From the Archive – Full Eclipse (1993)

Eclipse

 

Directed by Anthony Hickox
Starring ‘Super’ Mario van Peebles, Bruce ‘Oh the’ Payne and Patsy Kensit

Tough LA cop, Max Dire (Peebles) loses his partner in a hail of bullets, only to get him back the next day, right as rain. Then the partner starts chasing cars full of gangbangers on foot, and shoots himself with a bullet cast form his lucky silver dollar.

Enter trauma councillor, tough cop and biochemist Adam Garou (Payne), who recruits Max to his team of issue-wracked cops – including the sluty Casey (Kensit) – who sleep communally, have an acute siege mentality, worship the ground Garou treads and – oh yeah – shoot up on weird shit, sprout claws and tear into drug dealers and their mistresses while shrugging off high-calibre bullet wounds.

Turns out that Garou is a werewolf – shock, horror…Oh wait, that’s his name – and is dosing ‘the pack’ with his cranial fluids to make them his little werewolfettes. Then on the night of the lunar eclipse, he plans to off them all and move on to another city. Casey goes cold turkey and dies jumping out of a high window, and come the night itself, Max faces off against Garou, who turns into a bear – I swear to God, it’s supposed to be a super-werewolf form, but it looks like a teddy bear – shrugs off Max’s silver bullets, and finally succumbs to a syringe full of silver nitrate as the moon reappears.

Then Max absorbs his power, and starts the cycle all over again.

What’s wrong with it?

In a word, it’s bollocks. The direction is stilted, the script is crappy, the cast are planks and the sound is all mumbly. The regular werewolf SFX are cheap – dodgy claws that spring from their knuckles and some facial prosthetics – and the big finale is a let down – Garou turns into a Howling-style wolf-man, but looks more like a teddy bear.

The guy is called Garou. The sign on his fucking door says ‘A Garou’ (Garou being French for ‘werewolf, if you didn’t know’).  Of course, Max’s surname is Dire, as in dire wolf.

Bruce Payne. Super Mario. Patsy Kensit.

What’s right with it?

Not much. The concept of the dodgy werewolf cop unit is okay, as is the alpha wolf offing his pack at the full eclipse. It’s just when the film moves beyond concept that it falls down.

How bad is it really?

An absolute stinker of a film. Seriously. It really isn’t even funny.

Best bit

Max sees Garou syringing his cranial fluid out, but the werewolf hears him. He drags Garou over to the mirror, and does a little routine, with ‘this is you on my brain’ in place of ‘this is your brain on drugs’. It mostly scores because you can see how they thought it would be cool, and at the same time see how it doesn’t work, and would have been cut if they weren’t so in love with it.

What’s up with…?

  • Max taking over Garou’s schtick? Garou was trusted to run these wacky units because he had a hard-won rep and like, five PhDs. Max has a badge and an attitude.
  • No one noticing that Garou leaves this trail of dead officers in his wake?
  • No one noticing – or at least no one commenting on – the rise in savage animal maulings when Garou is around?
  • No one noticing that when his silver police medal is placed in his hands, Max emits bright purple smoke?

Ratings

Production values – Shitty. The lighting is dark where is should be moody, and the sound mumbled where it should be moody. The SFX blow, and we get a real faceful of how much; none of your tease the audience mentality here. 16

Dialogue and Performances – Here’s the pitch: Peebles! Kensit! Payne! Together at last! As an opportunity for a spree killing, sure; as a movie concept, no. On the other hand, the dialogue deserves so very little more. 17

Plot and execution – A good concept frittered away on a few naff action scenes, a gratuitous shag and some needless posing in fangs and make-up. 17

Randomness – Fairly true to itself, aside from Max suddenly deciding to take Garou’s place. 8

Waste of potential – Another intriguing concept made dull. Still; at least it wasn’t the start of a long-running ‘Werewolf Cop’ franchise. 14

Overall 72%

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