"Hey Armbrewster, tell me again how you think I'm compensating for something. I dare you."Reporting to Carter, Krebs says that they couldn't kill the Syngenors, even though we clearly saw more than one of them die. He also says that there were at least twenty of them. By my count there were four. Carter tells him that it's alright that he didn't kill the Syngenors, as he has changed his mind and now wants them to live. For a guy who was just told that his entire team died and that he nearly died for absolutely nothing, Krebs takes this news remarkably well. I can't even begin to imagine how much he must get paid if he's willing to take that kind of straight-up mindfucking from his boss, put his life on the line at a moment's notice, and wear that faggy jumpsuit all the time. Donny decides that things have gotten just about freaky enough for his tastes and he tries to sneak out early. He runs into Carter in the halls and tries to come up with some feeble excuse for going outside. Carter shoots him in the head, then jumps up and down like an incontinent monkey, shooting his body over and over again. He then calls all of his executives to his office, where he is waiting for them with the Deathrattle. Lord knows how it got there, but there it is.

 He tells them that he's finally figured it out - the traitor isn't a low-level employee or a Syngenor, but one of his executives. Gee, you think he cracked that one when his newly appointed PR executive told a reporter that he had Ethan Valentine killed? Carter turns the Deathrattle on Armbrewster, who is too busy enjoying a donut to even realize just how screwed he is. The massive gun takes forever to warm up, and then it shoots a few concentric rings of white light. We see blood splatter against the wall. Presumably Armbrewster is vaporized. It's a pretty impressive gun, but a few rings is not exactly the "thousand rounds per second" we were promised. By my estimate, the actual count is closer to six rounds per second. There's something of a jump between six and a thousand. That's advertising for you, I guess. With all of his executives rounded up like cattle, Carter calls the police captain and tells them he can give them Stan Armbrewster's killers. Then he drops the phone and asks the police captain to hold him. Really.

Nick and Susan drive to the police station and show Lt. Rosselli the photographs, which somehow developed on their own. Rosselli tells them he believes them, but there's nothing he can do. Can you believe it? Some dark, grainy, blurred photographs of dark human-shaped creatures failed to convince a police officer to risk his job by violating his captain's orders and arresting a billionaire industrialist for sending a mutant supersoldier to murder a scientist! What is this world coming to?

"No, I want to do that for you, honey, honest. It's just, well, I've got this ache in my jaw, see..."

Dejected, Nick and Susan return to the Valentine house. Susan is in a tiff over Rosselli's refusal to help, but Nick is more realistic about things. Considering the power of the people they're up against and the overwhelming odds against them, he admits that he doesn't know what to do next and that he's scared for his life. As it turns out, utter hopelessness and total despair just happen to be Susan's biggest turn-ons. She practically mauls him trying to kiss him. So she's guilty of overly aggressive tongue, too, huh? I guess it runs in the family. Susan and Nick have themselves some narrowly-avoided-being-killed-by-mutant-death-machines-who-know-where-we-live-and-can-find-us-at-any-time-sex, which is really the best kind of sex. I'd just like to use this romantic interlude as a good time to mention that by this point, Nick's editor is probably pretty fed up of waiting for that Executive of the Year story. Just a thought. 

Okay, back to the sex. After the sweet, sweet loving, they cuddle until they fall asleep and Susan has a dream that her uncle is alive and calling to her, but when she goes to him, she is attacked by a Syngenor. Attacking the Syngenor in her dream, she lashes out and end up smacking Nick hard enough to knock him off the bed in real life. When he asks her just what the hell her problem is, she says she knows what her uncle meant by his last words. That is, by the last words she bothered to stick around to listen to. For all she knows, he kept on talking for hours after she climbed out of the window and ran to the police station, leaving him to die at the hands of a Syngenor. Note that she never actually apologizes for smacking Nick clean across the face. First she holds a knife to his throat, and now she beats him without remorse. She's abusive, and since she can't drive, she just uses him for rides. This is a relationship that's going places, no doubt about it.

