Like rag traders knocking off the most successful Milan couture, imitative moviemakers have made a whole new industry out of copying high-grossing Hollywood films. In fact, some once-fresh movie hits — The Road Warrior and Gremlins, for example — have inspired so many cheap imitations over the years that they’ve virtually created their very own genres.
Some cinematic copycats are awarded brief, perfunctory theatrical releases. Yet most head straight for the video stores, where you’ll find these look-alikes on cassette.
Young computer nerd (a charming young Matthew Broderick) who thinks he has discovered a neat new game unwittingly taps into Defense Department computer and almost starts World War III.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Horny lawyer (Michael Douglas) lives to regret his extramarital tryst with a psycho (Glenn Close), who eventually cooks his daughter’s pet rabbit. Adrian Lyne, director of this visceral thriller, also made the acclaimed Foxes.
Brutally murdered cop returns as a cyborg to wipe out criminals and corporate scum in futuristic Old Detroit. In the end credits of this brutal E-ticket ride, producers acknowledge assistance of AT&T and Bell Northern Research.
Die Hard (1988)
Wiseacre New York cop (Bruce Willis) battles terrorists holding his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) hostage in a high-tech L.A. skyscraper. The galvanizing, action-jammed thriller made Willis a bankable movie star.
Tango & Cash (1989)
A pair of beefy, mismatched detectives (Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell) take on an L.A. crime boss in this crudely entertaining action flick. Director Andrei Konchalovsky also made Duet for One, with Mary Poppins star Julie Andrews.
The Abyss( 1989)
Estranged couple (Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) rekindle their romance as they attempt to save an imperiled nuclear sub and encounter benevolent undersea aliens, despite opposition from military hard-ass (Michael Biehn).
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
A CIA op (Alec Baldwin) monitors a renegade Soviet (Sean Connery) who’s commandeering a nuclear submarine headed straight for the U.S. Features remarkable special effects by Industrial Light & Magic.
Terminal Entry (1986)
Six young computer nerds who think they’ve discovered a neat new game unwittingly tap into a Middle East terrorist’s computer and playfully order assassinations and other acts of violence.
Body Chemistry (1990)
Horny researcher (Marc Singer) regrets his extramarital tryst with a psycho (Lisa Pescia), who eventually sends his son a homemade porno tape. An efficient shocker directed by Kristine Peterson, who also made Critters 3.
rototype robotic police officer goes on a rampage, mowing down a speeding motorist, a fry cook, and others in Dallas. In the end credits of this hollow-headed rip-off, producers thank Big Jack’s Grocery and Al’s Chuck Wagon Bar-B-Q.
The Last Hour (1991)
o save his ex-wife’s life, a smart-mouthed cop (Michael Pare) thrashes Mafia thugs inside a low-tech skyscraper. The video packaging of this slick but superficial time killer describes Pare’s character as ”a lone, diehard hero.”
Liberty & Bash (1989)
A pair of brawny, misshapen war vets (Lou Ferrigno, Miles O’Keefe) take on an L.A. crime boss in this wobbly clunker. Director Myrl A. Schreibman previously produced Angel of H.E.A.T., with porn star Marilyn Chambers.
Endless Descent (1989)
Estranged couple (Jack Scalia, Deborah Adair) reunite after finding a lost nuclear sub and encountering malevolent undersea mutants, despite initial opposition from military hard-ass (R. Lee Ermey). Alternate title: The Rift.
Full Fathom Five(1990)
A U.S. Navy sub commander (Michael Moriarty) tries to thwart Cuban and Panamanian terrorists bent on decimating Houston from their hijacked Soviet sub. This Roger Corman production seems to have been shot in a hot tub.