So the Alien frightened you, so the Terminator thrilled you. Now get ready for the Alien Terminator (aka Top Line), a 1988 action/adventure/Sci-Fi film starring Franco Nero, Deborah Moore, and with the friendly participation of George Kennedy. There’s a goofy grace in this casually ridiculous mess.
Every big idea the movie delivers seems like it was coaxed out of a reluctant, inebriated old man who just wanted to be left alone. Most of the movie consists of a moustachioed Nero running around Columbia being chased by anonymous guys with guns who may be KGB, mafia, or Nazis. Director Nello Rossati seems to have no idea or interest in how audiences form attachments to characters and events.
One moment, Ted (Nero) is having lunch with a friend—then an abrupt jump cut immediately has Ted identifying the same friend’s corpse in the morgue. Deborah Moore (daughter of Roger Moore) is introduced as an assistant to that same friend and she starts following Ted around for no apparent reason. She trusts him without question when he tells her he’s not guilty of the murders the government pins on him, and doesn’t even blink when he tells her there’s an alien spacecraft with what he identifies as a “16th century carrack” in the mountains.
Looks more like a 19th century balcony if you ask me. There’s business about how alien technology is being kept hidden from the public but it’s all very vague, mostly everything is just an excuse for guys to shoot at Franco Nero so he can narrowly escape in various ways. My favourite is when he hops into the back of a truck being driven by a middle aged man and woman, apparently chicken farmers, who are so drunk they just constantly laugh while the vehicle weaves about alarmingly on the road.
They’re not even laughing at anything, for five or so minutes of film they’re just aimlessly laughing.
Finally, June (Moore) joins Ted on the run and they at last witness the strange, expressionless, apparently invulnerable man. “Russian?” June speculates, maybe wondering if he’s related to Dolph Lundgren’s character from Rocky IV. But, no—he really is a machine!
So now there’s a killer robot for some reason. He’s good for another couple chase scenes, anyway, before Ted’s icy ex-wife (Mary Stavin, Jerry’s Icelandic girlfriend from Twin Peaks) travels from a New York high rise, in person, for some reason, to handle matters. Events occur, occasionally they bear some tentative relationship to each other.
There was always a smile on my face watching the movie, it was like watching a dream someone had while Raiders of the Lost Ark, Alien, and Terminator played on television. Alien Terminator is available on Amazon Prime under the title Top Line.
Twitter Sonnet #1243
The floating gloves suggest a finger mind.
Remembered eyes at present watch the lens.
Projector wheels would turn another kind.
The future’s built in rusty pots and tins.
A podgy lizard fell across the street.
Detectives turned the scales to see the sum.
A giant foot can cover any beat.
A roiling Coke disturbed the rubber tum.
A circle mouth contained a cube and sphere.
Tomato sauces source the reddest fruit.
A trade occurred between the wine and beer.
The grapes had legs where hops had not a boot.
A common pastry’s more exclusive now.
The sprinkles meet the jelly past the row.