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Jan Josef Liefers,
By order of Her Majesty's Foreign Office, Captain Strong is given a dangerous assignment to deliver a delicate communication to the British Ambassador in Kazakhstan. As the senior officer for the elite Queen's Messenger corps, Captain Strong must pledge to protect his diplomatic cargo with his life. Written by
After working as a full-time action hero for nine years, Gary apparently chose 2001 as the year to begin a hiatus from filmmaking. This was just as well, because the man's supply of decent movies was definitely drying up. QUEEN'S MESSENGER the sequel to WITNESS TO A KILL is the last film Daniels released during the golden era of his career, and the fact that it has yet to receive a Region 1 release is far from mystifying when you see how boring it is. This is a dreary, international thriller with mostly sluggish action scenes and a handful of bad directorial decisions that seal the film's tedium.
The story: While delivering a top-secret communique to Kazakhstan, Captain Anthony Strong (Daniels) is caught up in the revolutionary plot of a violent separatist (Christoph Waltz) to overthrow the government.
The movie's predecessor was not perfect by any means, but in comparison to its sequel, WITNESS TO A KILL is an action masterpiece. I counted only two full-length fight scenes, and while one of these is pretty decent, it cannot make up for the poor quality of the rest of the action content. The shootouts are old hat, but the two lengthy chase scenes are so very, very boring. Whether Gary is on a motorcycle or in a tank, the pursuits he's in are relentlessly slow-paced and devoid of surprises, making what would otherwise be the adrenaline highlights of the movie simply chores to sit through.
The Bulgarian shooting location - with its gray and white color palette
is boring to look at, and the prominence of European actors speaking
in accented English gets all the more tiring thanks to the dopey dialogue ("Get me closer; I want to kill the bonehead"). Costar Trie Donovan delivers the best performance of the cast as an international reporter, even though her character mispronounces words like "Sunni" and "Czech." Everyone else is pretty lackluster, whether it's Gary with his newly-adopted cockney accent or Ivan Ivanov with his 100% dubbed voice. Even though villain Christoph Waltz would go on to win two Oscars for his work in Quentin Tarantino features, he kinda sucks in here.
The fact that the movie is competently-made with good production values almost plays against it at this point: I would have had a much better time with a questionably-produced disasterpiece than a movie that looks fine but is all the more boring because of it. Gary puts up a strong front throughout the picture, but I have a feeling that my desire for the movie to end mirrored his desire to just go on vacation at this point. It's easy to avoid this one, so keep on ignoring it.
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