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The 100




Steel and Lace
(1990)
Reviewed by Chris Edwards
Rating: 2 Beans

he vast majority of the cheap exploitation movies are bald-faced imitations of an already successful film. In fact, most such movies rip off one of just a few movies. "The Road Warrior" spawned countless post-nuke adventures. "Halloween" touched off a cycle of slasher flicks that survives twenty years later. And all those low-grade kickboxing movies were sparked by "Kickboxer," oddly enough.

"Steel and Lace" borrows heavily from two influential genre hits. It takes its revenge storyline from "Death Wish," the Charles Bronson vigilante hit from the early '70's that's STILL being widely imitated by the schlock crowd. And it lifts its killer cyborg motif from "The Terminator," the movie that also inspired classics like "Cyborg Cop." Influenced by two very potent films, "Steel and Lace" has none of the strengths of either one.

The plot, what there is of it, involves a young woman (Clare Wren) who, after she's raped and the attackers go free, kills herself. As luck would have it, her brother (Bruce Davison) is a brilliant scientist who resurects his late sister as a deadly cyborg. Well, that's what I'd do.

The rest of the movie follows cyber-sister as she exacts revenge on her attacker and his also-guilty cronies. She does this by disguising herself as other women, luring the guys with sex (mostly), and then killing them in the most over-the-top ways imaginable. Meanwhile, the sketch artist (Stacy Haiduk)who worked the rape trial, and her tedious cop boyfriend (David Naughton) try to figure out what's going on.

Never mind them, though. Just sit back and drink in the wonderful illogic of it all. The very premise is simply laughable. Would a guy really want to honor his sister's memory by wiring up her corpse, equipping it with bizarre weapons, and sending it out to butcher people? Okay, maybe he would. It's not an option most people have. There's still plenty of senselessness to go around.

Like the scene in which a massive, whirling drill-type device emerges from the fembot's abdomen and drills all the way through a guy. This despite the drill being longer than her abdomen is deep. And later on we'll see that she's stuffed with all the wire and flashy lights we expect from a movie cyborg. Where'd they put the drill?

Another thing-the movie is not set in the future as far as I could tell. There are no hover cars or video phones in evidence. There's nothing to suggest a level of technology that could produce a lifelike, sophisticated robot. But the scientist brother manages to build a really good cyborg, one with all the extras, several weapons systems, etc., all by himself. This guy is some scientist. If I were him, I would've chucked the whole revenge idea, gotten myself some patents, and just started a nice scholarship in sis's name.

"Steel and Lace" is not so bad that it's good. It's more so silly that it's mediocre. There are defnitely better ways to spend 90 minutes. On the other hand, if it turns up on cable (which it does from time to time) it's worth checking out, if only to watch one of the better "man-grows-breasts" scenes I've seen. It's also probably the only time you'll get to see Squiggy from "Laverne and Shirley" play a coroner.

This one only rates two cyberbeans. And please, don't turn your dead loved ones into cyborgs.






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