Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe

3 out of 5

Directed by: Damian Lee

Between Sven-Ole Thorsen’s Terminator-esque line delivery; and Jesse Ventura’s opening, monotone explanation of a process called “balding” to which his character is subjected; and this being the first of many, many terminology drops in Damian Lee’s script that come out of nowhere and are only vaguely explained; you will likely stare at the blue / orange-lit settings in Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe, and wonder: is this serious? Is this just another wrestler-featuring B-movie, trying to get by on a low budget and lifts from better known movies?

Well, yes, but somewhere along the way – possibly when Abraxas (Ventura), an outer space cop, is chasing down rogue cop Secundus (Thorsen) on Earth, and explains to the kind Earthperson giving him a ride that his “box” has “VD” (his answer box has vibrational detection, you understand) – somewhere during these 90 minutes, you’ll also get the sense that no, Abraxas is not serious. The balance of this is what lends the movie goofy competence: it completely makes good on low-stakes action bits, with director Lee, editor Reid Dennison, and DP Curtis Petersen chopping up funky low angles and choice locations from the Canadian wilds and localities to keep the movie bopping along on its Abraxas vs. Secundus destiny; meanwhile, Ventura, aware of it or not, is game to be a goofball in this, made to run everywhere while Secundus gets to steal cars and bikes, doing the ol’ alien-is-shocked-by-how-hot-these-Earth-babes-are bit with female lead Sonia (Marjorie Bransfield), and also delivering a supremely uncomfortable, shirtless speech to a young boy in his bed. Classic.

Finally, with a few minutes to go, the movie sneaks in some classic wrestling fisticuffs – we’d been getting lots of explosions and Secundus-inflicted violence, otherwise – while the completely ridiculously out-of-place jazz score toot-toodles away on its own shtick.

Abraxas knows what it’s about. And it’s not good, but being okay with that results in it… actually kinda being pretty good after all.