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This is a rather nonsensical action drama, with plenty of (entirely
unintentional) comedy to go round. To start with, the film itself is
called 'McBain.' Anyone who saw that famous Arnold spoof in 'The
Simpsons' could be forgiving for looking twice at this title, which
essentially features the same cut-and-paste plot, cheesy acting, and
incoherent developments that Wolfcastle parodied. It's really nothing
great but worth watching for the belly laughs at all the countless
errors and overbearing cheesiness!
The 'plot' involves a Vietnam Vet Bobby McBain (Walken)whose friend Santos, a Colombian revolutionary, is killed by the evil dictator on live TV, whose sister comes to McBain to help organize a revolution in that country. For no real reason, other than to alleviate his self-confessed boredom and to avenge his Columbian ex-colleague from Nam, he and his gang of overtly gay middle aged nerds get into a little prop plane and fly off to Colombia to do this.
I started writing a review for this, but deleted it because it ended up totally incoherent. No wonder really, as the madness I was trying to chart is so messed up it's really hard to know where to start. So instead of indignantly providing analogies of McBain's sheer crappiness, I'll just list a few examples from the film which sum it up suitably:
several people are murdered by people who we have seen die themselves moments earlier
the special effects, especially some mid-air explosions, look like they were done by a small child with a chemistry set
at one point, McBain is sitting in the co-pilot seat of a small prop plane. Flying next to them is a jet whose pilot is trying to force them to land. McBain pulls out this stupidly small pistol, and shoots the jet pilot, who crashes, despite the noticeable non-smashing of either windscreen!
Some rebels attempt to infiltrate the presidential palace using a stretched limo. The driver opens the boot and four men jump out. Four! Near the end of the film, a government soldier was asking an old man at a café if he has seen Christina, the rebel leader. He beats the man who doesn't tell him anything. This is great because at the next table are a load of American mercenaries in sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts, and fedora hats!
In a similar vein, during all the battle scenes the good guys can generally just stand around without so much as a bullet touching them, where the bad guys get routinely mowed, and in many cases clearly fail to even notice the machinegun-toting middle aged mercenaries!
The doctor of the group has to perform emergency surgery on a little girl after a battle. He says she would die without proper facilities, but McBain tells him to go ahead as she would die anyway. After briefly slicing her with a little knife (the girl has had her rib cage severely crushed), she sits there for a second, and smiles! The stupidest survival from mortal wounding since Marie in Biggles: Adventures in Time.
A tall, Germanic looking drug dealer is really running Colombia. Predictably, he is called Hans.
A typical example of the nonsense value of the plot: the group doctor declares he is going to stay with the wounded to help them. Then, in the next scene, he is back doing soldiering!
And another: at the start, the guys are told the Vietnam War is over, and they get into their helicopter to fly home. All of a sudden they see one VC on the ground, and decide to launch a full scale covert assault on a POW camp they hadn't even seen. Yeah, that's exactly what you do right after getting discharged.
You know a movie is in trouble when even the extras don't look convincing. I blame the director.
Normally I like mercenary movies. They make great viewing and the body count is typically high enough to make up for the lack of plot. Skeleton Coast and Wild Geese were both enjoyable. But McBain, thanks to a total lack of plot development, realistic effects, bearable acting, and tongue in cheek humour, comes across merely as a convoluted, confused mess. In honesty it looked like a load of set pieces had been brought in from a variety of scripts, banged together any which way, and then tagged together with the formulaic 'South American dictator/drug baron revolution' shtick.
Don't get me wrong I sat through it fine, it was never boring, because I was splitting my sides most of the time at the hilariously bad production values and situations. There are some pretty good moments, such as when McBain's gang kidnap a gangster called John Cambotti and dangle him off a skyscraper pretending to be Israeli agents. That part was cool. But the set-up for it, where they killed everyone in a crack house without either taking the money or destroying the drugs, and getting a lecture from the drug chief, was so artificial I just didn't understand why it was put in. Needless to say, mindless killing and slaughter is only entertaining if its well done on a technical level, unlike this ham-fest, where someone is dragged out of a window after a ceiling fan and hundreds of extras overtly mis-time their exaggerated death throes
There is lots of violence but some of it is so poorly done that it actually looks funny, which is not always a good thing. I bought this DVD for £1.49, which in retrospect seems like a bit of a rip-off. I'll hang onto it though, for any occasion in which I want to either play drinking games for number of dead etc, or as a showcase for some truly shoddy film-making.
