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McBain (1991)

A former Vietnam War lieutenant reforms his old team in order to help a revolutionary's sister overthrow a ruthless dictator.


James Glickenhaus




Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Joseph DeSare Michael Joseph DeSare ... Major Tenny (as Michael Joseph De Sare)
Chick Vennera ... Roberto Santos
Michael Ironside ... Frank Bruce
Steve James ... Eastland
Eric Granger Eric Granger ... Secret Service
Thomas G. Waites ... Gill (as T. G. Waites)
Jay Patterson ... Dr. Dalton
Christopher Walken ... Robert McBain
Cris Aguilar Cris Aguilar ... Sing Lau (as Cristito 'Kris' Aguilar)
Protacio Dee ... General Ho (as Protacio 'Tony' Dee)
Craig Judd Craig Judd ... Screaming P.O.W. (as Craig Walter Judd)
David Pegram David Pegram ... Armodo (as David Tamayo Pegram)
Dinah Dominguez Dinah Dominguez ... Rebel Hooker #1
Jedd Malgaso Jedd Malgaso ... Rebel Hooker #2
Joel Torre ... Chauffeur


Santos attempts to lead a people's revolt in Colombia to overthrow the oppressive El Presidente. When his revolt fails and he is killed, his sister Christina goes to New York to find McBain, a lieutenant Santos rescued during the Vietnam War. McBain agrees to avenge Santos' death, calls up his old war buddies, raises the necessary funds by killing a few drug dealers and threatening the mafia, then leads an attack to topple the corrupt government. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How do you set a country free? See more »


Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong war violence, and for language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The film was shot in the Phillippines and not actually in Colombia as the film depicts. See more »


General Epper wears the insignia of a General of the Army, a ceremonial rank which was last awarded to Omar Bradley prior to the Korean War. See more »


President Flynn: You guys are fucking with the wrong President!
See more »


Featured in The Cinema Snob: Bad Movie Cinema Snob: McBain (2010) See more »


Christina's Song
Music by Christopher Franke
Lyrics by Christopher Franke and James Glickenhaus
Sung by Jocelyn B. Smith
See more »

User Reviews

"Dat's de Johke"
11 April 2016 | by pyrocitorSee all my reviews

Don't kid yourself: you're here because you want McBain to be an hour and a half of Christopher Walken flooding the screen with bullets and blood, swaggering through the gloriously gratuitous action movie carnage while spewing one-liners like everyone's favourite Arnold Schwarzenegger parody from The Simpsons. And if he chose to adopt a half-baked Schwarzenegger impression, melded with his legenDAry eNUNciation? Well, the screen might just crack under the ecstatic deluge of cinematic gold, the viewer whisked away by choirs of cigar-toting angels dressed like periwinkle goats, offering them margaritas in glasses covered in googly eyes.

Alas - the movie gods do not always deliver, and we can only wonder how writer/director/schlockmeister James Glickenhaus sleeps at night for deluding us (if you answer "on a pile of money, surrounded by beautiful girls", you're a-okay with me). What we get with McBain is a movie that's in many ways just as silly, though less willing to make peace with it. It's probably one of the better B-movie Rambo knock- offs lumbering around the $0.99 DVD bin, if only because it's so earnest about its serious political aspirations in its tale of jingoistic, macho, white saviour interventionism it's kind of adorable. For those turning the film into a drinking game (and, again, why else would you be here), look for each moment Walken is framed heroically by some piece of American iconography - welding on the Brooklyn bridge, or crabbing next to Lady Liberty - or, later, posturing in front of the Colombian flag. You won't be disappointed. Or sober.

To his credit, Glickenhaus crafts a mighty impressive action sequence. As Walken and his war buddies stage a military coup in Colombia (though amusingly apparent as the Philippines, right down to the distinctly non-Colombian extras), with explosions, bullets, tank and plane chases galore, their blowouts are so fun that we even temporarily transcend the evident cheapness that permeates the rest of the film, from its wobbly dialogue to its grainy, washed-out cinematography. There's even the occasional striking image - a shark-painted helicopter soaring over the gorgeous cough-Vietnam(?)-cough scenery, and the opening sequence, where a group of discharged GIs rescue Walken from a bamboo cage POW camp because America, it's actually fairly thrilling, thanks largely to some stylish cross-cutting and Christopher Franke's pounding musical score.

But, thankfully, before things slide into being too respectable and/or dull, Glickenhaus grants us enough bits of wonderful weirdness to make it worth our while. Here, Luis Guzmán cameos as a self-righteous drug dealer, who indignantly protests why McBain's crew didn't rob a richer fat cat to finance their revolution than him (so they do, dangling him from a crane), and the United States president orders the printing of red, white, and blue currency as a galvanizing stand against drug cartels. This is the sort of excellent nonsense which makes the world go 'round.

As an additional layer of disappointment, Walken doesn't even get to play outrageously campy action star here; instead he's a sun hat and sunglasses-wearing Hannibal Smith type, leading his A-Team of buds (including the famously grumbly Michael Ironside, who has fun as a multi-millionaire who sheepishly jettisons his life of opulence to go romp around Colombia) with quiet authority as they blow up most of the countryside. Walken's clearly too bored to be as flamboyantly weird as he is at his best, but, lack of grandstanding aside, he can still do no wrong. He's charm personified in a clumsily shoehorned-in love subplot with Maria Conchita Alonso's revolutionary widow, and his nonchalant delivery makes even his most unassuming lines brim with hilarious banality (the best: "she's gonna clear the runway. Or she might be dead. More that that, I don't know"). And, mercifully, he comes away with at least one iconic Walken moment: a patented monologue comparing the corrupt, repressive regime murdering dissenters and getting children addicted to drugs to his time at Woodstock, which is in such hysterically poor taste it's genuinely spectacular - though his taking a camcorder 'revolution selfie' with his mini-A-Team is pretty excellent as well.

This might not be the McBain you or The Simpsons want, but the inherent pleasure of 'Christopher Walken does Rambo meets The A-Team' still provides its share of dispensable, wacky, gloriously overkill macho silliness to ween yourself off your disappointment with. Just imagine Walken bellowing "MENDOZAAAAAA!!!!" as he explodes through the ceiling to confront 'El Presidente, and the world is immediately a better place. Ice to see you, too.


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Release Date:

20 September 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

McBain See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$320,000, 22 September 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)


Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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