Regenerated Man (1994)
WRITER: Screenplay by Ted A. Bohus and Jack Smith
Story by Ted A. Bohus
DIRECTOR: Ted A. Bohus
STARRING: Arthur Lundquist as Dr. Bob Clarke
Cheryl Hendricks as Kathryn Mirtz
Andrew Fetherolf as Tony "Oni" Agar
Kevin Schinnick as Creature
QUICK CUT: One night, a bunch of thugs raid a lab and force a scientist to ingest a concoction of chemicals that leave him transformed into the engine of revenge and justice...Darkman! ...Wait, no. Scratch that last part.
Robert Clarke - A determined, but ultimately passive scientist, who will go to great lengths and skip regulations to see his projects get done. Including self-experimentation. Because that always ends well.
Kathryn Mirtz - Bob's love interest and fellow scientist, who surprise! disapproves of his experimenting on himself.
Oni - The man with the stupidest nickname on the planet, and best friend and fellow scientist with Bob. He's the clown of the group, always ready with a bad joke to make me groan.
THE GUTS: After some super cheesy graphics, Regenerated Man settles into a lab where we are not wasting a bit of time by having a scientist injecting himself with a formula. Well, straight to the point then, good. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, aside from his sudden screams and shaking like he's in a paint mixer, not much. Oh, and sudden shots of nuclear explosions. So, we are not messing around wasting time with the plot OR going for subtlety with this movie, I see...
As he's flaling and screaming about, the nuclear explosion seems to be the least of his problems. They put in more weird flashes of stuff that make NO sense in context. I don't think they even make sense OUT of context. They may even be shots from unrelated movies?! I guess they're going for the Incredible Hulk homage of things going boom, but...what the heck??
Things get a bit more normal...no wait, they don't. We pan out from the screaming scientist to discover he's not in such good shape. Well, that's what you get for injecting yourself for shits and giggles, pal. What did you expect?
But it's okay! All that was just a bad dream! Sigh.
The real movie begins with the scientist who just woke up screaming going to work and him and his two colleagues getting some strange results in their latest tests. They say they're going to look at them, but they don't. Instead we get some boring personal crap and then the two others leaving Bob behind to work.
He at least has some company from Officer Exposition, who turns up to move the plot along a bit. We get to hear from them that they're working with meteors and on tissue regeneration. What those two have to do with each other, damned if I know! But it worked for the scientists in Species, I guess.
No wait. It didn't.
The doc works late into the night, and sets a timer to wake him up at the crucial time to get back to the experiment after it's incubated. He fails miserably and oversleeps. Fortunately, some thugs barge in to make things happen before I'M the one falling asleep.
Our friendly neighbourhood thugs do their thugly things, but the lab has nothing worth their time. So, they decide they're going to kill the doc anyways, and have some fun by pouring chemicals down his throat. Barely. You can tell they didn't want to make the actor choke while they did it, so used the bare minimum of a few drops. Probably shouldn't have gone for the closeup there, fellas.
The goons continue to raid the place as best they can, including the doc's wallet, and leave him for dead. But he disappears in a half second when no one is looking. But it's not long before he turns back up to enact some revenge.
He dispatches of the first thug quickly enough, although the doc isn't looking too good. He kinda makes Freddy Krueger look handsome.
The other thug stumbles about trying to find his partner, and instead also runs afoul of the transformed man. And for some reason, both of the thugs heard a cat calling out. Was there a real trapped cat, or is that the lamest lure a movie killer has ever used?
We jump ahead to the police turning up, and the doc looking a lot better now, thank you. Detective Winter questions him, but he's either lying, or doesn't remember much after he became a California Raisin.
The cops don't get much more, so leave with the doc's vague story, thoroughly unsatisfied. Winter also threatens the other scientists as they decide to return and find two thugs exploded all over the lab.
Outside, there's also a vial of the concoction that the thugs tried to keep, but it got dumped in the trash bin, so it's then found by a hobo who thinks it looks like his whiskey.
As the doc heads home to relax, Kathryn calls so they can finally get together and chat about their relationship. While he waits, he has flashbacks to the robbery. Yes, he has flashbacks to footage we just saw.
She shows up and they mutually destress, and that means gratuitous sex scene! Combied with gratuitous flashbacks! Quick, where's the fast forward button? To be fair, I *do* like the intercutting between the passionate sex and the brutality of the attack. That was arguably well done. Just...with stuff we JUST saw, damnit.
While they lay in bed after the fun, we find out, in a pretty terrible way, that he actually DID inject himself with serum, to cut corners and speed things along. So, not all a dream sequence to start with, then. I presume so, besides the chestburster?