Susan leads the way out to the backyard laboratory, where her uncle told her to spray a pod. Nick mentions that he saw a glowing, pulsating pod when he was rifling through her uncle's things on the day they met. That's right, he came across a glowing, pulsating pod that looks like nothing else found anywhere on Earth, and he chose not to bring it up until now. And that means he saw the pod and passed it by in favor of reading Ethan's crappy journal. I can't even tell if that makes him a good journalist or an incredibly bad one. And on the subject of that journal, considering that there's almost nothing crucial to the plot that wasn't in Ethan's journal to begins with, save for the word "Syngenor" itself, you sort of have to wonder about the odds that Ethan would have never mentioned the pod in there, or the fact that the pod and the Syngenors can be destroyed with water. This seems like pretty important information, precisely the sort of thing he'd want to write about. You know, "Dear Diary: Today I perfected my creation's ability to survive in the scorching heat of the desert, but I just can't seem to stop it from disintegrating when it gets wet." Or maybe, "Dear Diary: Today I put a huge, glowing, pulsating pod in my back yard. I don't know what it does, but it seemed like the sort of thing I'd want in my back yard." Seriously, we never actually learn what this pod is all about. I'm sure it's connected to the Syngenors, but it doesn't seem to be even remotely necessary. They get food from their victims and they reproduce on their own asexually, so what would they need that this pod could provide? The only thing I can come up with is that the pod is the beacon that the prototype Syngenor is attracted to, but even so destroying it would just mean that the prototype Syngenor won't come by the house so much. So what It's not like the Syngenor wouldn't know where the house is after being there.

Chevy vs. Mutant - one of the all time classic battles.

Really, the pod only serves as a device to get Susan and Nick into the back yard. They never even get close enough to spray it down and destroy it. As soon as they get into the back yard, a Syngenor attacks Nick. He grapples with it, and even though the Syngenors supposedly have enough strength to fling men into walls and kill them instantly, Nick holds his own quite admirably for as long as Susan needs to find her uncle's favorite fucking huge power drill. This thing could be used to drill for oil. She drives it deep into the Syngenor's skull, then she and Nick run around to the front yard. They find Lt. Rosselli pulling into the driveway. They beg him to let them in the car and get them away from there. Rosselli explains that he's there because the captain wants to question them regarding the murder of Stan Armbrewster. Even though the charge is completely implausible, Nick agrees to submit to questioning if he'll just unlock the goddamn doors already and let them in. 

Getting perturbed by all this talk of Syngenors, even though he said earlier that he believes they're real, Rosselli finally unlocks the car doors. Nick and Susan get in, but at the same time, the Syngenor pulls Rosselli out through the driver's side window. Nick takes the driver's seat and throws the car in reverse. As he brings it out into the street and gets ready to speed off, Nick sees that the Syngenor is standing in the middle of the road, waiting for him. That's right, this creature that supposedly has an appetite for knowledge is standing right in the path of a car with enough space to get up to a decent speed. Brilliant. Nick shifts into drive. Director George Elanjian, Jr. makes a big point of showing the gear gauge each time Nick shifts, even though the indicator is so small that it is utterly impossible to see it move at all. In fact, I'm not sure anything actually is moving. I wouldn't be surprised if it's just some still shot of the gears repeated a couple times. It's not like that would be a significant drop in quality for this film.

Man, airbags really DO cost more lives than they save!

Anyway, Nick puts it in drive (I assume) and guns it. The Syngenor shows its biological superiority by getting mowed down like a deer caught in the headlights. So not only do Syngenors die when they touch water, get burned easily by fire, enjoy leaving themselves wide open to get shot, and move painfully slowly, but their instinctive response to seeing a large metallic object hurtling toward them is to stand there and see if it hurts. I'm telling you, if these things are going to do our fighting for us, then the next World War is going to be a hoot! Nick drives toward Norton Cyberdyne while Susan rummages around in the glove compartment and finds Rosselli's gun. Like any prepared police officer, he apparently decided it would be a good idea to go apprehend two murder suspects - people whom he knows for fact capably infiltrated and escaped from a military design facility - alone and with his weapon just barely within arm's reach. I'm sure that's standard procedure. 

