|Index||5 reviews in total|
If you like adventure outside the United States, then this movie is for you! We got Mexican architect and scenery! --Conspiracy, backstabbing, multiple violent acts, rebels and comradeship; also some sexual situations, too: all-contributing to the action movie, in an interesting version. One possible obstacle is that, even though Daniel Bernhardt is very appealing, and does well at projecting toughness: because he resembles a duplicate of Jean-Claude Van Damme, settling into Bernhardt might take awhile. But this movie is better than many of Van Damme's movies, particularly when the twist arrives: when, `Senora Presidente Bitch' initiates the main gist of the story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
David Benson (Bernhardt) is a former CIA official who is down in the
small, sleepy South American town of Santa Brava. All he wants to do is
sit and drink his beer and enjoy a good cockfight, but oh no. He is
recruited by Maj. Oxnard (Thompson) and Col. Shakwell (Englund) as part
of a ragtag team of mercenaries to help protect an idealistic
politician, President Casillas (Martinez) from potential assassins as
he gives an address in the town square. Naturally, Casillas is shot -
and Benson and his associate Ramirez (Pirri) are blamed. Now on the
run, they end up in the jungle. They end up training a team of rebels
to help overthrow the corrupt government, led by Casillas' wife,
Isabella (Rosen). Will Benson get out of this mess alive? What's so
funny about this movie is how much Bernhardt resembles and sounds like
Van Damme. Perfect Target was directed by Sheldon Lettich, the director
of Lionheart (1990) and Double Impact (1991). Supposedly Bernhardt was
discovered by the same guy that discovered Van Damme, and Bernhardt
appeared in some of the Bloodsport sequels. For all intents and
purposes, he IS Van Damme...yet he's not. Every few minutes while
watching this movie, you have to ask yourself, "is that Van Damme?"
But, even though some wags might say Bernhardt is a low-rent JCVD,
Perfect Target is actually a better movie than some Van Damme vehicles.
Bernhardt, from such movies as The Cutter (2005) and Strike Force, 2003 (and even the Mystery Science Theater 3000-mocked Future War), appears more like JCVD here than ever before. Everything from his hair to his voice will remind you of the man. The role of David Benson also could have gone to Mark Dacascos or Olivier Gruner.
Interestingly, David Benson smokes and drinks. This would never happen today. It's pretty surprising this movie came out in 1997, it seems like it could have come out in '88 or earlier. It has that kind of feel. Brian Thompson, last seen as the baddie from Cobra (1986), enhances that fact. He is solid as the baddie here, as is Robert Englund, who gets to sneer away to his hearts' content. He was probably relieved to not be doing a pigeonholed horror role. Plus, since their names are the mildly silly Oxnard and Shakwell, you can say, "Oh no! Oxnard and Shakwell are coming after you!" The only one missing from the potential trifecta is Patrick Kilpatrick.
There's plenty of shooting and hand-to-hand combat, and even one fight that recalls Operation Warzone (1988) of all things. The classic barfight is also here, and Benson is, of course, "the best" at what he does. But it seems an attempt was made to put in some decent dialogue and put in some plot twists. But it just may be too little too late.
This is the type of movie you feel you've seen before even if you haven't. The whole "South American-corrupt government-rebels" formula has been seen in everything from Cocaine Wars (1985) to One Man Out (1989) to The Expendables (2010). The movie, shot in various parts of Mexico, has an appropriately hot and sweaty atmosphere, which is conveyed well.
Perfect Target, while sporting a nice, professional look and feel, is, sadly, standard fare and underwhelming.
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Yes, I am a big fan of Mr. Bernhardt and his work, and this film is no
exception. I couldn't ask for much more, as I felt the film's 90 minute
duration, was well spent. You've got Bernhardt in the lead, followed by
another underrated talent, Brian Thompson and Robert "The Man Himself"
Englund, rounding out the billing in a meaty role.
Overall, this is a well directed actioner, from, the man who made "LIONHEART", Sheldon Lettich. If you're a fan, check it out. I should know... I'm a self-taught, self-licensed grindhouse practitioner and historian... Dig It.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
He kicks like Jean-Claude Van Damme. He talks like Chuck Norris. He
looks like Lawrence Harvey. He's Daniel Bernhardt of "The Matrix
Reloaded." In the "Perfect Target," Bernhardt plays David Benson, a
hard luck, ex-Green Beret who serves as a fall guy for a mercenary
group headed up Colonel Shackwell (Robert Englund of "The Nightmare on
Elm Street" franchise) and his sidekick Major Oxnard (Brian Thompson of
"Sudden Impact") and retained by a South American country's president.
