I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Terminator Woman

tn_terminatorwomanAfter the disappointment of TERMINATOR SALVATION the last thing we need is another movie that fails to live up to James Cameron’s original creation. But here is TERMINATOR WOMAN, which not only lacks the punch of Cameron’s two sci-fi action classics, but also fails to communicate to the viewer (in this case me) why the hell it’s called TERMINATOR WOMAN. The cover says “It’s about time!” as if to suggest it’s exciting to have a woman Terminator (before TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES), but the movie isn’t even remotely about robots or even terminating, and there’s also a man in the movie who fights on what is portrayed as an approximately equal skill level with the woman. So if she counts as a Terminator then he must too. I’m not sure why it’s not TERMINATOR MAN AND WOMAN.

TERMINATOR WOMAN is about two American karate cops in Africa fighting some crime lord who wants to get back some gold that was stolen from him. But the crime lord is not Warwick Davis, it’s Michel Qissi, also director, co-writer, fight choreographer and fight editor.

If you don’t know Qissi you at least know his friend: he grew up with and trained with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Onscreen he most memorably played Tong Po, the villain in KICKBOXER, although he was uncredited (it said Tong Po played himself). But here is his first try at directing (he did one other, 2001’s EXTREME FORCE).

mp_terminatorwomanThe two cops are played by Jerry Trimble (blond, square-jawed quarterback looking kickboxer-turned-actor) and Karen Sheperd (Jeff Wincott’s little asskicker of a partner in MISSION OF JUSTICE). Sheperd gets kidnapped by Qissi’s men early in the movie, but quickly escapes and spends most of the running time travelling back to where the plot is located. Trimble spends his time trying to get her released while Qissi keeps threatening to kill her. I was never sure if either of them knew she escaped a long time ago.

So the plot doesn’t make much sense, and by halfway through the movie I couldn’t remember why they even came to Africa in the first place. And the whole feel is cheesy and low rent. But it has tons of martial arts and lots of goofy touches that made me laugh:

  • The henchman who runs down a road toward Sheperd, swinging his nunchakas, but after he gets there he gets spooked and runs away, ditching his nunchakas in the bushes
  • The innocent bystander who sees a guy crash his motorcycle, fly through the air, roll across the ground and lightly bump his car. Instead of checking that the guy is okay (or even alive) the guy gestures angrily at him and grunts.
  • The prisoner stupidly giving away the location of the gold to a seductress and the police giving him words of support so he won’t feel too bad about himself
  • Sheperd wearing a ridiculous, cleavage-y half shirt with little metal trinkets hanging all over it, doing tai chi by a campfire
  • The henchwoman dressed in that same outfit, fighting Trimble. She confuses him for about half a second, then gets beat in maybe 10 or 15. I don’t know how she got that outfit – must’ve been alot of trouble for such a dumb plan.

Sheperd is in the Blackbelt Hall of Fame and was the first woman to win the title of Grand Champion at the U.S. Open Karate Championship, so she kicks ass (and balls) throughout the movie. She’s got short arms and legs, not alot of reach, but gets a guy close enough to do damage by asking for a leg massage. I’m not saying she’s ugly, but she’s not exactly the standard Hollywood beauty, so it’s kind of funny and charming how confident she is in her sexuality. And more than one guy in the movie lusts after her (Trimble being one of them).

Is she the Terminator Woman? Or is it her dress-alike? Or is it the aristocratic attempted-seductress villainess who steals the gold? I don’t know. I guess it must be Sheperd. She probaly terminates more people than the other two. But I don’t know.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at 3:29 pm and is filed under Action, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Terminator Woman”

  1. Vern, I think you’ll probably be happier with Lady Terminator, one of the two or three best Indonesian movies I’ve ever seen about an ancient sea goddess who possesses the body of a modern-day (eighties) woman and sucks men up into her coochie when she’s not killing everybody in the whole world with a machine gun. It’s out on Mondo Macabro, a video label that’s so awesome I pretty much just take it on faith that I’m gonna like it whenever they put out something new.

  2. Mr. Majestyk –

    That is the most important thing I will learn this month… Thanks.

  3. Just came back from watching Terminator Salvation, and despite a couple little things I fuckin’ loved it, is there something wrong with me? No, really, to me it was fantastic. Not even Vern is with me on this one, oh well.