The girl heads off to pick up a friend or relative from the airport that never actually enters into the plot, and the doc stays at home, where he dozes off and transforms again. Now, if he already experimented on himself, was it really necessary to have the thugs subplot to do it again? Or vice versa? You really only need one batch of mysterious chemicals to ruin your day.
Elsewhere, some mobsters step straight out of central casting to shake down a guy. And the movie veers wildly into broad comedy when one of the mobsters demands more than money, and with a gun to their victim's head, he demands a song. So he starts singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, and the mobster joins in. At least, until his partner smacks him out of it.
I don't care if it's silly, or has no place in this movie, but I laughed out loud at that.
As they're about to escape, the Regenerated Man arrives, and oh snap, shit gets real. One of the gangsters tries to punch him, but he grows a spike out of his face that impales the guy's hand! Then the other guy tries to shoot at the transformed doc, and the bullets bounce right off like he was Superman.
Unlike Superman, the bullets riccochet and injure/kill the first gangster.
Learning from his newfound friend, the Regenerated Man holds up his arm, it glows blue for a bit, splits open, and a bone spur twists out and fires into the guy's head. Holy potatoes, that was actually pretty awesome.
The next day, Doc takes a shower and rushes in to work to show off his latest discovery; a superfluous third nipple! No wait, wait... Just the complete foot he now has, since he was missing a few toes since birth.
Oni and Kathryn wisely decide to run some blood tests, and are shocked to see the needle wound heal itself up instantly. Bob feels woozy afterwards though, so Catherine drags him home despite his protests.
While there, she tries to get information on the attack. But all that does is prompt more flashbacks to the same scene!
While Bob has nightmares that look like something from Charles Band's castoffs, some poor girl is walking home with groceries down a dark alley, so it's no surprise when three muggers jump out and acost her. They do their usual routine of threats and knifeplay, until they hear something and their leader goes to investigate.
Bob comes around the corner and sees the other two guys causing trouble and takes out one of them immediately by launching his fingertips into the guy's face. The last mugger wisely runs away, but then gets marked in the back with another finger.
Detective Winter arrives on the scene to question Kelley, but she's not much help beyond muttering about a monster. He does find one of the fingerbones though, although why he doesn't find the ones imbedded in the mugger's face...? Seriously, there's like two whole hands worth of fingers just laying around here.
As he heads to the lab with his find, we get there first and watch Oni tell Kathryn about the lab results on Bob's bloodwork. And in short, it's not good. He's low on nutrients, and developing weird antibodies, and their Regen 5 serum that's causing all these problems is active AND unstable. Fun!
Of course, that's when the detective shows up to ask more questions, none of which anyone has any good answers too. But Bob is eager to play with his bone.
That night, Bob has another episode, starting to realise he may be his own Mister Hyde, but before he can do anything about it, he is once again transformed.
Annoyingly, the movie denies us any fun stuff, and just has Bob wake up on his kitchen floor the next morning. Did the monster go on a rampage of cleaning out those hard to reach places?
Determined, Bob takes the bone fragment, heads to the lab, and treats us to a SCIENCE MONTAGE! To no one's surprise but his own, Bob finds the DNA of the bone matches his own.
Oni and Kathryn arrive and add to my frustration by mentioning the attacks that happened overnight. You know, the ones we didn't see. But at least no one died.
They try and offer up other theories, but instead decide to run more tests. SCIENCE MONTAGE 2! THE MONTAGING! But Bob does come up with a last ditch solution that will cause rapider growth, then a total collapse, if nothing else works to save him.
Just as they get done with that, they come up with some other vague solution that doesn't make sense, but whatever. It will work because science!
They try to tie Bob up and inject him at the right time with what I *think* is the cure, but they probably should've tried more than duct taping him to a chair. Oh well.
Oh look, the movie remembers the hobo from before. And they spend nearly five minutes with him and his friends complaining about the government and making stupid jokes. Get back to monster time!
The bum who found the vial finally drinks the damned thing, and at least that shuts him up. Well, he screams, but that's an improvement.
So, now we have TWO monsters running around, and as this one tears something out of his friend's gut, it looks like he is just as murderous as the first. Damn you, science! And the hobo was conveniently wearing nearly the exact same clothes as Bob, so you can see the writing on the walls here.
Elsewhere entirely a pair of security guards are getting bored. One of them wanders off to do stuff, and the other hears a noise so goes to investigate. He mentions a cat, so I presume we're back at the lab. And that is a weird running gag.
The guard doesn't find the cat, but one of the monsters finds him, and stabs him in the neck. With his tongue.
When the other guard comes back, he notices his friend is missing, so goes hunting for him. And he finds him being sucked dry like a kid trying to get the last drop of soda from the bottom of a glass with his straw.
