Deadly Weapon (1989)

Allegedly Michael Miner’s “Deadly Weapon” was supposed to be a sequel to Charles Band’s notoriously awful cult riot “Laserblast.” But when Empire pictures fell, Band basically turned the sequel in to its own film. Really, “Deadly Weapon” feels so much like a remake of “Laser Blast,” and an unnecessary one at that. Like its predecessor it’s hilariously bad and filled with so much horrible editing and acting, it’s more funny than it is entertaining.

While “Laserblast” came at the beginning of the eighties, “Deadly Weapon” is right at the end, and embraces eighties cheese with unabashed love just like the previous title “Terrorvision.” And continuing the odd tradition of forming the Band Universe in to one cohesive package, there’s even a clip of “Terrorvision” playing in the background on a television. We have really cheesy eighties rock blaring over the film every second, there’s awkward guitar cues at odd scenes that don’t call for them, and there’s even a group of bullies in town who could very well be poster boys for the eighties. One thug even has overalls over a bare chest and long funky hair. “Deadly Weapon” can never be sure if it wants to be a science fiction horror film, a drama or a comedy, so there are moments of sheer melodrama, and a lot of inept comedy.

The film opens with the protagonist Zeke Robinson being interrogated by the school principal who proceeds to beat him up in the office behind closed doors, cue wacky sound effects. And the thugs even hold Zeke by his feet and bang him in to the ground like a Three Stooges episode. Rodney Eastman from “Dream Warriors” stars as the perpetually abused Zeke who spends his days in a fantasy world pretending to be an alien around people who do nothing but physically harm him. After his mother left his family, his dad is now an abusive drunk, his sister a slutty bully, and Zeke has only his dog Van Halen to spend time with. When a government truck (without a military escort, mind you) holding a top secret weapon–in a rickety wooden crate, no less (?) falls off and in to the local lake, Zeke discovers it and decides to use the weapon to exact revenge on his tormentors.

This journey is laughable and poorly written as Zeke is able to blow his father away to kingdom come with out barely drawing a notice, meanwhile Zeke narrates the entire series of violent events like an episode of “The Wonder Years.” “The visitor was feeling pretty good right now!” Zeke declares overhead as the music rises like an episode of “Amazing Stories.” And don’t even get me started on Kim Walker who watches her friends get blasted away and decides to join Zeke on his mission for kicks. After an hour of robbing the only two stores in the large desert town, she declares herself Zeke’s girl because… he has the big gun. I’m assuming. “Deadly Weapon” can never actually set a tone for itself, so it’s never sure if it wants to be a violent revenge tale, or a light hearted coming of age story. Zeke shifts from erratic and psychotic to wide eyed and optimistic, while the military who want their high powered gun are about as inept as possible.

Just plant a sniper, shoot him in the head, and take the gun. It’s so simple. The writing by Michael Miner is so bi-polar that it’s tough to figure out what the intention of the movie is at all. I felt the atmosphere shift so wildly at times I couldn’t figure out if Zeke was a menace or just a sad little kid. What was the goal after all, if not to destroy his tormentors? “Deadly Weapon” is such an anomaly from none other than Charles Band. At the end of the day, it’s much more watchable than “Laserblast,” so that’s at least one consolation. It’s eighties cheese of the highest order with horrible writing, a goofy premise, and wacky performances from a cast of memorable eighties faces like Kim Walker and Rodney Eastman. The idea is still really worth a solid revenge take, it’s just sad they’ve yet to figure out how to turn it in to an entertaining film.