A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman while terrorists smuggle nuclear war heads into the United States.
Jamie Lee Curtis,
Firefighter Gordon Brewer is plunged into the complex and dangerous world of international terrorism after he loses his wife and child in a bombing credited to Claudio "The Wolf" Perrini. Frustrated with the official investigation and haunted by the thought that the man responsible for murdering his family might never be brought to justice, Brewer takes matters into his own hands and tracks his quarry ultimately to Colombia. Written by
First, let's give the detractors their due: the movie is too long and moves slowly. Arnie has some miraculous escapes that strain credibility. Yet, finally, with a real director Andrew Davis, the movie departs from Arnie's usual action movie by showing the human costs of violence. Also, as others have stated, he is not invincible. Unlike Commando, where he is hiding behind those rosebushes, he gets beat up and nearly killed several times. Even above this, show me a movie where so many people dupe him making him look like a total dork. It is a rare non-flattering, gear demeaning role until the last half hour when he transforms into the old Arnie we all love. I won't spoil it for you, suffice to say, the person who is the real villain, and true brains of the terrorist operation, is not shown until the very end. To be fair to other Arnie fans, if you enjoy his pure action template (Running Man, Total Recall, Raw Deal) watch another one of his movies. What killed this at the box office is the pacing. It is quite slow and depressing at the beginning when 'The Wolf' explodes his family into low earth orbit. Here is where better editing would have helped the movie. He actually is helped by people (Turturro in prison, CIA guys) so that it isn't the usual Arnie the mastermind, that, forgive me, is not enhanced by close-ups on his face.
It also was attacked by feminists for his violence against women; please, she was trying to kill him, get a life. As your action movie reviewer, yes, it is boring in parts. This really is an attempt by Arnie to broaden his lobotomized action persona like Stallone did with CopLand. They were always watching each other, when one did something the other copied him. Sadly, it is not even close to being the cerebral CopLand. Yet, it is one of the only pure Arnie dramatic performances where he plays a human being and not a demigod. Not only does he get beat up, by men and a woman, but he gets outsmarted and made to look like a complete ass also. It takes bravery to play a more human role and it adds needed depth to the movie. After this movie bombed, so much for Arnie's forays into a dramatic role. The movie follows his revenge mission into Columbia after the Wolf blew up his wife and son while targeting some government big shot. Unlike Commando, where he infiltrates and wipes out a whole army single handed, watch for him using his brain and not his brawn in this old movie. I know, stop laughing, look, it makes for a unique Arnie movie. This is a very accurate depiction of terrorism, their ruthlessness and that, often, the women are just as or more deadly than the men.
The best part is the last half hour with a serious showdown between Arnie and the terrorist couple whom, when not in love, enjoy blowing people to living crap. It is a long, well done action piece that went a long way to redeeming this one. Yes, there are many superior to this one but that is comparing apples to oranges; this really is more of a drama than a pure Arnie action movie. If you want non-stop explosions, arm snapping and vertebrae adjustments, watch a different movie. Sly did CopLand in the late 90's Arnie had to make his own foray into drama. He did surprise me in a few scenes with his pure acting that is far superior to his shaky readings in many of his more successful movies. Be warned, the movie is also singular in its utter absence of humor. Do not expect the usual Arnie one liners delivered with that hilarious deadpan expression. Curtis does well as the villain but his wife wins the 'don't turn your back' award with her instant head-spinning neck snapping of a poor woman Fed. It has many twists and turns, Davis was always good with suspense and there are a couple real dramatic curves in this one. Just be warned: slow and more of a drama than an action movie. If you are expecting Commando, you will just hate it. For Serious Arnie Fans Only. Not That Bad Of A Movie. Q.E.D.
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