This meeting of the Folded Hands Club will now come to order. Anyone with new business, please raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?Armbrewster takes his seat beside Paula at the executive table. Like before, he is totally subservient to her, although now it looks less like toadying and more like he's just retarded. He asks her a series of stupid questions, which she answers impatiently. It's obvious that their entire dialogue is constructed purely to reveal to the audience that the two of them had planned to test the Syngenor by having it kill Calhoun. It's a good thing that is explained, too, because otherwise we would have to piece it together from the obvious clues from earlier in the movie, or wait twenty seconds to hear it all again from Carter Brown. Carter, the head honcho, takes his time getting ready in his private washroom before making his appearance. When he finally comes out, he turns on a small wall-mounted television which plays one of Norton Cyberdyne's commercials. The commercial, which features blatantly jingoistic imagery of American flags and targets narrowing in on a map of the Middle East, goes like this:
In the past, wars were fought by men - men susceptible to fear and bullets. And in the past, wars were lost in jungle terrain. But in the future, American soldiers will not have to be at a disadvantage in the battlefield. World leaders have unanimously predicted that the next global war will be fought… in the Middle East. Here at Norton Cyberdyne, we predict that war will not be fought by American men, but by a new breed of soldier without fear, a soldier impervious to conventional weaponry, a soldier trained to kill and survive in the desert, and a soldier capable of reproducing every twenty-four hours. That soldier shall be called SYNGENOR!
So the Syngenors are supposed to be bio-engineered supersoldiers. Good to know. And if not for the fact that they clearly just kill anything in their path, they'd be ready to go! We also learn that they can reproduce every day, which is quite necessary, since when they were making them "impervious to conventional weaponry," they neglected to include fire or water. Oh, and also we later see that while Syngenors may not be susceptible to fear, even unto the point of blatant stupidity, they are actually rather susceptible to bullets. Also they are apparently incapable of wielding any actual weapons. So these supersoldiers are dumb, slow-moving, easily-killed monsters with absolutely no ability to attack from a distance. It's good to know the American way of life is being protected to capably. Really, the one thing the Syngenors have going for them is that they don't need food to survive. Instead, they feed by sucking the spinal fluid out of people slow enough to be caught. So they're going to go win us the next World War by slowly wandering around in the desert until someone is moronic enough to let one of them grab him, at which point the Syngenor will cram its tongue down its victim's throat and drain his spinal fluid. This is its brutally efficient mode of killing. That's just terrific.
How nice to see you again, Dr. Hill. Oh, I mean, Carter.
Carter explains that the prototype Syngenor successfully killed Calhoun, as well as "two female civilians" that no one seems to care about in the least. The problem is, then the damn thing escaped. The first thing it did with its newfound freedom was to kill its creator, Ethan Valentine, and attempt to kill Susan. Carter reveals that the police aren't investigating the matter because he exercised some of his influence. So that clears that up. David Greenwalt, the new guy in charge of the Syngenor project, says that he feels the damn things are too risky. Carter disagrees, and calls another meeting for Saturday to discuss the next phase in their plans. Armbrewster whines about having to come to work on a Saturday. It's not like he has a social life anyway. The Syngenor killed his date the night before.
The executives go their separate ways. As Paula and Armbrewster walk together, she tells him to leak information about the Syngenor project to the press, to implicate Carter Brown in Ethan's death, and to let the other Syngenors out of the basement. She manages to do all of this without moving a single facial muscle other than the ones directly responsible for moving her lips. It's actually pretty impressive, in that annoying sort of way that all bad acting is. As for Carter, he returns to his bathroom, where he talks to his reflection and injects himself in the neck with a glowing green substance. Now, I'm not saying that this substance is re-agent, the very substance used in "Re-Animator," but it does seem sort of strange that David Gale, who was in that movie, injects himself with a goop that looks just like the goop from that movie, and no real explanation is ever given for it. Seriously, we never find out what the green stuff really is. We just sort of have to figure out from various scenes that it keeps him vaguely sane. See, it's not really re-agent, it's just... re...agent. Hey, shut up!
