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Issue #188a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES December 1st, 2003

The Stabilizer
(1984; Parkit Films/Punjabi Brothers)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

If you have seen any of Cirio H. Santiago's Filipino actioners, you will have noticed that he tries to make up for a lack of budget and large scale action setpieces by offering virtual non-stop shooting, explosions, and general mayhem. This Indonesian picture is cut from the same cloth: mono moniker director Arizal cannot let five minutes go by without expending 100 rounds of ammunition, blowing up every abandoned vehicle in Jakarta, or toasting some poor stuntman with a flamethrower. Mix in achingly ridiculous dialogue and incredibly unnatural emoting and you have got a sublime bad movie experience.

Professor Provost invents a "Narcotics Detector" (a device apparently so top secret and ingeniously conceived, the producers couldn't afford to actually build one for us to see!) that will wreak havoc with drug smuggling operations in Indonesia. In response, Greg Rainmaker (Craig Gavin), a ruthless crime boss every bit as intimidating as his name, kidnaps and tortures the old man. Enter American supercop Peter Goldson (Peter O'Brian), aka The Stabilizer, whose fiancee was raped and stomped to death by Rainmaker (a scene that sounds revolting in description but is far too ludicrously staged to be offensive). Although he dresses like a Greenwich Village aerobics instructor, Goldson is one tough hombre and clearly the man to rain on Greg's parade (stumbling across a piece of paper marked "Location Map," he deduces "This might lead to something!" and is immediately on the trail). Teaming up with a local officer and two female assistants, Stabilizer puts the hit on Rainmaker's men (who include Indonesia's answer to Mr. T) but reserves a special fate for their leader.

O'Brian (who looks like a weird genetic hybrid of Sylvester Stallone and Peter Frampton) is a remarkably dorky and unappealing hero, coming to life only when tossing stuntmen around on some incredibly cheap sets. The violence is not particularly brutal here but there is an insanely high amount and some of it is downright surreal (one poor sot gets sliced and diced by an out-of-control Weed Wacker!). Coupled with unbelievably flat yet goofy dubbing, endlessly quotable dialogue, and not one but two instances of live lizard munching (yikes), this is the perfect feature for those who enjoy staging their own version of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. THE STABILIZER does have its share of dull spots but constantly bounces back with amazing sights (like the already legendary "motorcycle head-butt") and sounds ("You'll soon meet God. Tell him I'm doing fine here.") to keep you falling out of your seat. And remember: "Dying isn't much of a living."

Cover art courtesy Troma.

Crime is a disease. Meet the boor. Image courtesy Troma.

"I pity the po' fool that messes with Greg Rainmaker!" Image courtesy Troma.
Troma Team #9064 (U.S. label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Dubbed in English

6 Chapters Listed in the Menu -- Not Illustrated

Fullscreen (cropped from 1.66:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

NTSC Format

94 Minutes

Contains wall-to-wall violence, brief nudity, mild sexual violence, and cruelty to animals

DVD menu courtesy Troma.

Not Available


In one of his patently lame intros, Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman claims that the film has been digitally remastered but the mildly cropped transfer looks to have been created about a decade before there even was such a thing. Save for the last reel (see below), it's perfectly watchable, however, and probably faithful to the original cinematography. There is a brief gap at 100:41 and, during the final ten minutes, there are several spots where the image goes completely wonky, the result of someone trying to restore a badly screwed-up master tape. There is also an entire minute of nothing on the end of the movie, evidently to give the stunned viewer a chance to compose himself. The sound mix was apparently performed inside a sealed jar but the audio is functional and you weren't expecting DTS now were you? Extras consist of an incomplete and horribly pixilated trailer, plus ones for CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER PART IV and EVE'S BEACH FANTASY, and plugs for Kaufman's latest book "Make Your Own Damn Movie" and the company website. The "Credits" section lists the disc as containing the completely unrelated American production SAVAGE ABDUCTION but that sort of sloppiness is in-keeping with Troma and the unsung geniuses who created this marvellously ridiculous movie.

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