LunarCop (1995)


aka Solar Force

USA. 1995.


Director – Boaz Davidson, Screenplay – Terrence Paré, Producer – Danny Lerner, Photography – Avi Kar’pick, Music – Don Peake, Digital Effects – The CyberSuite (Supervisor – Robert Lakstigala), Special Effects Supervisor – Rick Cresswell, Production Design – Ray Wilson. Production Company – Nu Image/AMPS


Michael Paré (Joe Brody), Walker Brandt (Thora), Billy Drago (Kay), Robin Smith (Stopper), Gavin Van Den Berg (Lane), Wilson Dunster (Pent)


The year 2050. Scientists on the Lunar colony announce they have developed the substance amaranth that will restore the Earth, which has been devastated by a nuclear holocaust. The colony is then invaded by Earth extremists who steal the amaranth. Police officer Joe Brody is dispatched to Earth to retrieve it. He falls in with a peaceful encampment that is being menaced by the motorcycle gang, the Rough Boys. As he stands up to fight the bikers, Brody falls in love with a woman but then discovers that she is a cyborg. In his search, he comes to realise that his superiors may not have necessarily told him the truth about his mission.

LunarCop is a direct-to-video actioneer. It is directed by Boaz Davidson, one of the heads of Nu Image/Nu World, a US based company that makes a good many low-budget action films. Boaz Davidson and Nu Image have made a number of similar, almost interchangeable post-holocaust cyborg films – Davidson notably also directed American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1992) – and stars the wooden Michael Paré who has made a career down the direct-to-video end of the action movie spectrum.

One had minor hopes sitting down to watch LunarCop. The title alone suggests interesting possibilities – one has always thought that the Moon has many unused possibilities as a film location. However, it only takes five minutes before anything interesting the film may have had to offer in this direction is abandoned. The model of the moonbase is incredibly unconvincing and a shot of a ship taking off in front of it is an extremely poor piece of optical work, while the interior of the colony is represented by a series of badly cramped sets. The moment the ship takes off and we then cut to Michael Paré, without any explanation, turning up at a post-holocaust burger bar on a Harley Davidson and saving a girl from wasteland heavies, the film reveals its true colours. The title LunarCop is a big cheat – all the film is is another on the conveyor belt of post-holocaust action films ripping off Mad Max 2 (1981). Technically, the title is correct but the lunar angle is of no importance to the film.

Even as a direct-to-video action film, LunarCop is dreary going. Most of the film seems to consist of a seemingly endless parade of motorcycle stunts. It is as though Boaz Davidson and his stunt coordinator sat there dreaming up different types of stunts that could be conducted with motorcycles. They are served up with a randomness – the film frequently stops still for a parade of motorcycles leaping and exploding that are entirely disconnected from the plot. Some of these stunts make no sense whatsoever – one shot of a motorcycle buried under the sand leaping out into the air looks undeniably spectacular but the idea that someone would bury themselves in the middle of a chase and just wait in the hope that the hero and heroine would come riding past is absurd. The latter quarter of the film inevitably picks up the other element that became a clichéd staple of direct-to-video action films in the 1980s/90s and trots out a killer android a la The Terminator (1984).

LunarCop does however have a decent ending. It sets the hero up for a tragic choice – to either retain his android love or sacrifice her to save the world – and happily it is an ending that does not cop out with any miraculous last minute solutions.

Director Boaz Davidson was a Golan-Globus associate who directed a handful of Cannon films with The Last American Virgin (1982), X-Ray/Hospital Massacre (1982), Dutch Treat (1987) and Going Bananas (1987). He has been more active in recent years as a producer with Nu Image, which are responsible for making a great many action and genre films. He has directed a handful of other low-budget films that include the genre likes of American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1992) and the psycho-sexual thriller Blood Run (1994).

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