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I bought this movie for the cover. Unfortunately, I had to take the whole thing. I used to think you could never go wrong buying movies sporting a flaming hammer and sickle, but apparently my logic is flawed. It opens as our hero, an obvious reject for the HeMan live action movie, helps a russian woman and her children evade certain death by moving them five feet to the left. The movie after this point kind of degenerates. For some reason, the military hire a chemist to track down this ne'er do well, who is in America blowing stuff up with his eyes which, coincedentally, shoot lightning bolts. Apparently, he only does this on days that are prime numbers and this ability doesn't work on shoddily assembled chain link fences. Not that he was in any real danger, the only person in this movie who could shoot straight was me, and I'll miss that TV. The most interesting part of this movie was the 15 minutes after the credits, where I stared at a blank screen expecting an apology. If you decide to watch this movie, The Bull recommends doing it drunk, preferably on vodka, and far enough over the hill you won't remember it.
I purchased Firehead because I like bad movies and, well it's called
Firehead, isn't it? It's terrible. Inexcusably bad. But you probably
already guessed that or, heaven forbid, watched it and knew.
It concerns a Russian super-soldier with telekinetic abilities who defects to the US ("I'm going to find a free country") and eventually turns on his American handler as well. Christopher Plummer plays his former boss, Vaughn, who is part of a shadowy secret group that wishes to rule the world. I'd explain more of the plot, but it's a fun combination of dumb and nonsensical, so I won't. It doesn't matter anyway. Suffice to say that Vaughn decides it's a good idea to enlist a chemist to track down a rampaging super-powered defector blowing up factories. But fear not! He has assigned an assassin to tag along and take out this raging Russian. An assassin who frequently gets surprised by people sneaking up on her, sure, but an assassin no less. It goes pretty steadily downhill from there.
The only reason this movie gets even two stars out of me is wholly because of the performances of Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer, who manage to prove they can float on top of sewage. I suspect they owed somebody favors. Big, big favors. They're good enough, in fact, to be part of the problem. They'd raise the bar back up off the ground, and I'd foolishly start expecting good things only to be hit upside the head again with, for instance, a government-trained professional gunman shooting down a very narrow hallway at our protagonists walking side by side and missing. That sort of thing.
Such a vast, uncountable amount of bullets are fired at our two (sometimes three) protagonists that I started to be concerned with the quantities of wasted metal that would go unrecycled when said bullets inevitably missed. This movie features perhaps the worst gunfights I've seen in a movie. If you kinda run and then maybe duck and then sort of look the other way when someone's unloading their clip at you, even if you're completely out in the open, you'll be just fine in the world of Firehead.
If you come to Firehead hoping for a good movie, then seriously, what's wrong with you? It's called Firehead. If you're hoping for a hilarious bad movie, then you're headed in the right direction. It's not one of the best of the worst or anything--there are some slow moments, but it seriously shines in spots. It has awful, awful gunfights. Constantly. It has probably the worst little girl actress I've encountered delivering some inspired lines. In also has an ending so dumb, tangential and inexplicable that I was amazed. And it has enough little unexpected bad moments, one of which involves a squeaky toy, to keep you interested.
2/10 for quality. 6/10 as bad movies go.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Power to Destroy the World...And the Will to Save It! Just when you
thought AIP had run out of insane ideas...they really outdo themselves
with Firehead, the story of an Estonian superdude who can shoot lasers
out of his eyes and is pals with Chris Lemmon. We're not kidding.
At the height of the cold war, Ivan Tigor (Porter) leaves his communist homeland and escapes to America. He is going around blowing up military installations, so energetic but dopey research scientist Warren Hart(Lemmon) teams up with beautiful military officer and scientist Buchanan (Becker) to find the truth. This upsets Colonel Garland Vaughn (Plummer) who is a member of a secret, underground cult called the Upper Order who meet in secret and are planning World War III. Meanwhile, The President (Ed Kearney) and Secretary Fallbright (George Elliot) are all involved. Did we mention Tigor can shoot lasers out of his eyes and the origin of this is not really explained? So now Tigor and Hart are on the run with only Tigor's lasers and sometimes forcefields to help them.
This odd and zany AIP entry has some wacky humor thanks to Chris Lemmon. He's always yelling "Jesus Christ!" Most of his lines in the film either start or end with him exhorting the name of some people's Lord and Savior. His 12 year old daughter in the film, inexplicably named Smith (Lauren Levy), is a plucky genius who drives a car and seems to have some fun saying wordy, scientific dialogue. She has an ALF doll in her room. She practically steals the film, in much the same way Sarah Dampf did for Stealth Fighter(1999). Too bad the two tweens never starred together in a movie. They could team up and fight crime or something. Her energetic, loquacious performance contrasts completely with Brett Porter's monosyllabic, monotonous Arnold Schwarzenegger/Dolph Lundgren/Matthias Hues-style delivery. The film does borrow somewhat from Red Heat (1988). I guess we were running low on English-as-a-second-language action stars. Thank you Brett Porter.
Martin Landau puts in a "special appearance" as Pendleton. He mutters some exposition and looks bewildered. He seems to be thinking "What am I doing in Firehead?" Same thing goes for Christopher Plummer (who has either won or been nominated for every award under the sun) - a usually respectable actor who decided if he was gonna slum, he was really gonna SLUM. You kind of feel bad/embarrassed for him. But maybe he had fun. We don't know. Someone ask him and get back to us. Chris Lemmon looks like a cross between Joe Piscopo and Wings Hauser in this film. He seems to care a bit too much about every little thing that happens. Gretchen Becker is on hand as the eye candy but she's much more than that - she sings the powerful end credits theme song as well.
There is a lot of mumbo-jumbo in the film, such as some gobbledygook about the "special operations computer bank" (which has its own jaunty theme music), and our heroes and government agents trapped in a building before a deadly virus is released. Yet they never take any time to explain Ivan's superpowers.
Think of this movie as AIP's attempt at being topical. It is incredibly silly and Ivan's laser eyes are the main draw. But we think they held back on using the effect too much to save money.
"Fire" up the VCR for this classic tonight! For more insanity, please visit: comeuppancereviews.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Russian cyborg Ivan Tibor (well played by brawny hunk Brett Porter) defects from the Soviet Union and comes to America. Ivan starts blowing up various places in a major city. Nice guy chemist Warren Hart (a lively and engaging performance by Chris Lemmon) and shrewd beautiful blonde agent Melia Buchanan (sassy Gretchen Becker) are assigned by Colonel Garland Vaughn (the always excellent Christopher Plummer) to stop Ivan. But is Ivan really bad? And is there a more sinister conspiracy afoot? Director/co-writer Peter Yuval relates the twisty and engrossing plot at a steady pace and stages the action scenes with a reasonable amount of skill. Moreover, Lemmon and Becker make for appealing and attractive leads; their sparky chemistry keeps the picture entertaining throughout (Becker also sings the cool ending credits theme song). Martin Landau contributes a neat cameo as the helpful Admiral Pendleton. Solid supporting turns by George Elliott as smarmy, sniveling secretary of defense Fallbright, Edmund Kearney as the huffy president, Douglas Simms as cocky jerk agent Taggart, and Lauren Levy as Warren's cute, spunky daughter Smith. Paul Maibaum's sharp cinematography and Vladimir Horunzhy's rousing score are both up to speed. A nifty little B flick.
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