Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'Abraxas': Kirby Homage or Rip-off?

Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe (1990)
Starring: Jesse Ventura, Marjorie Bransfield, and Jim Belushi
Director: Damian Lee
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Anyone out there remember Jack Kirby's "Fourth World"? Maybe the DC Comics' "New Gods"? Well, "Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe," either through coincidence or creative borrowing plays like an unauthorized adaptation of Kirby's "Fourth World" creations.

In "Abraxas," Jesse Ventura stars as the title character, an immortal super cop who pursues Secundus, a rogue member of his ranks, to Earth. The villain uses wonder-tech to impregnate a young woman (Bransfield) with a child who carries within his genetics the secret of the Anti-Life Equation. Abraxas is tasked with killing the child before the Anti-Life Equation is revealed, but, being a heroic sort, he disregards his orders and looks for another way.

"Abraxas" sports many of the standards remembered from the Jack Kirby comics--godlike superbeings who prove the statement "sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," interstellar travel is done through wormholes (the "boom tubes" from the comic); and the characters possess semi-sentient, miniaturized supercomputers that can perform just about any function you can imagine, but which may also nag the possessor when he isn't following the orders of his superiors ("talk boxes" in "Abraxas," "Mother Boxes" in the Kirby comic).

As a standalone movie, "Abraxas" rates Four Stars for being a slow and boring film--the premise could have been so much more exciting. It's a Five Star film if you know Jack Kirby's Fourth World work and pretend this is a third-rate adaptation of it. Decent performances by the actors and some okay dialogue saves it from complete suckage. (There are, however, some really laughable sequences in the film and some truly mind-numbing story continuity issues that should probably cost the film several Tomatoes... but they are so unintentionally funny that one has to admire them. Foremost among these are the fight scene with soundtrack music that must be been licensed from Muzak, followed closely by the scene where a woman gives birth without needing to take pants off.)


  1. Absolutely ridiculous movie! Definitely agree with you, very slow and boring. Our review of it is coming soon.