Nick and Susan don't have much time to think about the fat, dead bastard's complete incompetence, though, as the Syngenor tears through the roof of the car from above. Yep, when they hit it, it flew onto the roof, but they both managed to not notice the tremendous black creature weighing down on the fabric roof, in addition to the sound of that creature landing on top of them. I mean, we already knew Susan's not the most observant gal on the block, but Nick's a reporter. Hell, he found the pod. I expected better of him. Nick drives wildly as he tries to keep them alive while simultaneously avoiding the swipes of the Syngenor's claw. Miraculously, he manages to avoid every single obstacle along the way, despite swerving like a drunk suffering from an epileptic fit. When he finally does hit something, it's only a light scrape along the side of a parked car, and they're only like forty feet from the front door of Norton Cyberdyne. The crash was minimal, but nonetheless, as Nick and Susan head for the building, the car explodes. Four times. I think the prototype Syngenor actually walks away from this, if I'm seeing it correctly. That would officially be the first impressive thing a Syngenor has done.

I don't know what Carter did here, but I like it.

As soon as Nick and Susan enter the building, it is clear that there is a little problem. Namely, Carter is in control, and he's gone more or less completely batshit crazy. Although he is sitting in the security room, watching the action on the monitors, Carter beckons the two of them up to his office over the PA system. He also tells them that the entire pack of Syngenors is loose in the building. For the record, the entire pack turns out to be four of them. I win, Krebs loses. When Nick and Susan get to Carter's office, they find all of the remaining executives strewn about the room wearing nothing but their undergarments and various party hats and masks. They are all bloody, but two - and only two, regardless of how many you might think from the number that are visibly breathing - of them are still alive: Paula and David Greenwalt, the guy who inherited the Syngenor project. Paula's hands and feet are tied and she is stretched out on the board table with a mask on her face. Despite the fact that she's wide awake and the mask is just flimsy plastic, she doesn't so much as moan for help until her mask is removed. It's like George Elanjian, Jr. thought there would be some suspense as to who was under that mask. There is only one woman on the board of executives. Believe me, no one thinks it's going to be Armbrewster under that mask. Once they get back on their feet, Paula and Greenwalt suggest that they all go down to the showroom and grab the Deathrattle, which is capable of killing the Syngenors. Why Carter bothered to put it back there instead of, oh, taking it with him to the security room or just leaving it, I'll never know.

This Deathrattle can be yours if the Price is Right!

The four of them make a break for the showroom. Greenwalt doesn't look where he's going and ends up running into a Syngenor, which, as we all know, is the only way they can catch anyone. He gets tossed into a wall. Susan comes up with a brilliant plan - she and Paula will go get the Deathrattle and bring it down the basement. Nick gets to lead all of the Syngenors into the service elevator and bring them down to the basement, where they can all be killed in one fell swoop. Yeah, Nick kind of gets shafted in this plan, but he goes along with it anyway, since it beats standing there and arguing the finer points for hours until the Syngenors managed to cover the four feet between them. Susan and Paula execute their part of the plan with ease, since it doesn't involve getting into a confined space with four raging engines of theoretical destruction. As they wheel the Deathrattle down to the basement, Paula decides that now is a good time to tell Susan that it was her idea to let the Syngenors out, and thus she was responsible for Ethan's death. She's not apologizing, just pointing out the fact. People skills are not Paula's strong point.

"Wow, the Deathrattle really is fun to fire!"

Meanwhile, Nick actually has a relatively simple time leading the Syngenors down the halls to the elevator. Since they move with all of the alacrity of the tectonic plates, he really only has to stay a couple steps ahead of the pack. The problem is what to do once they get to the elevator. He hits the down button, then quickly pushes a portion of the grate that constitutes the elevator ceiling aside and pulls himself up on top of it. It sure is a good thing that none of these supersoldiers, who are strong enough to kill a man in one blow by throwing him against a wall and who can break through wooden doors like tearing through tissue paper, can jump. I really wish I could read Ethan's journal for myself. Maybe he put something in there explaining why, when he was creating the ultimate soldier, the phrase "practically immobile" leapt to mind. Oh who am I kidding. There are no answers in that journal. Every time it is open to the camera, we can see that the pages are clearly blank. Oh well. 

