The Stabilizer

Professor Provost (Kaharudin Syah) is kidnapped by his former lab assistant Victor (Mark Sungkar).  Victor is working for  international drug dealer Greg Rainmaker (Craig Gaven).  Rainmaker wants the formula to Provost’s new drug detector. Provost’s daughter Christina (Dana Christina) goes to the police for help and Captain Johnny (Harry Capri) brings in the one man he knows can stop Rainmaker:  Peter Goldson, aka The Stabilizer (Peter O’Brien), so-called because he can restore the balance of good and evil.  Can Goldson, his partner Sylvia Nash (Gillie Beanz), Johnny, and Christina save Provost and defeat Rainmaker?

Did I mention that The Stabilizer has a poster of himself cosplaying Marion Cobretti on his bedroom wall?  Because he does.

During 80s, Indonesia required that a certain amount of the films shown in its theaters were domestic product.  Film producers being what they are, it wasn’t long before some of them began including Caucasian actors and ripping off then-popular films and genres in the hopes of international sales.  The results are a strange mix of local style and themes with whatever was popular internationally.  In this case, there’s a half-hearted stab at an 80s cop/action film, with Goldson as your typical maverick cop out to bust a guy he has a personal grudge against.  The fights themselves, especially the martial arts fights, owe far more to Hong Kong than Hollywood, with lots of fist-i-cuffs punctuated by people getting thrown through glass doors and walls.  Local elements include a guy randomly eating a lizard (twice), a cabaret act of men rolling on glass and eating fire, and of course actors and scenery.  There’s also an inescapable sense that the film is not what it’s trying to be; everything feels off from the Western model, especially in the almost silent-melodrama bad guys, who threaten each female character in turn with a “fate worse than death”. Although the action is on par or better than many American action films of the same budget and time period, there’s a lot that seems similarly slightly off.

Real IT managers have a Mr. T lookalike on staff.

The Stabilizer is dubbed and features swearing that is curiously unnatural, like the Christian kid who’s trying to look tough outside of his peer group, but has never actually used the curse words before.  Sex scenes, too, are self-consciously awkward.  Then there are things like Rainmaker’s signature weapon:  super cleats that are obviously difficult to walk in.  Not since Torgo in Manos the Hands of Fate has there been a character with a more ungainly walk due to poor props.  The acting is amateurish, but with the “kids playing guns” feel of the plot, it adds to the film’s charm, and, far more than the acting, the casting is unbelievable.  O’Brien is like Brian May on a rampage; Beanz has all the credibility (not to mention the wardrobe) of an extra in a Banana Rama video, Gaven channels an IT manager gone bad and Sungkar seems less like a ruthless crook than a particularly persistent and smarmy car dealer.  The Stabilizer is “so-bad-it’s-good” gold, and fans of same owe themselves a viewing.

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