When I first heard about the title, I thought of 'The Simpsons', just
like so many other reviewers, but when I saw the cast, I was completely
stunned, that so many great character-actors would actually be in this!
First of all, we have Christopher Walken (Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction),
who plays the title character, McBain. He is rescued from a Vietnam
POW-camp by some of his buddies, one of which is Santos (Chick Vennera,
Yanks, The Milagro Beanfield War), who splits a HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL
with McBain (Vietnam soldiers are loaded with cash apparently), and
tells him that he can re-do the favor to him, if he ever gets into
Then, 18 years later, Santos and his sister Christina (Maria Conchita Alonso, The Running Man, Predator 2) join the rebels in Colombia trying to get rid of their evil dictator, El Presidente (Victor Argo, Taxi Driver, King of New York), and when Santos fails the mission, Christina goes to McBain for help.
McBain then asks his good ol' Vietnam buddies to help him. First there's the token tough black guy, Eastland, played by "American Ninja"'s Steve James, who was also in director James Glickenhaus' previous movie, "The Exterminator", where the exterminator's real name also was Eastland, coincidence? I think not. There is also a lot of other references to The Exterminator, among other things, the most notable one being that McBain himself wears a welders-mask when Christina sees him for the first time, when he is working on a welding-job on top of a bridge!
The other guys in the Vietnam-pack are: The rich guy who can afford all sorts of equipment for the team, Frank Bruce (Michael Ironside, Total Recall, Starship Troopers), and then there's the doc, Dalton, (Jay Patterson, TMN Turtles), and last but not least, there's the cop, Gill, who has had enough of his unsatisfying job, he's played by Thomas G. Waites, who some of us might remember from The Warriors and The Thing.
And in other big roles, we find Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights, Carlito's Way), as a small-time drug-dealer who can't get a decent job. Also, there is Dick Boccelli as the drug-dealing kingpin who gets hung up in a crane on top of a roof by the McBain-gang, almost Exactly in the same way he got hung up over a meat-grinder by John Eastland in the EXTERMINATOR-movie! Now, I haven't seen Glickenhaus' "Shakedown/Blue Jean Cop" yet, but I'm almost ready to bet half a hundred-dollar bill that Boccelli gets hung up in that movie too!
Well, back to the plot of this movie.. they go off to Colombia and saves the day, yay! But who cares about the plot anyway, the cast is great, and the action-scenes are very well done, and you're never bored while watching this movie! Highly recommended to all action-lovers!
Christopher Walken leads a batch of Army buddies against Colombia to avenge the death of his friend at the hands of the military regime. Since their Army days, Walken and his merry men have become successful and/or affluent, and seeing them take off as a group on a dubious military adventure requires some pretty heavy suspension of disbelief. But that's just the beginning. You'll see middle-aged men out-fighting hardened government troops. Pistols and Bic pens find uses their inventors never dreamed of, and desperate field surgeries are performed under the worst conditions, with 100% success. All of it done in an appallingly casual way, that is deader than the deadest deadpan humor. You'll truly laugh your butt off - nonstop yuck-yucks from the guy who brought us Shakedown and The Soldier. See McBain as a double feature with Taking of Beverly Hills if you want to see how durable your spleen really is.
First of all i'd just like to say this movie rawked more than any of the recent crap that hollywood has cooked up out of its bowels. McBain is a true action film with more violence than most viewers can handle. It has all of the classic elements of a late 80's/early 90's action film....the random gratuitous acts of violence (ie. when Walken and crew go in to confront the drug dealers to get money they just show up and kill them rather than letting them live and just taking their money), the snapping of necks, the guys on fire, the guys that get blown off buildings, and of course the guys who are on fire that get blown off of buildings. Walken is at his finest in this picture delivering memorable lines such as, "let's go sit..........out on the deck." and others that make this film a top buy off of the clearence rack at the local video store. if you have a bloodlust for unnecessary random acts of violence rent this movie today and satisfy your thirst.
Okay, 'enjoy' is a pretty relative term, but flexibility is in order when
you're dealing with a filmmaker of James Glickenhaus' calibre.
