The Stabilizer is an Indonesian action movie from 1986, directed by Arizal (just Arizal), and stars Peter O’Brian as Peter Goldson, aka The Stabilizer, aka Queen’s Brian May; a film which, put simply, has everything.
Indonesia, 1986, Arizal
I was sat, open jawed, asking myself two questions:
1) Can this movie really live up to the hype of this insane trailer?
2) How many people died making the damn thing?! Seriously, some of the stunts in this flick are among the most bone crunchingly dangerous I’ve ever seen and really save the movie from being complete rubbish.
I don’t want to confuse plot with entertainment here, and fortunately neither does ARIZAL, so I’ll tell you what I think the movie was about, because the director certainly doesn’t make much effort to tell us. As far as action movies go, this one sure knows how to grab your attention – literally ten seconds into the start some guy is riding a motorbike through a window in slow motion. This is the first of many ridiculous slow motion stunts we’re going to witness. The bad guys kidnap a scientist that’s creating a ‘Narcotic Detection Device’ (this is all we’re ever told), and the good guys have to rescue him.
The good guys are pretty thin but consist of the amazing Peter O’Brian as an American policeman, who travels to Indonesia to capture Greg Rainmaker (Craig Gavin), an American drug lord. He’s not arrived in town for longer than a minute before he’s involved in a ridiculously destructive car chase that involves the death of three bad guys and possibly a few civilians. The Stabilizer doesn’t play by the rules – he plays for keeps. And that obviously means killing everyone in his path… and possibly anyone that gets in the path of anyone getting in his path. He’s a one man army who isn’t going to listen to logic when it comes to catching bad guys. When asked by another policeman why he thinks Rainmaker is in Indonesia of all places, O’Brian reasonably explains that because Rainmaker was once interested in a Narcotics Detection Device, that he must clearly be in Indonesia…
… I’m convinced. And so are the Indonesian police who let this maniac out on the streets to kill almost everybody he comes into contact with.
Peter O’Brian plays this part brilliantly. Between his hair and his fashion choices, he’s hilarious in every dramatic scene. For instance, later we learn, in a hilarious flashback, that the Stabilizer is actually out for revenge! Once upon a time, Rainmaker raped and murdered his fiancé in a scene that has to be seen to be believed.
Yes, that picture…
And it should be pointed out that Rainmaker has the exact same picture hanging on one of his walls too, which he later uses for target practice. Don’t ask why – you’ll not receive an answer.
Now I don’t know if O’Brian was in on the joke (or Arizal for that matter) but he really is phenomenal in this movie. There’s not a moment he spends on screen where I wasn’t finding something to marvel at. I mean, just look at him –
What a guy.
Apart from a pretty ridiculous opening car chase, confusing sex scenes and some dreadful exposition, there’s little else here to keep us entertained beyond b-movie amusement… that is until the 45 minute mark when the action scenes start – and boy do they deliver! Now when I first was interested in watching this movie, it was the action that caught my eye. Could it possibly live up to what I had seen?
In short, yes!! Oh hell yes!
Despite the movie being pretty incompetent on almost every level, the action scenes really stand out. They’re fairly well choreographed and chaotic and definitely on the wrong side of dangerous to keep you on the edge of your seat. There are at least three moments where I was left wondering if the stunt man (?) survived without a broken back or worse.
And the best thing about it is that the scenes keep going for ages. Just an endless cacophony of punches, gunshots and screams. By the end of the movie, I didn’t even know what was going on anymore as so many locations are interchanged, so many buildings are blown up, so many of the same henchmen are killed over and over again – I think Arizal maybe hired ten extras to play henchmen, and I’m pretty sure they all die at least ten times each.
Oh and did I forget to mention that Rainmaker’s lead henchman is a poor man’s Mr.T knock off? Yes, this is truly the film that keeps on giving. And if you aren’t convinced yet (seriously?) then hopefully this insult and response will.
To rattle on about this movie in depth is to do it an injustice – there is no brain behind this thing and there is nothing to consider other than what it is – a ridiculous actioner. And it’s all the better for it. All hail Arizal – I look forward to watching the rest of his crazed back catalogue soon.