Poor Benson cannot sit in a bar and enjoy a quiet brew without somebody
picking on him. A smackdown fistfight ensues as a disgruntled big
fellow trades jaw-breaker blows with Benson. Initially, Benson wasn't
looking for a fight. Nevertheless, the two beat the bejesus out of each
other until the police arrive. Predictably, they arrest our hero on
trumped up charges and haul him off to jail. Major Oxnard bails David
out, and Shackwell offers our hero the job of protecting Santa Brava
President Casillas (Mario Iván Martínez of "Original Sin") and his wife
Isabela Santiago Casillas (Julieta Rosen of "The Mask of Zorro") from
assassins. The biggest problem that David must contend with a obnoxious
Federale Captain Miguel Ramirez (TV actor Jim Pirri) who doesn't like
taking orders. These two guys decide to set aside their differences
until later, when they plan to beat the stew out of each other.
During the president's speech, an assassin opens fire and kills him. The assassin turns out to be one of Shackwell's own men and they kill some of their stunned comrades during the assassination. Before he knows what's going on, Benson learns that he has been framed for the death of the president. Benson and Miguel become friends as they retreat into the jungle and stumble onto Teresa Ramirez (Dara Tomanovich of TV's "Highlander") and her band of freedom fighters. As it turns out, Teresa is Miguel's sister and a fine figure of a woman, too. David doesn't miss this either and they create some chemistry. Mostly, however, they are swapping lead with the Major Onxard, General Shackwell and the President's wife. Isabela takes over the government and rules with an iron fist. She wants Shackwell to hunt down David and kill him. All that David wanted was to escape and cross the border, but since he has seen Teresa, he has changed his mind. He hangs around and trains Teresa's men how to shoot. Teresa and David have a dialogue showdown in the jungle because she thinks that all he wants to do is get out of the country. By the time that David decides to stick around, he learns that the army has raided their hideout, killed nearly everybody, and has taken Teresa into custody. Teresa and Isabella are mortal enemies from the first time that they lay eyes on each other.
David and Miguel devise another plan and attack the palace where Isabella, Shackwell, and Major Oxnard are holding Teresa hostage. Isabella is speaking to a 'live' TV audience in her palace when the freedom fighters fire mortar rounds. Eventually, because the sound of gunfire continues to grow, she abandons the broadcast, but the frightened technicians leave the equipment on and sending out pictures. Major Oxnard and David go toe-to-toe and head-to-head in a knockdown, drag-out brawl that the countrymen watch on their TV sets. Meanwhile, Miguel has his showdown with evil General Shackwell and gives him his just reward.
"Lionheart" helmer Sheldon Lettich, a former U.S. Marine who did time in Vietnam, has served up a tolerably entertaining but standard issue, big dumb, he-man actioneer where fists smacking flesh are the equivalent of gunfire. Daniel Bernhardt is serviceable as the stalwart hero and he handles himself splendidly in hand-t0-hand combat. Brian Thompson is terrific once again as the treacherous antagonist who betrays David. Thompson looks like he was born to play dangerous villains. Indeed, he looks the son of Satan with that over-sized jaw and those sneering lips. Why he didn't become a bigger villain is beyond me. Robert Englund is suitably maniacal but he doesn't have to exert himself, meaning that the role is far below his talents. Julieta Rosen delivers the best performance and it is a testament to her thespian talents that you will HATE this witch before she receives her just reward.
Basically, "Perfect Target" is a potboiler. The fights are okay. The scenery is exotic with a south of the border look. There is beefcake galore, gunfight galore, and some sex. Lettich has directed better movies. He helmed "Double Impact" before he made "Perfect Target." "Perfect Target" is a low-budget thriller that doesn't change the way low-budget thrillers are made, but doesn't do anything really wrong.
I hated this movie to its guts! How can anybody enjoy it?! How the man who directed Double Impact and Lionheart could make such a bad movie? Daniel Bernhardt is amazing and it is a shame that he starred this piece of junk! And Robert Englund and Brian Thompson deserved better as well! Awful! Very very lame! If you want to see a good Daniel Bernhardt Movie, please, rent Bloodsport 2 and 3. Those movies have great fight sequences and are way more inspired than this one. For example, the fight scene in the end between Bernhardt and Thompson is one of the worst fights I have ever seen! Only the Princess Diaries is worse than this one!
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