So, have you ever wonder what it would look like if PETA were ever to make an action flick? Its plot might resemble the one of ANIMAL PROTECTOR. But, thankfully, PETA didn't have a hand in this film and it came from the master of over the top Swedish action cinema, Mats Helge.
This is only my second exposure to Helge's work (the first being the even more insane THE NINJA MISSION), but it is safe to say that he has a style that is all his own. First and foremost, Helge loves his explosions. He doesn't just love them he REALLY loves them. His films seem to be the predecessor of the PM Entertainment action films where bigger definitely means better. ANIMAL PROTECTOR is no exception, although Helge saves the Mat-atude for this film's last half. Secondly, Helge likes to have a plot that is a bit left of ludicrous. Here, the animal activist group "Animal Protectors" decides to free some animals on a top secret island the same night C.I.A. agents Santino (Hellquist) and Lomax plan on taking the corrupt Whitlock (Carradine) out. What luck! And did I mention the ladies of AP attack dressed in tapered jeans with big teased blonde hair? Way to blend in there sisters.
The cast is predominantly Swedish with the exception of Carradine. Star (and owner of one of the best names I have seen in years) A.R. Hellquist is a dead ringer for Kurt Russell in BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. It was fun to envision this as a pseudo-sequel where Jack Burton gets wrapped up with some wacky animal lover chicks (actually, I want Carpenter to make that film now!). Hellquist is pretty agile and a good fighter but has all the range of a VCR remote. Helge does him no favors by putting him ridiculous situations. For example, when Santino decides it is time to get down to business, he rips off his shirt to reveal a camouflage tank top and yells, "Whitlock, now it is time for you to DIEEEEEE!" What makes this even funnier is that Santino is alone and Whitlock is nowhere to be seen. David Carradine is enjoyable as Whitlock and is pretty physical for the role, throwing down in quite a few fights. He also adds a clever little wink after he says something evil.
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