The monster gives chase, and the surviving guard ducks behind and slams shut a giant door and calls for help. But the monster will not be the big bad wolf to his little pig. No, he extends finger bones for more fun. Does this guy not know any other tricks?? But I guess it's at least effective, and they launch right through the door.
Kat and Oni hear the murders reported on the police scanner, so hurry to find their colleague. Oni takes the more drastic solution just in case, even though Kat doesn't want to go that far.
They meet up with Winter who reluctantly lets them into the crime scene to help. They don't tell him it's Bob, but they make up a story about stolen chemicals. Before anyone can do anything, Kathryn runs in to get first crack at talking down the crazed monster, rather than have him just end up dead.
Several shots are taken to tranquilise it, but they still have little effect. Instead, Oni uses the destructive serum on him, and the monster goes down like Mike Tyson in the first round.
Kathryn goes to check on the beast, and surprise! It's not dead! In fact, in an instant he's uh...it's a giant crabmonster that is just a mess of bad CGI, and it grabs the girl and swings her around before trying to eat her.
After the Dr. Lazarus wannabe gobbles up the girl, the other part of the process occurs, and the creature dissolves in a burst of light. Fortunately, Kat survives somehow.
They head back to the lab to try and figure out what to tell Winter, and surprise! There's another Regenerated Man! It splats Kat's mouth shut, and when Oni arrives, it...I dunno, ties him up? With veins?
Before he can do any more damage, Bob gets a flask thrown in his face, and instantly changes back. So, that was all they needed to solve all their problems.
A random flask.
I love that no one knows about the bum finding the serum, so will have no clue with the second monster, and that will remain unexplained, probably forever. In fact, Kat has a line when they think they just killed Bob, that he's, "A man that should be remembered as a hero, will be condemned as a murderer! A monster!!"
But Bob's alive! Yay! Never mind! And we'll just forget that someone still committed some murders and died! We didn't know him personally, so that's no tragedy! In fact, we'll pin ALL the murders on him, and Bob is scott free! Oh wait, that's a horrible thing to do...
And no movie, I am ignoring your attempt at sequel baiting by showing the bum's leftover hand coming back to life! NO! Bad movie!
Video: Middle of the road, or thereabouts. It's not super crisp and sharp, but it's at least viewable, and you can tell what's going on, even if the colours are a little weird and the picture is soft.
Audio: Much the same. Could be better, could be worse.
Sound Bite: "I promise, no more self experimentation!" Too late, Doctor Bob. It only takes one hit.
0 - Officer Exposition dies off camera and during a time cut so screw you, I am not officially counting it as the first death.
1 - 13 minutes in, when the doc kills the first thug.
2 - And another thug's gone.
3 - Gangster #1 taken out by a riccochet.
4 - Gangster #2 is lobotomised by a bone spear to the skull.
5 - Using his fingernail blades, Bob takes out the first mugger.
6 - Mugger #2 gets a bunch of fingertips to the face.
7 - Mugger #3 takes a fingernail to the back.
8 - A dead bum gets something ripped out of him.
9 - With a tongue lashing from hell, a security guard buys the farm.
10 - Another security guard, killed with fingertips through a steel door.
11 - The monster bum implodes from the death serum.
Best Corpse: My favourite for effects is the guy who got all the fingers jabbed into his face, that was cool, and some good makeup. But an honourable mention to the mobster who got hit with a riccochet, that does not happen enough in movies with bulletproof characters.
Blood Type - B+: There's quite a bit of blood, but nothing super gory. I give the movie bonus points for decent enough makeup and effects. And I am strictly referring to the practicals like the fingers, and the bone spurs. Screw that really terrible CGI nonsense monster at the end.
Sex Appeal: We get treated to a sex scene and Kelley gets her top ripped off before she's saved by our killer.
Movie Review: This was, oh so very obviously, made on the cheap. The production values are mostly rock bottom. There's weird asides that go nowhere, weird uses of other footage, and a pretty bland plot with rickety sets. The story makes enough sense, but it's not the most original thing out there. It's one part Darkman, and two parts Colony of the Dark. At least there were no penis bats. Two out of five vials of Regen 5.
Entertainment Value: But this movie sure does bring the cheese! Oni is unsufferably bad with his attitude, Kathryn is little more than love interest fodder, and everyone else is pretty much there as nothing more than things for Bob to kill. They are the stereotypes to end all stereotypes. But the movie does NOT skimp on the body count, OR the creature effects, and those happen frequently enough to actually hold your interest if you're up for a big ol' movie of cheese. Four out of five finger bones to the face.
The last finger is the middle one I am giving that ending.