Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


SCANNERS (1981). Director: David Cronenberg.

A drug given to pregnant woman has created a group of "scanners," people who have bizarre telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Some of these are good, some bad, and some have been nearly driven crazy by the voices in their heads. Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) is one of the latter, and he's taken under the wing of Dr. Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan), and teams up with lady scanner Kim Obrist (Jennifer O'Neill). Meanwhile, the bad scanners, led by Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside), as well as others, are running around killing off the good guys. Revok hopes that he and his team of scanners can ultimately rule the planet. At the climax Vale and Revok have a dramatic -- and gruesome -- battle of wills and powers. Okay comic book movie has some decent effects and Dick Smith make up, but twenty-seven years after its release it's been overshadowed by superior movies and more dazzling FX work. But the main problem is that the characters are under-developed and the story doesn't sustain interest. The "big" scene in the movie has Revok blowing up the head of a man in a lecture hall. Lack isn't a very dynamic leading man, but Ironside certainly has a lot of pizazz and charisma.

Verdict: Nothing worth staying home for. **.

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