Monday, June 11, 2012

Death Machines (1976)

We travel back to the disco era for this weird little number starring low budget martial artist star Ron Marchini.  Ron stars alongside Michael Chong and Joshua Johnson as the Death Machines, brainwashed killers who are utterly ruthless and utterly deadly.  Under orders from dragon lady Madame Lee (Mari Honjo), they take out various mobsters in the unnamed city the work in as well as pretty much everyone else in their path.

Eventually, they piss off the wrong guy and he ends up teaming with an incompetent cop and a rather dull nurse to get revenge.  Well, one could argue he actually just wants to get his ass handed to him which happens regularly and said team-up is more theoretical than anything else but you get the point.

The film starts off in a cheesy, over the top manner with some really overblown ways of taking out just one guy: rocket launcher, smashing a phone booth with a construction vehicle, it's just that kind of movie.  It moves onto a massacre at a karate school where the only survivor (John Lowe) makes it out minus one hand, hell-bent on revenge.

There are a few other plot threads but the real highlight...assuming that word is applicable when talking about this movie, is the trio of Death Machines.  They come off quite well, invulnerable to bullets, implacable.  Ron Marchini gets the closest thing to an actual bit of character as he briefly is on friendly terms with an old couple who run a diner.  This is forgotten rather quickly, sparing us the cliche of the killer turning on his bosses.  I don't generally have an issue with it but the film is way to silly to support such a plot twist.

The twist we do get is mind bogglingly stupid as Lee decides to kill the three killers after Marchini bumps her on the way up a flight of stairs (you have to see it for yourself).  Her shooting at the end is as close to a plot resolution as we get as the film ends on a typically 70's open note.

The acting is really, really awful with Mari Honjo coming off the worst, probably.  She delivers her lines with all the energy of a  tree sloth and to be honest, the huge beehive hairdo she sports throughout is a better actress than she is.

Action is good enough for  a low budget 70's flick but the real thing to watch this film for is the overall cheesiness.  It can be found relatively easily on a few 50 movie packs, just be ready for a really cheesy, hilariously bad movie.  Or, if you;re truly insane you can try to hunt down the VHS from VCI Home Video.  I'd just go for the 50 movie pack, it's cheaper.


  1. Great write-up! Totally agree with your review. This was very dumb at times, but still not too bad. Ron Marchini is always entertaining.


About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.