McBain is truly one of the most ridiculous, over the top action films I've ever seen, without the nasty edge of The Exterminator. Other reviews have commented on a suspension of disbelief regarding the film's heroic middle aged commandos, but how about making a film in the Philippines that is set in Colombia? All the extras are Filipino. In fact the only character who looks remotely Hispanic is good ol' Victor Argo as the much reviled 'El Presidente'! Oh yes, we also have Maria Conchita Alonso overemoting like crazy as a rebel leader. There are tons of explosions and bodies flying everywhere in this amusing paean to the glories of American imperialism.
The character name is immortalized and forever ridiculed by
"The Simpsons" but it will also always to me personally, at least
remain the name and title of a tremendously entertaining and
outrageously violent early 90's action flick; directed by the cool dude
who brought us "The Exterminator" and starring two of the most
ultimately badass B-movie heroes Christopher Walken and Michael
Ironside (the latter with a cute little macho ponytail). I guess
"McBain" will largely have to be labeled as a guilty pleasure, because
there's no way I can convince anyone this is an intellectual motion
picture. The film is unimaginably preposterous (most action heroes take
on a small gangster posse
McBain takes on an entire country) and yet
takes itself way too seriously. The script is a non-stop and incoherent
spitfire of clichéd situations, nonsensical twists, compulsory
sentimental interludes, grotesquely staged action sequences and utterly
implausible character drawings. It's a totally delirious movie; I loved
Vietnam POW McBain's life is saved by fellow soldier Roberto Santos on the very last day of the war. They each keep half a dollar note as a symbol that McBain is in Santos' debt. Eighteen years later, Santos is a spirited rebel leading the revolution against the corrupt president of his home country Columbia. Santos initial attempt to take over the power fails and he's publicly executed on El Presidente's balcony. His sister travels to New York with the dollar note and turns to McBain for financial assistance and manpower. McBain and his former Vietnam buddies, who all coincidentally happen to be fed up with the injustice in this world, charter themselves a miserable little plane and fly to Columbia to open a gigantic can of whoop-ass.
Okay, let's not fool each other here. The fact you're reading a user- comment on "McBain" already indicates that you have some sort of interest for low-budget B-movie action. One of my fellow reviewers spent quite some time composing a list containing all the main stupidities and insensible moments of "McBain". This list is totally accurate and I can only concur with it. Heck, I could even add some more senseless sequences to that list (like the preposterous and needless heroic self- sacrifice of a soldier who doesn't even have any affinity with the goal of the mission and the rest of McBain's squad), but what's the point? You definitely know not to expect a 100% coherent and plausible masterpiece. We know from beforehand this will be a silly and exaggeratedly flamboyant movie, and it's maybe even the exact reason why we want to check it out! This is a terrifically outrageous and exciting movie about a bunch of former Vietnam buddies turning into mercenaries and declaring war against the corrupt Columbian president and the national drug cartel. Please don't expect another "Apocalypse Now". This particular motion picture relies on the ruff 'n tuff acting performances of the macho leads, a whole lot of explosions and gunfights and last but not least a fantastic soundtrack in which Joan Baez sings a cover of "Brothers in Arms".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*
I bought this one from Blockbuster for three bucks. The title "McBain" instantly made me think about the McBain character from "The Simpsons". In the various clips they showed on the show, McBain was always trying to take down Latin drug kingpin Mendoza. "MEEEENNNNDDDOOOOOZZAA!!" I was hoping Walken was going to do a Schwarzenegger impersonation while gunning down insane amounts of Colombians. Well, there's no Arnold impersonation but Walken does get the lead out. Of his machine gun that is.
This is a ridiculous B-action movie. When you see Walken hanging out in the jungles of Colombia wearing a Hawaiian shirt, you'll be laughing. Walken is asked to come to Colombia to settle some scores. His old army buddy was killed there and Walken decides he owes him a violent revolution. So a handful of guys take on the Colombian army. It's a B-movie war.
If you're into insane B-movie body counts and idiotic action scenes, you'll get into this one. If you need more coherence and logic in your action flicks, steer clear.
