s returned to Earth to kill the Comater before it’s too late. But, ooops Abraxas’s "travel warp stream" crosses with Secundus’ stream, or something, so Abraxas is stripped of all his equipment except his "Answer Box". Yep, Travel Warp stream crossing will do that.

(You’d think that they would have perfected Travel Warping after 10,000 years, but there you go…)

We next see Secundus walking through the woods again, and I’m getting a sneaking feeling that they filmed all these shots in the same day… "In hand-to-hand, I could take him," Secundus’ says…to who? Is he talking to himself? I suppose a couple self-affirmations is useful before killing Comaters, "but first I had to charge my Answer box." Just to clarify, "Answer Boxes" are small computers strapped to a Finder’s wrist which presumably has all the knowledge of the universe or something. There actually pretty stupid and generally provide only lame wise-crackin’ comedy relief instead of genuine useful information.

OK, let’s see, after a brief scuffle, Secundus knocks Abraxas unconscious and steals a Jeep from a nearby family who’s out camping. In a magical jump cut, boy those are handy editing devices, arne ‘t they?, Abraxas appears out of nowhere and jumps on top of the Jeep as Secundus swerves from side-to-side in an effort to shake him off.

“Damn, I should’ve never agreed to doing my own stunts!”

To nobody’s great surprise, Abraxas is quickly thrown from the vehicle and rolls off into a ditch as Secundas speeds away. Man, Abraxas sure knows his police work. To make a long story short, he returns to the campsite and convinces the family that he’ll help them get their stolen car back if they’ll drive him into town. As they drive along the road, the father looks back and asks Abraxas just how he can help them.

"My Box has VD," Abraxas says in a line that was certainly meant to be funny but comes across as totally weird. "VD," he elaborates, "Vibrational Detection." Still dude, kind of weird.

Enough of the yuck-yucks. Cut to Abraxas jogging along the road in slow motion. I’m not sure why the others didn’t just drive him into town like they agreed to, but, well, Jesse jogging in slo-mo for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, Secundus is in town and locates an "appropriate power source" in a local car shop to recharge his Answer Box. God, I can’t believe I just typed that. The shop’s owner gets a bit hissy when he discovers a giant psychotic dude breaking into his garage, but ends up getting his head blown off by Secundus’ Answer Box for his troubles.

You really don’t want to fail the Anti-Life Equation Test…take it from this guy

After charging up his Answer Box, Secundus heads over to City Hall, kills a couple of clerks, and digs up Tommy’s address from a random computer terminal. There’s a bit of a stand-off between Secundus and some cops which results in him stealing a cop car, beating up some random people, and so on.

Cue action scene, and this is typical for the rest of the movie:

1) Abraxas jumps/smashes through a window or door just after Secundus finishes doing what’s needed to advance the story

2) Secundus proceeds to beat Abraxas’s to a pulp.

3) Secundus runs off to the next filming location as Abraxas dusts himself off and catches up again.

4) Goto #1

Tommy, in the meanwhile, is at school where he’s experimenting with his Comater powers: in this case, making the class bully piss his pants on the playground. He then proceeds to push another kid into a toilet. Well, I guess he has to start somewhere. Later that day, or night, continuity doesn’t have much value here, Sonia takes Tommy to the movies while a friend and her kid stay behind and watch TV.

This clumsy setup leads to the whole Mistaken Identity scene as Secundus bursts through the (cardboard) front door and starts giving the hapless neighbor boy an Answer Box scan, which as we all know, is not what you want to be on the receiving end of if you’re not carrying the Anti-Life Equation in your dome.

A few steps behind, as usual, Abraxas comes flying through a patently fake pane-glass window and lands in a heap on the floor, giving Secundus more than enough time to walk over and start whooping his ass. Oh, by the way Abraxas, why not just use the wide-open front door? Just sayin’. During the scramble Secundus impales Abraxas with a floor lamp and runs away. (And this guy is the Guardian of the Universe?!)

The Guardian of the Universe is immobilized by an Ikea lamp. I feel safer already…

After Abraxas pulls out the lamp and automatically heals himself (he is a super-advance robot, dontcha know), Sonia returns from the movies. Abraxas quickly convinces Sonia that he’s on the up-and-up, and that he’s there to protect them. With little to no hesitation, Sonia agrees to drive them all to her friend Max’s house where they can regroup. (Note that Max has no qualms whatsoever about letting some strange lunk into his house in the middle of the night…nor do we ever see Max again as he politely disappears from the movie. Now that is a friend indeed.)