Susan's having a bit of a lopsided hair day.
Lt. Rosselli drops Susan off at her house, then gives her another tearful hug. She clearly just wants to go inside and collapse. She was sitting in his office all fucking night, after all. Once she gets inside, though, her peace is shortlived. She hears a noise coming from out back. She picks up the phone, but remembering what an unhelpful slut the operator was the night before, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She grabs a kitchen knife that would make Crocodile Dundee piss himself with jealousy and creeps out toward her late uncle's lab. The cops did a great job cleaning the place up for her to come home to. There is torn police tape everywhere, and Ethan's chalk outline is still on the floor. She finds the source of the noise coming from behind a piece of cloth. When she tears the cloth away, it turns out that it's not an angry Syngenor after all, but Nick Cary, nosy reporter! It's a good thing, too. Considering how badly a little bit of water hurt the Syngenor, just being in the same room as a knife that size would probably make it spontaneously combust. Nick had learned from Bonnie that Ethan quit Norton Cyberdyne a couple weeks earlier and decided to do some snooping. He already read through Ethan's journal and learned that he had been working on a mysterious project code named "Dark Skies," which has something to do with mutant supersoldiers and desert combat. Susan determines that it must have been one of these mutants that killed her uncle and agrees to help Nick get into Norton Cyberdyne if he'll then investigate her uncle's death. Nick agrees, and not just because she's holding a knife that could cut off his head and his gonads in the same swipe, although that is pretty good motivation.
Back at Norton Cyberdyne, Armbrewster asks Bonnie to go down to the basement, retrieve the primary files on the Syngenor project, and unlock a key containment tank or two while she's down there. As a secretary to Carter Brown, her job description obviously includes handling biohazard containment units in a part of the building plastered with "Authorized Access Only" signs and the like, so she readily agrees. She goes down to the basement and finds the file, which consists of nothing but design sketches for the Syngenor costumes. She has a little more trouble with the second part of her job. She opens the door, but three Syngenors quickly (relatively speaking) emerge. Bonnie finds a hiding place, but she is driven out in the open by a rat that comes sniffing around. While simultaneously trying to avoid the Syngenors and the rat, Bonnie backs into a fusebox and electrocutes herself. You have to love how she has just unleashed three supposedly unstoppable killing machines, and her death is in no way the direct result of their actions. It really adds to the atmosphere of terror that permeates this movie. Fuse boxes are fucking dangerous, my friend.
It's a contest to see who can move their face less. The winner gets shot. The loser has to appear in the sequel.
When Armbrewster stops by Bonnie's desk to pick up the file, he is pissed to find it's not there for him. Sure, he told her she didn't even need to take care of it that day, but whatever. He swallows his fear and goes down the elevator himself. When he sees the Syngenors on the loose and Bonnie's body on the floor, he gets right back in the elevator and bolts back upstairs. Meanwhile, Carter shows Paula his "O" face. Seriously, throughout this entire scene, his mouth hangs open like his lower jaw is falling off (maybe a little re-agent could help, hmm?). He confides in her that he doesn't know who to trust, then takes her finger into his mouth quasi-sexually. I say "quasi" because it might actually appear sexual if it looked like he was sucking on her finger. Unfortunately, with his jaw flapping in the breeze like that, it really just looks like he's trying to play a twisted game of Operation with her. "Let's see if I can get your entire finger into and out of my mouth without touching the sides and setting of the buzzer! Wheee!" Armbrewster barges in just as this weird act comes to a close and tells Carter that his niece is dead at the hands of the Syngenors. Carter retires to his bathroom, where he admits to his reflection that he quite literally just wants to be held. Paula and Armbrewster leave Carter to his grief, and Paula gloats that he is finally cracking up. In my opinion, he's a wee bit past that point already, but let's not get bogged down in semantics over such a shitty movie.