This was an absolutely terrible movie. Don't be lured in by Christopher Walken or Michael Ironside. Both are great actors, but this must simply be their worst role in history. Even their great acting could not redeem this movie's ridiculous storyline. This movie is an early nineties US propaganda piece. The most pathetic scenes were those when the Columbian rebels were making their cases for revolutions. Maria Conchita Alonso appeared phony, and her pseudo-love affair with Walken was nothing but a pathetic emotional plug in a movie that was devoid of any real meaning. I am disappointed that there are movies like this, ruining actor's like Christopher Walken's good name. I could barely sit through it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Everybody's got bills to pay, and that includes Christopher Walken.
In Vietnam, a group a soldiers discover that the war is over and are heading back home when they spot a bunch of POWs, including Christopher Walken. Following a Mad Max 3 (!) Thunderdome fight, and a short massacre later. Walken and some Colombian guy split a dollar bill promising something or other.
Cut to the present (1991), and Colombian guy is leading a revolution against El Presidente. He's successful at first, but after El Presidente threatens to crush folks with a tank, he's forced to surrender and is shot in the head on live television. This is shown in full gory detail as a news flash on American telly, which leads Walken to assemble the old squad (even though he wasn't actually part of that squad to begin with), in order to invade Colombia and gun down thousands of people.
McBain is a monumentally stupid film, but for all that it's also a good laugh, and action packed too. This is one of those movies where logic is given a wide berth - how else could Walken shoot a fighter pilot in the head from another plane without suffering from decompression, or even breaking a window? Also, it seems that these guys can gun down scores of drug dealers in New York without the police bothering.
There's plenty of b-movie madness to chew on here, from Michael Ironside's diabolical acting in the Vietnam sequence, to the heroic but entirely pointless death of one of the heroes, to the side splitting confrontation between Walken and El Presidente, and let's not forget the impassioned speech by the sister of the rebel leader, being watched on television in America (nearly brought a brown tear to my nether-eye, that bit).
It's out there for a quid. Buy it if you have a sense of humour. See how many times you can spot the camera crew too.
A Vietnam POW called Robert McBain (Christopher Walken) is freed by a
valiant soldier (Chick Vennera) who is killed while is trying a state
coup in Columbia (though it was shot in the Phillippines and not
actually in Colombia as the movie depicts) . Years later , McBain is
appointed by his sister (Maria Conchita Alonso) , then he leads a band
of veterans (Michael Ironside , Jay Patterson , Thomas G.Waites , Steve
James) into battle against Columbian cartel . As Walken and crew do
kidnap a character similar to Gotti and extort money from him to
finance the coup in Colombia . The posse of mercenaries join together
to infiltrate by means of an airplane in Columbia and bring to justice
, both , the country's leading drug crime King -Pablo Escobar- and his
own corrupt Prime Minister (Victor Argo) . They hold several risks ,
odds and dangers .
The picture is plenty of action , blast , explosion , battles and numerous kinds of vehicles : planes , jets , buses , jeeps get blown up . It's disconcerting combined , including a little bit of violence when the fights happen , romance between the protagonists (Walken and Conchita Alonso) and brief characterization of the various roles . Christopher Walken is nice as the two-fisted , he-man starring , he is an one army man who wrecks havocs a group of evil-doers . The movie provides fast and furious entertainment and action with no sense developing itself in great agility , fast paced and movement . The scenes shot all around New York City were in fact real locations such as the Drug House, The Hospital , The Brooklyn Bridge and the Hudson River , everything involving Colombia was shot entirely in the Phillippines .
The motion picture was regularly directed by James Glickenhaus . Being born in New York City where he usually shoots his movies . Glickenhaus served as the chairman for the film company SGE Entertainment from 1987 to 1995; this company specialized in both making and distributing low-budget independent straight-to-video fare . He's an expert on violent action movies and so-so films as proved in this ¨McBain¨, ¨The soldier¨ and this ¨Shakedown¨ . He's also directed a Jackie Chan vehicle titled ¨The protector¨ , the eerie thriller "Slaughter of the Innocents" and the attractive sci-fi romp "Timemaster¨ and of course the extremely violent , low-budgeted and successful 1980 movie , ¨The exterminator¨ , a cruel Vigilante drama . And James was the executive producer for the movies "Maniac Cop," "Frankenhooker," both "Basket Case" sequels, "Ring of Steel," and "Tough and Deadly" . Rating : Average , 5,5/10 but entertaining . Mediocre but entertaining .
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