Meanwhile, from outer space, Commander Dar watches Abraxas’s latest escapades on his Magic Monitor which sends him into a tizzy fit because Abraxas still refuses to terminate Tommy even though "he’s had possession of the Comater for 147 parsecs!" (Yes, I know…parsecs are a measure of distance, not time…don’t tell me, I didn’t write the script.)

Dar suggests to Hite (oooooh…such spacey names!) that Abraxas might be too old for the mission. But wait, too old? He was already 10,000 years old at the beginning of the film and only 5 more years have transpired since then, so what’s the difference? 10,000 is not too old but 10,005 is? Well, they decide to send down another Finder as backup, but that’s nixed because of a "warp malfunction in that sector." Whatever, Dar.

Back in town, Secundus has found a local strip club…What?! A strip-club scene in a cheap sci-fi movie? Say it isn’t so!

I’m a bit confused as to why Secundus is wasting time here at all… since, you know, he’s hunting for the ultimate power of the universe and all, but I guess he has his priorities. Furthermore, we do get to watch a hot-chick shake her booty for a bit. Oh, and give yourself 2 points if you predicted a bar fight would break out.

Why…lookee there: it’s daytime again (!) and Secundus is hanging out in a restaurant asking a waitress where all the children go to school. You’d think the waitress would consider that’s a kind of a creepy thing for a grown man to ask, but no, she just points him to the town’s elementary school. I couldn’t help but notice that he’s still wearing the same clothes he had on when he murdered those 2 clerks just down the street at City Hall…not to mention grand theft auto, carjacking, assault on a police officer, etc. etc. and still nobody is out looking for him except for a couple of comedy relief Tweedle-Dee / Tweedle-Dumb cops who are "on the case".

[…Cut to kissing scene with Abraxas and Sonia…Dennis is grabbing a beer…]

Well, what do you know? Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb spot Secundus strolling around. Wow! Actual police work! When the cops pull their guns, Secundus informs them that their pistols are useless since his DNA has been "altered", so Tweedle-Dumb puts his revolver away and opens fire with an Uzi (!). For some reason, Uzi bullets prove more effective than mere pistol bullets and Secundus sparks a bit before sinking to the ground. Yeah, yeah, Secundus springs up, snatches the Uzi out of the cop’s hand and sprays Main Street with around a million bullets from the Uzi’s 30-round magazine. When all the pyrotechnics are over, Secundus steals the squad car from the cowering police officers and speeds off to the nearby school.

Answer Boxes and Crazy Cops’es…you gotta love this movie

Secundus storms around the school building a bit before bursting into a classroom and threatening to kill the students if the Comater is not delivered to him. (Needless to say, this was a real cringe-inducing scene given all the school shootings of late…but I’m not going to go there.)

When Abraxas shows up at the school, Tommy runs out of the car and sprints into the school before anybody can stop him. Nice police cordon, guys. Once inside, Tommy confronts Secundus, and by "confront" I mean "stare at him until the action starts". And…here we go: Abraxas smashes through a door and gets his ass kicked again. I never saw that coming. With Tommy back outside, (So why the hell did Tommy run inside in the first place?!) Secundus runs out, steals another car, and snatches Tommy from the parking lot. Again, where are all the cops? It’s like I’m watching 2 different movies here. Well, Secundus takes the Comater to an abandoned warehouse (you know the kind of warehouse I’m talking about…piles of empty cardboard boxes and dark corners for Abraxas to hind in.) for what I hope is the big finale so I can do something else today besides watch this movie.

After a bit of End-of-Movie Bad Guy Gloating, Secundus gets down to business and starts an Anti-Life Equation Test on the poor kid. As we all know, this test inevitably results in the testee having their head exploded, or maybe that’s only if you fail. God, who knows, this movie is too damned confusing to figure all this out. Regardless, I get the feeling that if Secundus gets his hands on the Anti-Life Equation this will definitely not be good for the rest of the Universe so, yeah, my stress levels are building.

Surprise, surprise, Abraxas shows up (late again) but luckily Just In Time to punch Secundus and stop him from killing Tommy…or stealing the Equation of whatever the hell he was trying to do. After another round of fisticuff shenanigans, Abraxas finally, finally, gets the upper hand and is just ready to kill his wayward ex-partner when Secundus reminds him that "No Finder past or present can be executed!"

DOH!

Seriously, did Abraxas, like, forget about this? Damn! That’s a pretty nasty "gotcha" in the Finder employee contract, eh? It also seems like a pretty stupid rule since we’ve already been told that Finders occasionally go renegade.

