Iron Invader (2011)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Chris Gauthier, Nicole DeBoer, Kavan Smith, Paul McGillion, Donnelly Rhodes
Directed by Paul Ziller
People have often called these Syfy creature features junk. This time they would be 100% right. The monster is pure junk: a giant junkyard metalwork sculpture brought to life by space mold. Like if the Terminator exoskeleton, the robot from Hardware, and Fred Sanford’s junkyard somehow collectively gave birth to a giant robot baby.
Even by Syfy standards I found Iron Invader a tad quizzical. Space mold falls to earth. This space mold has a thing for iron, whether it be actual objects made of metal or the iron in one’s blood. One touch fatally infects a person, making him look like Banksy went to town on his face with a sharpie. Okay, that part I get.
What I don’t get is how this space mold also makes anything made of iron spring to life. The local owner of the town scrap heap happens to have built a 17-foot, 1-ton metal sculpture, and if you were space mold with the power to reanimate metal, wouldn't this be the first thing you would want to bring to life? The hulking scrap heap slowly walks about this rural community - you know you've seen too many Syfy movies when one exterior shot is all it takes for you to correctly deduce the film was shot in British Colombia - populated by only the primary dozen or so characters that appear on the screen. But the mold powered - a phrase I never ever thought I would find myself using - junk sculpture doesn’t want to destroy things the way giant robots typically do. Heck, it proves so wimpy it can’t even bust down wooden doors, and simply falling down causes it to shatter into pieces.
This movie is really about a hulking robot powered by an unknown substance that just wants to touch people to feed its iron lust. A light tap is all that's needed. When watching a movie featuring a giant robot on the rampage, don’t you expect to see some – I don’t know – rampaging? Having its robot claw burst through a window or two like a Them! ant’s mandible wasn’t enough to satisfy my thirst for alien zombie metal sculpture mayhem.
I’ve seen some daffy Syfy movies in my day, but Iron Invader doesn’t make much sense even on a conceptual level. The mold falls from space in a man-made satellite; whether the mold itself is extraterrestrial in origin or some sort of man-made bioweapon is never clarified. Is it just a super bacteria, or does it actually possess some form of intelligence? An explanation as to how it can make metal objects move is never attempted nor how it is capable of making this towering robot-shaped mass of welded metal operate as a perfectly functioning robot. For that matter, why it prefers this lumbering piece of pop art instead of just infecting hundreds or thousands of smaller pieces of metal to spread out along a wider area...
Forget it. What's the point? One should never overthink a movie in which a bottle of alcohol is shown being used to successfully douse flames.
I was kind of with Iron Invader during the early parts when it was giving off a bit of an old 1950's sci-fi vibe. I even enjoyed a few moments here and there of watching axes and random metal objects jitter across the ground towards people in what is supposed to be a menacing manner. The premise quickly falls apart, much like the metal sculpture robot, and what's left is never good enough to be good or bad enough to be much fun.
If you’ve ever had a gig on a Syfy original television series, this movie makes it clear you’re pretty much guaranteed work for life in their original movies. Two actors from “Stargate: Atlantis”, one from “Eureka”, and another from “Battlestar: Galactica” comprise the bulk of the cast. All are perfectly adequate in their roles while remaining completely bland in terms of personality – much like the movie as a whole.
SPOILER: The most important thing I learned from Iron Invader is that Homer Simpson was indeed correct when he called beer the solution to all of life’s problems. A potential alien bacterial invasion that involves a giant robot and countless smaller metallic objects coming to life is thwarted by simply pouring alcohol on it, and by alcohol I mean every drop of booze from the local bar. If only that satellite had fallen from the sky during the town’s Oktoberfest, nobody would have had to die.
2 out of 5