  4. Mr. Majestyk. This ‘Lady Terminator’ movie… I must find a copy and view it. Thanks for letting us know of this.

    As for Terminator Woman I have a soft spot for those ‘ass kicking girls’ movies like ‘Yes Ma’am’ and other Cynthia Rothrock flicks like the ‘China O’Brian’ films and such (not ‘Charlie’s Angels’ though as what vern felt about ‘Transformers’ is what I felt about both of those) so I think I may have to track this one down as well.

  5. Majestyk – I saw that one at an all night movie marathon one time. So my memory is hazy but I think that one was actually kind of ripping off Terminator movies and not just using the name. But it didn’t have Karen Sheperd in it and was not directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme’s friend, so fuck that movie.

    Sorry512 – Hey, I wish I was with you. I wanted to love it, I really did. But I only loved in in parts. I’m glad you enjoyed it though.

  6. Hey Vern?

    if 99% of people who watched movies liked movies that you did not like which led to lots of shit movies making lots of money which led to a world where 99% of movies were made of varying degrees of shit …..would you be glad that these people were enjoying these movies?

    serious question by the way ……i’m having serious positivity issues these days

  7. Wouldn’t some of these 99 percent also like movies that Vern did like?

  8. Patrick Stephenson

    June 11th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    What?

  9. Hey look!

    Spam!

  10. Picaroony – Well, in the sense that people should be happy, it is nice for people to enjoy the movies they pay to see. In this case I’m happy for him because I really wanted to love TERMINATOR SALVATION and did think that some aspects of it were really spectacular. I wish I could get past the problems I have with it so I’m happy for Sorry512 being able to do that.

    But no, I would not want to live in (more of) a world where people just accept any crap that’s shoveled in front of them, if that’s what you’re asking. It’s weird though, being on the internet you also see the opposite, the people who spend all day talking about movies but rarely find one that doesn’t make them fly into a rage.

  11. Patrick,

    ThePicaroony asked Vern if “99% of people who watched movies liked movies that you did not like which led to lots of shit movies making lots of money which led to a world where 99% of movies were made of varying degrees of shit would you be glad that these people were enjoying these movies? ”

    And then he said that it was a serious question…indicating that he wanted a response. I thought the premise was faulty, and tried to indicate it in the language of the original question; If 99 percent of people liked movies you didn’t like, it’s probably not going to lead to Hollywood making nothing but movies that you hate, because a portion of that 99 percent is also going to like movies that you actually do enjoy. An example…I hated the new “Star Trek”; I really enjoyed “Up!”…I haven’t taken any polls, but, I’m betting that a lot of the people who liked “Star Trek” also liked “Up!”.

    So, in other words, it’s perfectly ok to be glad that someone enjoyed a movie that you did not.

  12. Hey WS ….stop screwing with my hypothetical world. I just have the hump lately what with WolvUrine and T4 being huge disappointments and working with quite a few people who say they have enjoyed them…. but i cant find it in my heart to be happy for these simpletons/easily pleased individuals ….it sticks in my craw ….boils my bile …etc.

  13. Not easily pleased, but I was pleasantly surprised. Sorry for boiling your bile and all. Never thought of myself as a simpleton, should I start liking Transformers now?

  14. ah sure thats what bile is for. The simpletons thing was more directed at some of the fools i work with not your Sorry self. right so …i’m off to drown some kittens in an oil drum, somebody told me they’ve been miowing the praises of Nispel.
    cheers!

  15. Someone explain to me WHY all of the man-sized robots in TERMINATOR: SALAVATION look like metal human skeletons WHEN, APPARENTLY, the Arnold robot is the first attempt to make a flesh-covered terminator robot (not counting Marcus). Why the fuck would that SkyNet have been making skeleton robots in the first place? And why would they have teeth if they were never meant to pass as human? I realized that previous flash-forwards in the other movies have shown walking robotic skeletons fighting humans…but I always assumed that those things had been flesh covered at some point and got all shot up and their framework was all that was left. I guess my point is: the movie would have made more sense if all of the resistance fighters HAD NEVER SEEN A WALKING-UP-RIGHT MAN-SIZED robot before. That revelation would terrify the shit out of them because they could never be sure who was really human. But if they are already used to seeing those walking metal skeletons, then what’s the big deal with learning that Marcus was a robot? Sure, he now has skin, but wouldn’t it be logical to think that Skynet would put some sort of skin on a skeleton robot at some point? I mean…wtf? Sure, the movie has other problems, too, but this one bugged me most of all. Thanks for your time.

  16. Hey, I actually just watched Lady Terminator. It was really fun. I guess everybody got the bug to watch Terminator knockoffs at the same time.

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