Now another slow-motion fist fight breaks out between the two Finders as weird Kenny G clarinet music plays(!). In a nutshell, the Finders whoop each other for a while until Tommy uses his mental powers to cause a big explosion (i.e., a shit-load of roman candles set off by the FX team) resulting in both Finders being blasted to the floor and rendered briefly unconscious, which is weird because they’re robots, but whatever.

Anyhoo, Abraxas pulls the kid from the fiery ruins as (yawn) Secundus shows up again and they start punching each other again. Man, this is gripping story telling. So, like, I’m trying not to doze off here…let’s see, now that Secundus has reminded him that he can’t kill a fellow Finder (Why not? Wouldn’t that be perfect for a situation like this?) Abraxas is in a bit of a pickle. But wait! Abraxas has a light-bulb moment and he presses his Answer Box to Secundus’ noggin to initiate an Anti-Life Equation test.

Well, as we all know, performing the test results in the subject’s head exploding, and Secundus bites the dust. By the way, if anybody can explain to me how that was not executing a fellow Finder, please drop me a line. On second thought, don’t. I really don’t care anymore.

With things coming to an end (read: no more money in the special effects budget), Headquarters opens a travel warp for Abraxas to return home. But, oh, Abraxas refuses to jump into the warp because he’s now so deeply in love with Sonia and the Tommy after the whole 24 hours they’ve spent together and yadda yadda yadda. Dar sternly reminds Abraxas that "Refusal to return will result in forfeiture of your Finderhood" (…Finderhood?)

Maybe realizing that Abraxas is pretty much washed up anyway, Dar and Hite grant him permission to leave the Finder Corp and remain on Earth. I guess Abraxas is happy now, but if you think about it, he’s over 10,000 years old, so that’s, what,…more than twice the age of the Pyramids! Sonia and Tommy’s lives will flit by him in a blink of an eye! And then what? Walk the Earth alone? Doomed to eventually power down and decay without friends or family on an alien planet? Kind of depressing, but let’s not piss on Abraxas’s parade.

As the movie concludes, Abraxas wraps up a few loose ends by simply stating, "Secundus was zapped off into the Universe." Well, Abraxas, a) this doesn’t exactly square with the fact that you exploded his head with your Answer Box, and b) he was quote, "zapped off"…what is that even supposed to mean?…I bet the other Finders back at dispatch are gonna be laughing their asses off if that ever gets into the final report.

Give the poor kid some air, sheesh!

Anyway, after a group hug (all together now, awwwwwwwwwwww), Sonia cuddles up to Abraxas and coos, "I’m glad you stayed with us,"

"Me too," says Tommy, uttering the first words of his life. Gosh, I have to get a tissue and dry my eyes…

The End

Dennis Grisbeck (December 2014)

Afterthoughts

This goofy romp never promises more than it can deliver. People fight, guns fire, things explode, hell, everything seems to explode: snow, heads, cars, etc. Mounds of eye-rolling silly dialog (e.g., “My box has VD…vibrational detection”) had its rewards and gave me a much needed smile or two as I slogged through this one.

A perfect movie for a Saturday morning hangover recovery on the sofa, otherwise I wouldn’t exactly put this one on my bucket list.
Small World Alert:Jesse Ventura graduated from the same Minneapolis high school I did. On a funnier note, when I was a wee lad, I saw him wrestling Hunk Hogan live at the St. Paul Civic Center Arena…ah, simpler times.

Read more about Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe at

IMDB

6 comments to Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (1990)

  • Guts3d

    Robot cops that can feel pain? Good idea! An anti-life equation that can explode the head of a robot? Brilliant! And Abraxas gave Secundus the anti-life equation that he was seeking the whole movie! Seems like they wrote this stinker as they filmed it. Loved the bit about the cigarette! Great review! Now I have to watch it. Sigh!

  • If you want a copy, just call the number at the end of the trailer and order a VHS copy for $80! ha ha

  • Guts3d

    I have several copies on my Sci-Fi compilation disks. Now that I know what a stinker it is, I might just pull it out and watch it.

  • Sean

    I for one am shocked, shocked!, that you have not yet seen this. It’s right up there with Space Mutiny.

  • “UP” there? At this point does up or down have any meaning?

  • Guts3d

    Space Mutiny? Those are some preeety big shoes to fill! Biff Slabchest! Thick McRunfast! And Reb Brown screaming like a little girl! It is now on my must see list.

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