The next day, Nick and Susan go to Norton Cyberdyne, with Susan posing as Nick's photographer. Nick parks in the damn handicap spot again, but this time, he's ready for it. He puts a false handicap sign in his windshield, absolutely glowing with contentment over his brilliant trickery. However, once they get inside and Nick sees that a new girl has replaced Bonnie at the desk, he's at a loss. Well, not really. Actually, the fact that his one friendly contact in the company is missing doesn't phase him in the least, but Susan does all the talking for him anyway. She introduces them both to the new secretary, tells her they're there to interview Armbrewster, then asks for directions to the bathroom. The secretary is perfectly helpful and gives Susan incredibly complex directions, which presumably are supposed to be funny. Nonetheless, the next time we see Susan, she's actually standing right outside the bathroom door, which, according to the directions, would mean she has just moved undetected and undisturbed through half the facility with a huge camera around her neck. Donny's slacking off. Shame on him.
"Well, Donny, is that a massive fucking gun behind you or are you just happy to see me?"
Nick meets with Armbrewster, who tells him off the record that Ethan Valentine had been working on the Syngenors and that Carter Brown had him killed. He also says that Ethan planted a homing beacon in the prototype Syngenor. I don't know how this affects anything. No one knows how to track the Syngenor's movements. It sounds more like Ethan built a homing beacon for the Syngenor to follow, which might explain why it showed up at his house. Either way, it doesn't make an awful lot of sense. I mean, if you knew you had built a monstrous killer, would you want it to come find you first thing if it ever got loose? Unbeknownst to Armbrewster and Nick, Carter and Paula are monitoring them through a hidden camera, and Carter takes this as a sign that Armbrewster has betrayed him. He's swift like that. Meanwhile, Susan finds a showroom with a model Syngenor behind glass and a huge motherfucking gun just sitting out in the open. A monitor plays another Norton Cyberdyne commercial.
Welcome to Norton Cyberdyne! Years of research have made our company the leading producer of wartime paraphernalia. Still, prevention is our primary goal, and to that end, we've developed two products which will certainly make the world a safer place. In our country's quest for military dominance, we've developed what must be hailed as mankind's greatest achievement. A perfect blend of man and machine, with an appetite for justice and knowledge. Designed to fight in the dry, arid climate of the Middle East, this warrior requires no water. Instead, it survives solely by draining its victim's spinal fluid. Syngenor - for that extra-aggressive, combat-ready killer so necessary for victory on today's battlefield.
To complement the Syngenor, Norton Cyberdyne has also developed the most fearsome piece of artillery known to man - the Deathrattle, a gun so efficient, in can dispatch over a thousand rounds per second with a radial spray of up to ten meters! Easy to load, easy to maneuver, and fun to fire!
So Syngenors are part man, part machine? Exactly where does the machine part come in? There is nothing even remotely machine-like about them. They reproduce through eggs, for Christ's sake. And I don't know exactly what they mean by "an appetite for knowledge." These things have thus far exhibited about as much intelligence as a Lincoln Log, and believe me, they don't get much better as the movie progresses. And isn't it convenient that they just happen to introduce another almighty weapon at the same time? Norton Cyberdyne has created the ultimate gun, then designed supersoldiers incapable of firing it. Sure, that's not just a convenient plot device thrown in at the last minute. Not no way, not no how. Oh, and also, "fun to fire?" That's just wrong. Finally, Donny gets off his fat ass and decides to do something about the woman snooping around the sensitive areas of the facility taking pictures. Who says you can't find good help these days?
"Grr... I'm so old..."
Carter calls Nick up to his office for a private meeting. There, he hands Nick a press release implicating Armbrewster in Ethan's murder and orders him to print it. As he begins to object, Donny drags in Susan and tosses her roll of film to Carter. Susan berates Carter for killing her uncle, prompting him to go on a stereotypical bad guy rant that eliminates all possibility of him being even remotely human. It's not enough that he's in charge of a company that designs monsters, but he naturally has to be one hundred percent evil himself. Nonetheless, David Gale's acting in this scene is the most entertaining thing in the movie. Nick realizes that they're beat and pulls Susan out of the office. She tells him what she saw, and they decide to try to get some more pictures. While they sneak through the building, Carter meets with his executives and tells them that he wants the Syngenors destroyed. Paula is against this idea, but Carter silences her by making a paper clip chain. That works every time.
