aka Night Shadows: Project Shadowchaser II
Director – John Eyres, Screenplay – Nick Davis, Producers – John Eyres, Geoff Griffith & Geoffrey Vanger, Photography – Alan M. Trow, Music – Steve Edwards, Optical/Animation Effects – Magic Camera, Special Effects Supervisor – Rick Creswell, Production Design – Mark Harris. Production Company – EGM Film International
Frank Zagarino (Android), Bryan Genesse (Frank Meade), Beth Toussaint (Laurie Webber), Danny Hill (Ricky Webber), Danny Keogh (Sheriff John O’Hara), Jeff Fannell (Carl Reitman), Todd Jensen (Joe Hutton), Hal Orlandini (General McOwell)
It is December 26th. Frank Meade, a janitor at the Raikon Nuclear Base, is fired for being drunk on the job. However, terrorists have been smuggled in in crates emerge and take over the base, massacring the technicians. The terrorist leader demands that the military release other imprisoned terrorists otherwise he will fire a five-megaton nuclear warhead on Washington D.C.. Frank, his boss Laurie Webber and her young son are caught inside the base and become the only hope of stopping the terrorists. However, as Frank takes the terrorists on in hand-to-hand combat, he discovers that their leader is a decommissioned military android and that the group’s claims are a ruse.
Project: Shadowchaser (1992) was a B-budget actioneer that was laughable in its absurdities – it seemed to be thrown together as an attempt to conceptually crossbreed Die Hard (1988) with The Terminator (1984). Why anybody would want to see a sequel to it is anybody’s guess – not that it has stopped director John Eyres from making this and a further sequel Project Shadowchaser III (1995), as well as a fourth film Project Shadowchaser 4/Alien Chaser/Orion’s Key (1996) that was made without Eyres directing but featuring Frank Zagarino as an alien android awakened in a pyramid.
The only creativity that appears to have gone into Project Shadowchaser II as a sequel has been in substituting the venue where the action takes place from a high-rise building to a nuclear weapons facility. The sequel fails to clear up any of the original’s absurdities, instead only copies them and even amplifies them. The android is of no importance to the story – the part could have been rewritten into that of a human terrorist without the slightest impact to the rest of the story. We never even find out why the android and terrorists want to take over the missile base – there is a reason given about wanting the release of prisoners but we are then told that these reasons are only a bluff and no further reasons are ever provided. These are plot holes that are not merely sloppy but verge on ineptitude. Absurdities abound – one of which is an alcoholic janitor (Bryan Genesse) who just happens to be a martial artist of at least world-champion class. At one point, Bryan Genesse is fired at with a machine-gun at point blank range and not even hit.
John Eyres has certainly improved as a director since the first Project Shadowchaser and learned to affect a certain action style. However, he completely overdoes the slow-motion violence – watching the umpteenth shot of bodies twitching as bullets pump into them in slow-motion or of heads smashing into glass, the violence takes on a bizarre, almost pornographic fascination in the sheer excess that Eyres languishes upon it.
Frank Zagarino repeats his role as the android, although this is not the same android as in the first film. Zagarino has spent the ensuing two years between films building his body and has attained an impressively buffed physical perfection, making a striking figure in leather jacket, bared chest and pure-white hair, even if his psychotically OTT android comes wholly by the book.
Director John Eyres has made a number of other action/genre hybrids including the UFO/action film Monolith (1994), the executed killer returns from the grave/action film Judge and Jury (1996), Octopus (2000) and Ripper: Letter from Hell (2001) about a series of modern-day Jack the Ripper killings. Eyres also produced Dark Planet (1996), The Apocalypse (1997) and Spoiler (1997).