Directed in 1991 by the late Duncan Gibbons, who co-wrote the script with Yale Udoff, Eve Of Destruction is kind of a big budget version of the Indonesian Terminator knock-off, Lady Terminator from 1989. Oh sure, it's way more competent than that one, but it does share some surface level similarities. Really though, was Duncan Gibbons knocking off the cinema of H. Tjut Djalil? Probably not.
At any rate, the movie introduces us to Dr. Eve Simmons (Renée Soutendijk) who invents a very realistic looking cyborg that bears an uncanny resemblance to herself. Things get a little quirky during the beta testing process, however, and the Eve VIII cyborg (Soutendijk again) escapes the supervision of the military types responsible for all of this in the first place. This obviously poses a problem, because Eve VIII has been programmed to kill whatever it deems in need of killing and given that her internal programming is all screwed up, there's a very real chance that she's going to kill a lot of the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. Adding further complication to the matter is the fact that not only is Eve VIII a deadly hand to hand combatant and an expert with plenty of deadly weapons, she's actually carrying the most deadly weapon of all… a live nuclear payload is stashed away inside her exoskeleton!
So with this problem now established, it's revealed that there's really only one man who can set things right, and that man is an anti-terrorism special operative named Jim McQuade (Gregory Hines). He and Dr. Simmons cooperate on the project, as he's going to need the insight that only Eve VIII's creator can provide in order to bring her in. But given the fact that, to most folks at least, Eve VIII appears to be a perfectly human and fairly foxy woman, she's going to blend right in. McQuade's got his work cut out for him as his chase eventually leads him down into the city's subway tunnels…
This one hits a lot of familiar notes, a few too many to really work as well as it could have, but still manages to entertain. Do we get a scene where Eve VIII heads to a bar and picks up a man completely unaware of her true nature? Of course. Do we get a load of ridiculous one-liners from our grouchy cop on the case? Yup, lots of those too. Is that same cop going to come up against technology he's not familiar with and swear at it a lot? You know it. Is that technology going to seem horribly dated by today's standards and be completely overblown in regards to what it can do and how far we've come in our technological evolution over the last two decades? Oh baby, and how! Of course, all of this, for some of us, will add to the picture's goofy charm, it's just important to go into a movie like Eve Of Destruction with the right set of expectations.
Hines is fun in the lead. He's rough around the edges but handles himself fairly well in the action scenes and for a guy not always closely affiliated with ‘tough guy' roles, he's fun here. The script doesn't ask him to do a whole lot of emoting or show a whole lot of range, there are movies in his filmography that allow him to do a whole lot more of that than he does in this picture, but he runs around with a gun well enough to pull this off. More impressive is Renée Soutendijk in the double role. The Dutch born actress was in her early forties when she made this picture but she's still got plenty of sex appeal. She plays both characters well, keeping a reserved quality to her scientist and letting her cyborg version cut loose with activity we know Simmons would never approve of but probably can't help but think about. Hines and Soutendijk help this one rise up a bit and make it completely watchable.
Once we get past the cliché ridden first two thirds of the movie and build towards the finale, Eve Of Destruction improves considerably. The action scenes get better and way more intense and the sections of the film that take place in the subway system actually prove to be pretty memorable. Had a little more thought and polish gone into the script and made it more original than it is, the film would probably be better remembered but even as it stands now, this is a lot of fun. Turn off your brain and enjoy.
Shout! Factory brings Eve Of Destruction to Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. Image quality certainly surpasses what DVD can provide but those expecting a pristine presentation will no doubt note some minor print damage throughout the presentation. None of it is particularly distracting nor does it really take away from the movie at all, but some small white specks are there. Detail is pretty good, close up shots showing the most improvement, while color reproduction is generally solid even if skin tones occasionally look a little warmer than maybe they should in a couple of scenes (where Hines is outside yelling at the soldiers, for example). Black levels vary between inky and deep and dark grey but by and large they are fine. Contrast is generally pretty solid and no obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement was evident. This is decent enough, just not reference quality.
The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track and it has decent range and depth to it. Dialogue remains clear from start to finish and there were no noticeable issues with any hiss or distortion to report. Sound effects, gun shots in particular, had some decent punch to them and the lossless track helps to give the score a little more life than it might have had otherwise. Bass response is decent, the lower end is noticeable but doesn't bury anything in the mix.
There are no extras on this release to speak of, outside of a theatrical trailer. Some basic menus and chapter selection options are included and the cover art is reversible.
Eve Of Destruction is decent enough entertainment. Is it a classic? Not really, but if you don't mind the fact that it's fairly ‘by the numbers' in a lot of ways, at least for its first two thirds, you can have some fun with this even if it isn't deep. The Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory's Scream Factory label offers a decent enough upgrade over the DVD release from some years back, but outside of the trailer there isn't much in the way of extras to note. Recommended for fans of the film or anyone who enjoys sci-fi/action hybrids.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.