The elevator reaches the basement and Paula opens fire with the Deathrattle. It doesn't exactly vaporize the Syngenors like she promised, but it does make them fall down and stay there, and that's just as good. Nick drops down from the ceiling. Paula, overwhelmed by the joy of firing concentric circles at people, decides to give Nick a taste of vitamin Obliteration. As the gun warms up again, the prototype Syngenor appears from out of nowhere and attacks Nick. He knocks it away with a single blow, which I think basically proves beyond all reasonable doubt that Syngenors suck and humans rule. At the same time, Susan lunges at Paula in an incredibly weak action sequence. Paula stumbles to the side and Susan gently brushes against the side of the Deathrattle, sending it spinning wildly on its tripod. Because when you're designing the most powerful gun the world has ever known, one of the features you really want is for its aim to be knocked completely off by the slightest tap. Paula and the Syngenor end up getting knocked into one another, and the Deathrattle finally comes to a rest right on them. It fires, reducing them both to a pile of guts and dismembered limbs. Hey, there's another must-have feature on the world's deadliest weapon - the ability to fire even if no one is squeezing the trigger. On the whole, I question the safety of Norton Cyberdyne products.

The worst part is, it had this massive boogie in its nose for the entire scene.

Nick and Susan head upstairs to finish their business with Carter. Meanwhile, the mass of random bits and pieces of Syngenor and Paula start to drift toward one another. Our heroes find Carter in the showroom, crouched with his re-agent injection gun in his hand and a plastic bunny mask on the back of his head. Nick bats the injection gun out of Carter's hands, not that it was any threat anyway, and aims Rosselli's pistol at him. Carter happily puts his mouth around the barrel, as if defiantly showing the world that, yes, he can successfully suck on something! Bully for him! However, Nick doesn't shoot, as Susan says she'd rather see Carter behind bars. 

Carter then launches into a diatribe about how he makes the world a safer place but gets no thanks for it, and how really he's just lonely and wants to be held. Just then, a huge monster that is a bizarre amalgamation of Syngenor and Paula shambles into the room. It has two faces - Paula's and the monster's - but neither of them have any moving parts. Neither the monster's growling nor Paula's call to Carter actually seem to come from anywhere. Recognizing Paula among the deformity, Carter rushes to her, begging her to hold him. She does so, but sadly, a bit tighter than he would have liked, and her grasp is more skull-centric than your average hug. That is to say, she crushes his head. Then she turns her attention on Nick and Susan. Just then, Susan figures out what her uncle was really trying to tell her. She pulls the fire alarm, setting off the sprinkler system. As soon as the water hits her, the Paula/Syngenor creature begins to deflate and transform from a bad rubber suit to a bad special effect. The Norton Cyberdyne commercial starts to play again on the wall monitor. Susan takes the pistol from Nick and shoots the screen. Satisfied, they both turn and walk out. The camera pans over to the model Syngenor behind the glass. Suddenly, its eyes open. Why, that's no model at all! It's a B-movie cliche brought to life in a completely implausible fashion! Aaaaiiiieeeeee!

The main problem behind "Syngenor" is that it sucks really, really badly. I know that's sort of a broad statement, but hear me out. The entire concept is just bad. It's like the writers decided to throw together every crappy sci-fi monster movie cliche they could think of, without any regard for whether or not they would work or make any sense or totally fuck up the continuity. So you've got a weak plot barely stringing together these cliches. Add in dialogue that Cheech and Chong would find stilted and lifeless, and you've got a foundation for failure on a catastrophic level. Hand this script to a bunch of talentless actors who are related to semi-talented actors, plus some talentless actors who don't even have that going for them, including Starr Andreeff (Susan), a woman whose credits include "Skullduggery," and you've really got a winner on your hands. Then turn the product

Special Effects-10
Music / Sound-4

– Ben "Greasnin" Platt

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