Is it possible to get exactly what you wanted and be disappointed? That's how I feel about 1992's Doctor Mordrid. It serves up the kind of flimsy, unreasonable frames of gossamer camp that one would crave from a Jeffrey Combs-starring Full Moon movie, but I was left with a sense of...incompleteness? I'm not sure that's a word. It fits, though! Co-directors Albert and Charles Band (I bet they date the same chicks) try to kick the football so hard, they miss it altogether. This was originally supposed to be Full Moon's Dr. Strange adaptation, but obviously, Marvel disengaged. Change the names, tweak certain items and blammo, baby! Your order of Doctor Mordrid is ready to be shipped.
If you haven't figured it out by now, Combs is Anton Mordrid, a blue-robed sorcerer committed to protecting the earth from forces of eeeeviiiil. Real quick - Combs looks ridiculous in his full costume, which incorporates a cape. The film opens with Mordrid standing (he may have been sitting) in space, and he's speaking to The Monitor. Who what huh? That's some omniscient fucker. A fucker god, I shall call him. The Monitor is represented by a pair of eyes hovering in space. I realize that I didn't need to use italics again, but c'mon, we're already in fucking space. Italics. Right, so Kabal - an eeeeviiiil sorcerer - has touched down on our cobalt pebble and needs to obtain stonework. Y'know, to help him rule the world.
The whole shebang is building up to a climactic blowoff. Sorry, that's a wrestling term. A battle! The problem is that the "blowoff" is abbreviated, and the exposition is a soft-sell approach to puffery. It's ordinary. It's mellow. Eh, I guess I was hoping for more action, more alchemy, more special effects. The effects that subsist are definitely monumental. We get a stop-motion fight between dinosaur fossils, and it's badass to the fucketh degree. I didn't need light shows on that scale. Just give me something other than Mordrid chatting up a forensic (or whatever) babe in an apartment hallway. The running time is a meager 74 minutes, but the first hour is a chore. Why couldn't The Monitor monitor the pace? When your fucker god hands you lemons, rub them in his eye sockets. That are floating in space. Italics.
Brian Thompson is keen as Kabal. Yvette Nipar gives a studied performance as Sam, the forensic (or whatever) babe. I like that she's legitimately intelligent, although I didn't buy her compulsory infatuation with the titular wizard. If there is a sci-fi/fantasy "epic" that didn't need romance, it's this one. There is plenty of plot as it is, and the Band blokes boggle it. I respect my readers enough to deflect spoilers, but suffice to squeak, the final conflict ignores logic. Actually, the crux of the entire storyline occludes oh-so-pesky details that would have made Doctor Mordrid easier to swallow. I'm making this flick sound dreadful, but it's not. It's fun and mediocre. See, this is what I meant by the first sentence of the review. Proceed with caution.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:58 PM