The evil genius Reeves tries to kill his cyborg servant The Mandroid, after his creation just successfully completed a time travel mission. The Mandroid escapes, and seeks out the scientist Nora Hunter. She repairs him, and also still has a bone to pick with Reeves. Their quest to defeat Reeves is joined by the the sleazy boat captain Harry and the ninja Kuji. As the heroes travel through the wilderness to find Reeves’ base, they are constantly harassed by Reeves’ henchmen, which also include a tribe of prehistoric cannibals.
Eliminators can be considered Charles Band’s and Empire Pictures first venture into family-friendly entertainment. While Eliminators certainly is okay to watch for kids, it also accommodates character templates like ninjas and cyborgs that were part of the emerging action movie genre aimed at adult audiences. Eliminators seems to be like every kid’s and B-movie fan’s dream as the appearance of a cyborg, a ninja, cannibals, and a bunch of Sci-Fi nonsense in a single movie was hard to come by at the time. While this almost sounds like the ingredients for a contemporary parody on the genre, Eliminators can actually claim to be one of the first movies to plunder the repository of modern B-movies and throw them all together into a fairly chaotic mix.
The script has a logic that really only a child would find satisfactory, and the overarching plot is fairly bonkers, too. There’s never really a dull moment, though, either we’re treated with cheesy dialogues or cheesy action. And the finale is so anti-climatic, whether intended or not, it’s quite refreshing to see. The only issue is that the relatively low production quality prevents full immersion into the jolly madness the movie tries to convey. Eliminators never descends into trash territory, however. The special effects and action sequences are not embarrassing and work well enough. The mobile unit to which The Mandroid can attach itself is certainly an original creation, and really stands out from the rest of the special effects. And The Mandroid himself is certainly the most gentle and polite cyborg in all of movie history. The acting quality is also in tune with the overall modest quality of the movie. The heroes play it fairly straight, whereas the bad guy camp holds an enthusiastic evil-grimace-and-hysterical-laughter contest.
Eliminators is upbeat and silly, and had the potential to become truly great if only a little more effort had been put into it. It’s still better than the sum of its parts, and is a nostalgic throwback into kid-friendly 1980s action movie entertainment.