The Ambassador of Cuba was killed in New York. To prevent another attack of the terrorists at the US-Cuba-summit in Prague the CIA sends one of their best federal agents, Michael Dane (Dolph Lundgren). The suspected killer Nikita is a lesbian club owner, Simone Rosset. But as usual everything is much more complicated than it seemed at first; and therefore Dane has to work much more with his brain than with his muscles to survive. Written by
Dolph Lundgren in a murkily-lit modestly-budgeted Co-European production, I have to say, is not a prospect to get the average moviegoer's pulse racing; Dolph is the poor man's Arnie not, as it turns out, because of acting ability or screen presence, but simply because Arnie came first. Nevertheless, that's the way it is for poor old Dolph, so throughout the 90s all he seemed to get were the scraps that fell from Arnie's table. This one isn't as bad as you might expect. It isn't good either, but it's serviceable.
It certainly improves on a weak first ten minutes that are hampered by some lousy lighting and even lousier acting from the likes of Gavan O'Herlihy who chews scenery like a man with indigestion who doesn't wish to appear impolite. Dolph is Michael Dane, a US Marshal on the hunt for Simone Rosset (Maruschka Detmers) a shapely assassin suspected of doing a Frank Sinatra and coming out of retirement to off a Cuban ambassador. Rosset, however, pleads her innocence, and Dane uncovers doings of the murky variety when he investigates a little further.
Detmers is an actress new to me, but she adds a touch of class to an otherwise pedestrian action movie. Her character is obviously modelled on Nikita, but Simone is a part-time lesbian with a taste for good wine and a knack for jumping off high places. Detmers gives the impression she is slumming that's how classy she is. Lundgren gives a decent enough performance too, but the story lets them both down in crucial areas. Dane is just a little too dim, even for a Marshal. He uses a tactic of self-mutilation instead of surveillance, stages a car chase which nearly ends up with him and his passenger being squashed between two tram cars simply because he wants to drive rather than be driven, and shoots indiscriminately into a moving train. On the plus side, the story does at least try to be a little different from the countless other mid-budget efforts out there, adding an unexpected twist that is well-timed and effective, and making use of some terrific Prague location work.
This one is for those times when you really don't want to think about what you are watching; it's for when you want the film to do all the work and lay everything out for you without inserting any sly subtexts, etc. The action set-pieces are a little workmanlike the budgets restricts them to a couple of car chases and a lot of gunfights but one, carried out on the rooftops of Prague, is pretty cool.
No-one sitting down to watch a film like this should be doing so with high expectations, so it follows then that no-one should be disappointed
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