The Minion (1998) Review with RiffTrax

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In “The Minion” (1998): 5 out of 10: the ancient battle between good and evil unfolds across centuries and continents. At the dawn of the new millennium, the stage is set for the ultimate showdown as the Antichrist’s minion, a malevolent spirit known simply as the Minion, seeks to unleash chaos upon the world by opening the gateway to Hell.

A thousand years after the Templars thwarted the Minion’s first attempt to obtain the key to the gateway, the key resurfaces in modern-day New York City. When a pair of city engineers stumble upon a hidden Templar burial chamber beneath the bustling metropolis, archaeologist Karen Goodleaf (Françoise Robertson) is called in to investigate. But their discovery triggers a chain of events that thrusts Karen into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Minion.

Enter Lukas Sadorov (Dolph Lundgren), a mysterious Templar with a haunted past. Lukas intervenes when the Minion strikes, revealing himself as a guardian of the key. Reluctantly, Karen allies herself with Lukas as they race against time to keep the key out of the Minion’s clutches.

Fueled by the Minion’s relentless pursuit, the stakes escalate as innocent lives are claimed and alliances are tested. Despite their efforts to outwit the Minion, he manipulates situations to his advantage, leveraging unsuspecting hosts to continue his pursuit.

Tragedy strikes when Karen’s own grandfather (Don Francks I think) falls victim to the Minion’s machinations and the key falls into the enemy’s hands. With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, Lukas and Karen embark on a desperate journey to Jerusalem, the heart of the Templar’s stronghold.

In a climactic showdown at the Templars’ headquarters, the Minion’s forces clash with Lukas and Karen. Amidst the chaos, Lukas confronts the possessed Bernard (Jean-Marc Bisson), a fellow Templar, in a battle for the key and the fate of the world.

As the dust settles and the threat of the apocalypse looms ever closer, Lukas and Karen stand together against the forces of darkness. With the Templars decimated and the world on the brink of destruction, they vow to rebuild the order and guard the gateway to Hell with unwavering resolve.

The Good

The Good: The Minion at least is trying to be an over the top action film. Female lead Françoise Robertson may not past muster as an archaeologist, but she is at least trying to be a love interest to a celibate templar Dolph Lundgren. Not the easiest task.

Like I said, the movie is trying with over the top action scenes every few minutes and everything being covered in rain like this was an unofficial 48 Hours sequel. There are some funny asides as well. Such as the ridiculous-looking Native American haircuts at the nuclear power plant. I mean, I don’t think the movie did that on purpose by any means, but I found it entertaining.

There is a lot of weird in the Minion besides the Native American haircuts and people going to the bathroom with wild smirks on thier faces. It gives the film an almost dreamlike quality, such as the constant declaration by the film that it is Christmas time when it clearly is mid-summer.

The Bad

The Bad: If you are going to recreate The Terminator invades the police station scene, twice mind you, you kind of need to do a better job than this. This is all in the execution. Of course, it doesn’t help that the police station resembles a smokey jazz club or a titty bar after closing rather than an actual police station.

That “The Minion” goes there twice is pretty impressive. Alas, the second rendition of this same battle in the Templar headquarters is just as underwhelming.

The Ugly

The Ugly: Dolph Lundgren looks bored. I genuinely like Dolph, but he seems to be checking his watch in every scene. There is little sexual tension between himself and Françoise Robertson despite her best efforts, and his action scenes are often lazy. There is one scene in particular where he escapes from a jail cell in a scenario that came out of “The Dukes of Hazard” rather than a proper action film.

Also, you have a bad guy that is a spirit that can possess any person’s body. One would think “The Minion” could use that to trick the audience at some point or create tension. Nah. Once the spirit posses a body, it starts roaring like a lion and mugging for the camera.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: Good ideas do not always add up to good execution. The Minion has a workable story and a lot of good ideas (Liberally borrowed from other films such as The Terminator and The Relic.) It even has a decent cast… well, Françoise Robertson and a sleepwalking Dolph Lundgren.

Alas, the film cannot execute the action scenes with anything resembling tension or excitement. It is a mess, but not a painful one. The minion is entertaining on the margins. I would not recommend watching it again but I am not sorry I saw it.

RiffTrax Version

RiffTrax Version: While not thier best work, the boys have some fun with this one. It is good to see Nick Nolte back and getting some serious work in thier riffs again.

While there are no real running gags, there are some nice deep cuts and references to thier previous work. In addition, idiots wearing yellow jumpsuits get some mention, which is always a plus. A fun time and by far the best way to watch the movie.

Françoise Robertson has a real Susanna Hoffs look going in The Minion
There is a bizarre barely there subplot about the authorities thinking there is a plague afoot because all The Minion’s victims have smooth brains. It makes less than zero sense. Leaving aside getting autopsy photos within twenty minutes of finding the bodies on Christmas Eve.
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