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John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
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Merrick (Dacascos) and Wade (Hauer) are smugglers in near future Russia. Merrick betrays Wade, kills him during a deal and muscles in on one of the main gangs locally. Wade is brought back to life by a shadowy Government conspiracy and sets out to seek revenge enrolling the help of a call girl on the way.
I'm a big fan of Mark Dacascos, I don't know why but I just like martial arts and think he's got the charisma that should make him a bigger star. Probably one of the reasons for his lack of star power is that he regularly appears in stuff like this. It's interesting to see him playing a bad guy for a change but he really doesn't have anything to do. He gets to do a few big kicks etc but other than that it's all down to his ability to act menacing and bad.....and how does he portray his "bad" side - by having a black goatee beard. It's that simple, he does do evil things but it's like the beard is the main thing he does to make his character menacing. Hauer is as bad as he always is in these cheap thrillers (Omega Doom anyone?), at times it does feel like he doesn't care anymore and is just sleepwalking through this role because he needs the work. He isn't believable in the least as the man driven by revenge who returns from the grave, the whole film he has the demeanour of a man who is popping out to buy a paper on a Sunday morning - he could have put some emotion into the role!
The plot doesn't exactly help the actors do their work. The essence of 'man hunting other man' doesn't really stretch out a whole movie so they bring in lots of Government/police conspiracy involvement and gang war stuff to the party. This just serves to make a rubbish plot too complicated rather than adding value. They also add the Point Blank/Payback idea that Hauer is doing all this just to get his share of the money that he was owed from the deal. But the double crosses all get a bit silly and boring - especially towards the end where the scriptwriters clearly realises that what he's writing has no excitement or point to it and decides to throw in as many twists as he can to cover it up. Other issues in the film are left hanging
why is Hauer brought back to life? It's never really explained and
eventually is used to create another double-cross. What about the brain plugins? They used several times in the film but there's not detail of them and they're not used any better in the plot than a TV or radio? There are several other strands that are not covered well, but I got so fed up with the constant double crossing that I've left them.
The direction and detail of the film just makes it even more annoying. Other reviewers have mentioned nudity, I didn't think there was that much but I know what they mean; topless female boxers, topless assassins etc it doesn't rely on sex to sell itself but it doesn't see the harm in using titillation even if it doesn't fit into the plot. Secondly the shootouts (of which there are several spontaneous scenes) are terrible - they don't even try to be close to reality. Imagine Hauer and a call girl on an open rooftop (with no cover), both have handguns. They are under fire by a large group with automatic weapons firing continuously from shielded positions. Both out heroes manage to dispatch the group and escape with great ease and without even one shot coming close to them. This is what most of the scenes are like - Hauer just casually shoots at all enemies and all shots at him hit the scenery all round. It really sucked all the excitement out of these scenes and just made it all look lazy.
The insulting bit is that the director still thinks he's making a clever film. In the middle of the film he puts a scene that is straight out of the Battleship Potemkin (a la "The Untouchables"). Is this an attempt to show us that he is a clever director that has seen classic movies and is using them to enhance his own style? Or is it a clumsy attempt just to look smart? The scene is so out of place as well and just makes the director look stupid - the fact that it is out of place just shows how shoddy the rest of it is. Did the same reference seem out of place in The Untouchables? No! because De Palma's film was all quality and the reason for the scene was not just to make a film reference (as is the case here).
Bad performances, bad plot, bad script, really bad action. I'd read the reviews before I saw it and thought it would pass the time and that Dacascos would multiply the value of the film. Unfortunately any number multiplied by zero is still zero.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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