Monday, June 3, 2019


PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*

Despite looking like it had an A-level budget, EVE OF DESTRUCTION is a bland recycling of TERMINATOR tropes.

EVE is one of the many movies that justifies the phrase, "This story works perfectly well as long as you assume that everyone in the story is an idiot." In this case, the main rationale for the U.S. government to build a female robot is that supposedly there's a deep concern that they might not be able to bomb an enemy power due to missile defenses. Thus if they can build a robot intelligent enough to masquerade as an ordinary traveler, then the robot can supposedly pass through customs and detonate a nuclear bomb inside the enemy territory. Obviously this scheme has so many problems with it that it's impossible to believe that such an expensive project would ever get greenlighted.

However, even putting that objection aside, one would think that the last thing the military would do would be to stick a working nuke inside a robot that was still in its testing stages. In addition, the test robot-- named "Eve" after its lookalike creator, scientist Eve Simmons-- has not been given the sort of personality that might serve in undertaking an espionage mission. Instead, in a loose emulation of robot-stories ranging from FRANKENSTEIN to STAR TREK, the creation reflects the personality of the creator. This too would seem to be the last thing that a military mind would want, much less to have the robot somehow programmed with the memories of its creator. So of course, when the robot gets loose, it starts doing the things that Eve Simmons would've liked to have done if she had unlimited power-- killing a neglectful father, abducting the child she has to share with her divorced husband.

The military is also tremendously incompetent in marshaling forces to track down and incapacitate Eve the Robot, choosing to depend on one man named Jim McQuade (Gregory Hines), an expert in terrorist nullification. Other than bringing in McQuade, the organizers seem content to let innumerable cops and bystanders get blown away by the addled mechanism. Perhaps all of these idiocies might've contributed to a satire of the military-industrial complex had such been the script's intention, but it seems obvious that the writer was just in a hurry to get to the action-sequences.

Renee Soutendijk plays both Eve Simmons and her berserk creation, and the former gets to run around in the company of McQuade, trying to advise him on how to battle the killer robot. There are various poorly staged battles between Eve the Robot and McQuade, or between Eve and the cops, but it's all pretty uninvolving, including the big finish wherein the robot kidnaps the real Eve's son.

The only clever thing in the whole mess is the full name of the robot, which is "Eve VIII," as in the old joke, "Adam ate one and Eve ate one too." There are one or two clumsy misogynistic remarks that might suggest that Eve VIII's problem is that of emulating the "horny" and "psychopathic" aspects of her creator. But EVE OF DESTRUCTION doesn't even work as a full-fledged misogynistic fantasy, registering as just another stupid TERMINATOR ripoff. 

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