Those are some gay, gay jumpsuits, right there.
Nick and Susan don't get the chance to go back to the showroom before a line of Norton Cyberdyne's hired goons comes marching down the hall in their direction, forcing them to duck into the one place the goons would never think of looking - their own locker room. From their imperceptible hiding place behind a jacket, Nick and Susan eavesdrop on the goons and learn that they are heading down to the basement to exterminate the Syngenors. Nick decides this is a bad thing, since it will erase all evidence of their existence and he'll have no story. Of course, considering he first got involved in this whole mess when he was trying to get an interview with Carter Brown for an Executive of the Year story, I'd imagine he'd be pretty happy about that. Besides, he was just about to go snap some pictures of the model Syngenor in the showroom and he was perfectly willing to be happy with just that. But no, now he needs to go expose himself and Susan to easily avoidable danger by having the both of them dress up as hired goons, which means putting on the gayest costumes since Liberace, and following the other goons down to the basement. Susan wisely objects to this plan, but Nick is perfectly happy to go on his own, and she certainly isn't about to let him prove he's capable of doing anything without her, so she concedes and suits up in one of the extra, perfectly-fitted goon suits just sitting out in the open.
Here's some friendly advice to all the Syngenors out there: If your faces are that far apart and you're still slipping him the tongue, you need to get your ass out of the killing machine business and into the porn business.
Down in the basement, the goons open fire on the Syngenors. True to their hype, the creatures prove to be impervious to bullets, as long as you take "impervious to" to mean "killed really easily by." As the goons pump round after round into one of the Syngenors, it dances like the Sugarplum Fairy before being blown through a stack of boxes. One goon just sticks his gun in a Syngenor's mouth and pulls the trigger. The Syngenor's head bursts apart like a pumpkin. And yet, all of the goons but their leader get killed, mainly because they stay in one place for way too long and wait for the Syngenors to walk up to them, grab them, and ram their tongues in their mouths. Finally showing some strength, the Syngenors toss a couple of the goons into walls. However, I still don't think they quite live up to their supersoldier moniker, since their basic response to getting shot is to stand still and continue getting shot until they die. Krebs, the leader of the goon squad, finally decides this is just idiotic and gets back in the elevator.
One Syngenor closes in on Nick and Susan. Nick has a gun (which must have also just been laying around in the locker room), but he refuses to use it for some reason. He just holds it out in front of him while Susan takes pictures. When the Syngenor gets too close, they make a break for it by climbing into a ventilation duct. Susan crawls ahead, mindless of the fact that the Syngenor has reached into the vent and is actively strangling Nick. Sure, all of Nick's thrashing would make enough noise in an air duct to make Helen Keller phone in a noise complaint, but Susan doesn't pick up on anything. Nick manages to break free and scrambles after Susan. Not wanting to be left alone, the Syngenor climbs in and crawls after them, in an "homage" to "Alien." Once Susan finds an escape route by cleverly dropping headfirst down a shaft, Nick pulls a grenade off of his goon outfit, lobs it behind him, and drops down after her. The grenade explodes, generating a massive amount of fire, especially compared to the pussy grenades the goons were throwing earlier, which made weak little flashes and a few sparks. Lucky for Nick, huh? Despite the fact that they were in the basement when the started and they fell downward, the shaft magically comes out right by the front of the building at ground level. Nick and Susan rush back to the car, which has not been towed this time thanks to the clever and massively illegal use of the handicap sticker, and they get the hell out of there.
Transgressive author Chuck Palahniuk is here to help with tips and tricks to hacking your life.
Not what I had in mind when I ordered an Italian gondolier. This is literally just a tiny toy. Needless to say, the Italian businessmen were not impressed and I looked like a damn fool. We lost the pizza pie account and will have to lay off half our factory.
Time to applaud the man who applauds in a loop until the end of time.
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