Blu-ray Review: Dollman (1991)

Dollman BR CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Albert Pyun

Starring: Tim Thomerson, Jackie Earle Haley, Kamala Lopez, Nicholas Guest, Frank Collison

Words like ‘trashy’, ‘cult’, ‘fun’, ‘violent’ and phrases like ‘so bad it’s good’ are often banded about in the murky world of low-budget films, and if one film were to capture all of that and deliver it to you in 82 minutes of pure B-movie goodness then Dollman is surely that film.

Brick Bardo (Tim Thomerson – Near Dark) is an intergalactic traveller with a large gun who chases Sprug (Frank Collison), a disembodied floating head, through space and ends up crashing on Earth, in the Bronx to be precise. Unfortunately, whilst Bardo and Sprug are normal size on their own planet, here on Earth they are tiny – approximately thirteen inches tall in Bardo’s case – and they soon find themselves being picked up (literally) by some of the locals; Bardo by caring single mother Debi (Kamala Lopez) and Sprug by vicious gang leader Braxton Red (Jackie Earle Haley – Watchmen/A Nightmare on Elm Street). As you may imagine, all sorts of size-related hilarity ensues as the two extraterrestrials continue their fued whilst being ogled by inquisitive kids and violent gang members.

So if Dollman contains most of the elements that make up a perfect B-movie should be then why is it not more celebrated along with the likes of more notable nonsense such as, say, Critters or something more modern like Sharknado? Mainly because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, and whilst watching Dollman with a few beers and some like-minded company is quite possibly the most fun you can have with your clothes on it is very much an example of flawed, low-budget trash that is very hard to justify liking to anybody not in tune with its quirkiness.

That said, if you are on its wavelength then you’ll probably have a riot with it. Tim Thomerson seems to be channelling his inner Clint Eastwood as Brick Bardo is very much a character in the vein of Dirty Harry, all flippant attitude and gruff one-liners, and Jackie Earle Haley plays it totally straight, which works wonders when the situation his character is in is so absurd; it worked in Re-Animator so why not here?

The gore is brilliantly gloopy and recalls the splattery violence of Robocop (from which the film lifts some of its score), especially when Bardo uses his gun on his own planet, causing his targets to explode, and the naff sci-fi special effects all add to the silliness that is so enduring. The pacing is a little off and even though the film comes in at under 90 minutes it does feel stretched out in places, but when it’s doing what it should be doing then Dollman is very entertaining, albeit totally ludicrous.

Dollman

Special Features: Videozone featurette, original trailer, Charles Band and Tim Thomerson 2013 Vidcast, booklet notes by Calum Waddell, reversible sleeve incorporating original artwork.

UK Release Date: 25th November 2013

88 Films – Website

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