I imagine the conversation about this movie went something like this:
CORMAN: Do you want the next Bloodfist to rip off either “Under Siege”, “The Rock” or “Die Hard”?
DON “The Dragon” WILSON: Yes!
It’s a cheap Roger Corman-produced cover version of those three action classics! I could really abandon the review here and you’d have a fairly good idea of what this film would be like, but I don’t get paid the big bucks (earnings so far: £0) to just write five lines!
A good indicator of what this film will be like is contained in its very first scene. A naked woman strolls across the shot (Catya Sassoon, who played a different villain in part 5), talking to Major Tillman, whose woodenness is understandable when you realise who he is. Steve Garvey was famous in the late 70s and 80s as first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers (baseball, in case you were wondering), then for many years hosted a series of “celebrity” golf and fishing shows on ESPN, while acting very sporadically. He appears to have never gotten that good at it. Anyway, she’s an undercover villain, and a group of Islamic terrorists sneak and shoot their way into control of a nuclear weapon base.
Luckily, stopping to bandage up the foot of a rabbit means military courier Nick Corrigan (Wilson) is late getting to the base and misses the slaughter; but Tillman manages to slip one of the keys to trigger the nuclear weapons to him so he becomes involved. After a couple of fairly complex (in terms of your average martial arts film) thrillers, it’s interesting to see the series take another swerve into more traditional action movie territory. It’s got the mysterious European villain (bearing a striking resemblance to Timothy Olyphant, who would have been great in this); the crazily OTT plot (a plan to launch nukes at every major city in the USA) and the lone hero with radio communication to the outside (in this case, the Major who has to suffer the sexist jibes and wrong analysis of her superiors).
The low budget shows most obviously in the way most of the movie takes place in the same two corridors, with no attempt made to make them look different; and the way they hired a baseball player in a major dramatic role. But they do as decent a job as possible, and Wilson is great as usual. I loved the “but he’s the most badass Special Forces guy ever who was busted down for being too awesome!” reveal when they wondered how a simple courier could take on a base full of terrorists too.
If you can put this film’s more famous cinematic parents far from your mind, you’ll have fun with this one. It’s fast, it’s fun, it gets the job done with a minimum of fuss. If you’ve got a fetish for films where millions of rounds of ammunition are fired off and maybe three guys actually get hit with a bullet, then this is definitely the film for you! Seriously, you terrorists, learn to shoot!
Rating: thumbs up