Pembalasan ratu pantai selatan / The Revenge of the South Seas Queen
H. Tjut Djalil
Review by Paul Garcia
Posted on 01 May 2006
Source Mondo Macabro DVD
An audacious, wholesale appropriation of James Cameron’s Terminator, Lady Terminator simultaneously whittles the aforementioned film down to its basest cinematic pulses and then expands upon them; the crude mélange of sex and violence are pushed to dizzying heights of ridiculousness, both elements oscillating arbitrarily against the flat panel comic book style artifice of Djalil’s compositions. The narrative structure of the original is deflated; sequences are threaded together piecemeal, distorted simulations of only the most recognizable shots and scenes fused with only the finest delicacies that exploitation cinema has to offer: performances fluctuating between comical bursts of high-pitched histrionics and drone-like woodenness; jarring injections of dime store special effects; a slice n’ dice extended Indo-Disco strobe light music-cum-dance video montage (as cynical promotional tool); and the masterstroke, inane dialogue that elevates banality to transcendental heights.
The film plays out as a series of splintered non sequiturs, with individual scenes abruptly shifting, ending, doubling back, and rupturing over at random, each adhering to its own illogic. Javanese mythology is ground up and out as gauzy, super imposition heavy soft core; elliptical editing rhythms jerk the temporality irregularly, creating bizarre variances in tone: a crude comedy flashback butts up against a brief melancholic sequence which bleeds into inadvertent black humor; a dewy leaved, campfire love scene (schmaltz of the highest order) erupts into a jerry-built plagiarizing/recreation of the eye-repair bit from Terminator. Cardboard cutouts run about the cartoon-like diegetic space, producing guns at will, blessed with a never ending supply of ammunition and the ability to expire fantastically in off-handed medium shots, their death knells accompanied by a singular desire to leave a lasting mark amongst the sea of dead bodies strewn throughout the movie. The irrational construction of form and space, the neon blue tinged cinematography, the flat and minimal mise-en- scène, the paper thin characters, and numbing death toll all point to the extreme artificiality of the proceedings; Lady Terminator plays out like a live action video game, the gratuitous sex and violence glossed over by the formal softness and ineptness that constitutes such a cheap aesthetic. Humanity becomes an abstraction and the vulgarities lose their power to shock, but instead lend themselves to be laughed at or earnestly enjoyed as spectacle. What’s left is an amalgamation of all of the worst elements of dunderheaded filmmaking so supremely enjoyable and zany as to achieve anti-masterpiece status.