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Eliminator, The

Director: Enda Hughes


Fast paced, gory and very, very funny, The Eliminator is a minor classic of micro-budget pulp fit to stand beside Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste and Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead in disreputable video libraries everywhere.
Made for a pittance by a close-knit group of young movie obsessives in Keady, Co. Armagh, it could easily have become just another half-baked home movie, never to be seen by paying audiences. However, director Enda Hughes, whose love of popular cinema was kindled by Raiders of the Lost Ark, never intended this as anything but a real movie, his persistence has paid off. It’s a vastly enjoyable rollercoaster ride which works best when seen in a packed cinema.
The plot concerns rival factions battling across Northern Ireland (and Oxford!) for possession of the 007-style war vehicle, the VIPER (Vehicle for Interception, Protection, Elimination and Reconnaissance). The ‘hero’, Stone, is an emotionless, black-clad killing machine. His opponent, Hawk, has a mechanical arm, only one eye, and is a 100% vengeance-crazed lunatic. Connoisseurs of trash will be gratified to discover that their rivalry stems from an ‘incident’ in Vietnam, but most people will be surprised by the hallucinatory ‘Nam flashback, which features the staff of Keady’s Chinese takeaway as Viet Cong.
Starting with an inspired chase sequence, the film never bothers to settle into any one genre. The opening sequence alone features Kray-style ‘hard men’, imminent death by chainsaw, and a psychotic vicar. Later we swerve into ’70s Italian ‘cannibal zombie’ territory, before a brief but disorienting visit to ‘Darby O’Gill’. There’s a continuous feeling of playfulness (a quality not much associated with Irish cinema to date), right up to the closing music, the brilliantly apt Alternative Ulster, which sends you reeling into the aisles.
Not a film for the cynical, the dull and worthy, or the faint-hearted. Everybody else will have a ball.

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