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An unusual little low budget sci-fier which should have been more aptly named "The Deadly Missile" or "Missile of Doom." An unknown missile is detected by a communist nation, which fires its own defense missile at it; this just diverts the unknown missile into low Earth orbit and it proceeds to wreak havoc along its path, burning everything which it flies over (its said to project million-degree heat). This was also an early starring role for Robert Loggia, as the heroic scientist; his career went nowhere in the sixties but surged in the late seventies and he became one of the best known character actors of the eighties and nineties (Scarface, Big, Independence Day, etc.). His character has early problems with his fiancee (Ellen Parker), who, despite also being a scientist, thinks he's too involved in his work.
The story takes itself pretty seriously, including supposed plausible explanations for how the mysterious missile can generate such heat. But, there might be too much of this mystery - there's never any explanation about where this thing came from and none of the characters seem too curious about this key question either. There's a lot of narration, a sure sign that this is very low budget in that Ed Wood-style of informative storytelling, even though it tries hard for a quasi-documentary approach. There are some effective scenes for such a low-budgeter of a NYC evacuation and mass panic. Loggia and the other principle actors are fine, even with some melodramatic theatrics, but some of the bit part actors are pretty stiff & amateurish. Even though this metallic marauder is stopped before it burns up the whole planet, there's an uncommonly downbeat ending. BoG's Score: 3.5 out of 10
Lost Trivia: also very early role for Hari Rhodes (as man at piano), who went on to a key role in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (72);
this was to be directed by producer William A. Berke but he dropped dead on the first day of filming, so his son Lester took over;
Star Trek TOS actor alert: Philip Pine plays Loggia's associate; he appeared as a villain in the episode The Savage Curtain
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