Project: Metalbeast

This has been an enjoyable ride so far, hasn't it?  We've encountered werewolf cops and even a Disney-flavored lycanthropic quickie.  Brace yourself for another quirky spin on a platitudinous bestiary.  1995's Project: Metalbeast presents a werewolf in shining armor.  That's right; our lead critter has bulletproof skin.  The storyline is fairly convoluted, so bear with me.  The year?  1975.  Special agents are dispatched to Hungary to fetch vials of werewolf blood.  Of course, that's easier said than done, and one man is serrated asunder.  The surviving envoy returns to America, only to inject himself with the full moon juice against the orders of his superiors.

I'm sure you're wondering why these guys were sent on a suicide mission to collect werewolf plasma.  If you're any kind of b-movie pundit, you should be able to guess the answer.  You see, the government is trying to build an unstoppable killing machine.  A super soldier!  How did they find out that werewolves existed?  If you're any kind of b-movie pundit, you know...it's never addressed.  Okay, fast-forward twenty years.  Scientists are toiling away over the ontogeny of an artificial skin called bio-ferron.  It's metal-based, and it may be a boon to cancer patients and burn victims.  Enter the wily, Machiavellian Lieutenant (or General or Commander or something) Miller.  He kept his secret agent werewolf on ice, and he plots to wrap the monster in bio-ferron, thus rendering it impervious to silver bullets.

Naturally, he lies to the scientists.  He tells them to test the skin on cadavers.  And they do, but they don't know that one of the stiffs is a dormant colossus.  First and foremost, I must comment on the logistics of Miller's plan.  This is an extraordinarily bad fucking idea.  "Hey, let's wake up a werewolf and tweak him until we can no longer control him!"  I mean, c'mon.  A bulletproof werewolf???  On the upside, we are treated to a badass creature replete with a badass creature suit.  Kane Hodder plays the "metalbeast," though it takes awhile for the titular baddie to start kicking ass.  Thankfully, we get plenty of traditional (non-metal) werewolf carnage in the first act.

The special effects are superlative.  If Project: Metalbeast were shot any later than 1995, the werewolf would have looked like a cartoon.  Man, I'm wearing out the word "werewolf."  Anyway, this is an entertaining film with an interesting cast.  Barry Bostwick is sufficiently repugnant as Miller.  Kim Delaney turns in an adequate performance, but semen on a graham cracker, her character is implausibly insipid.  None of the players are developed.  Don't get me wrong; I wasn't expecting esoteric depth, but almost everyone in front of the camera is interchangeable.

The scientists' reaction to a werewolf transformation is hysterical for all of the wrong reasons.  They are barely fazed.  Maybe it's just me, but my mouth would be drooping agape if I were within pawing distance of a goddamn werewolf.  Other annoyances?  Eh, the gore isn't particularly thick.  Mercifully, there are a couple of messy moments that will mollify hemoglobin freaks.  I was slightly disappointed in Project: Metalbeast, but it's certainly fun.  Writer/director Alessandro De Gaetano could have pulled more out of the premise, in my opinion.  If you run across a copy, then by all means, pick it up.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I sought out the role of the metalbeast, but the producers balked at my demands.  Ten zillion dollars and requisite full-frontal nudity are reasonable requests, if you ask me."

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