Graphic Horror: Dollman
Graphic Horror: Dollman 1991
I’ve had this movie on my list for a long time as well as its sequel slash crossover Dollman vs Demonic Toys because I’ve seen it on various comic book movie lists throughout the years. But after watching the film, I did a little bit of light research and found out that while there was a Golden Age comic book character named Doll Man, this movie wasn’t based on that character. And there was a comic book miniseries based on this character, but it was a tie-in that came out after or alongside this movie. But there was so much bizarreness that I just had to write something about it. Besides, this was the winner of my Patreon poll and if you’d like to donate just $1 a month, you can help decide what I review on this site as well.
Brick Bardo is the stereotypical 80’s era cop from a cop movie. In the scene where he is introduced by taking care of a hostage situation, a kid points out that his gun is the most powerful gun in the universe. He also has the stereotypical angry police captain who yells at him for being too violent, and breaking the rules all the time. All this despite the fact that he actually successfully navigates the hostage situation without any casualties. Unfortunately, Brick Bardo as a character isn’t anything more than an action movie cliche without nearly enough quotable one-liners.
But besides the action movie element, there’s also the sci-fi angle where the entire opening act of the movie takes place on another planet, complete with a villainous head in a small flying saucer with a dangerous bomb. They come to Earth where each of the two fall in with two different groups in the South Bronx. Bardo ends up with a single mother who is trying to make the neighborhood a better place by organizing a neighborhood watch and trying to get the police involved with stopping all the crime going on. The disembodied head falls in with a group of gang members headed by Jackie Earl Haley. The film alternates between the single mother and her kid bonding slash gawking at Bardo while the head warns the gang members about Bardo while promising the dangerous potential of the bomb.
One of the biggest problems with this movie is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. It splits its time between being a sci-fi cop movie, then it has Bardo being the center of attention to this kid and the entire apartment complex gawking at his tiny spaceship, then we get the social commentary of the South Bronx filled with crime and the few people who want to improve the community. And everything is all so laughably bad, from the barely used special effects to make Bardo and the floating head look 2 to 13 inches tall to the nonsensical explanations for the alien technology. Bardo’s gun is supposedly extremely powerful, but it basically amounts to the same force as the Noisy Cricket from Men in Black without the recoil. Jackie Earl Haley ends up squishing the head after just a couple scenes on Earth after having his future gun wound healed, only to have the wound come back a few scenes later. And once the big bomb eventually goes off, there’s some animated shock waves, but it doesn’t appear to do any actual damage to anything around it.
Dollman is just a big mess from start to finish, with the one bonus of having some laughably bad moments throughout the film. Tim Thomerson does a decent job as Bardo slash Dollman. As a quick side note, it actually makes sense that he gets his Dollman name because that’s what a couple of the gang members start calling him. None of the characters have more than one note to their personality, there’s not much action and while there are a few surprising moments of gore, they’re also played more for laughs than for shock value. It’s an odd concept for a movie and doesn’t really make me that interested to check out the crossover sequel with the Demonic Toys. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.