CIA Code Name: Alexa (1992)
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The writing and acting is so poor in this film at times it is laughable. There are so many action movie "conventions" in the film it is ridiculous: unnecessary car explosions, people flying thru glass windows, terrorists, bad ponytails, etc. The musical score resembles David Michael Frank's score for "Hard to Kill" (1990), which furthers the Steven Segal theme of this movie. There is plenty of martial arts in the film, and it is pretty well done for a low budget American production. The mindless action and over the top acting never lets up, and I have to admit I was mildly entertained.
Lorenzo Lamas had the look of an action star back in the early 90's but he is certainly no action star, that is why he is doing soap operas and not action blockbusters. My recommendation is that you skip "CIA Codename:Alexa" and check out "La Femme Nikita" instead.
Meanwhile, cops Murphy (Simpson) and Benedetti (Griggs) are also working the case, and they come across Alexa (Kinmont), a ruthless assassin working for Mahler. Soon, Graver realizes he can use Alexa to infiltrate Mahler's compound but he must undo her brainwashing. So he basically kidnaps her young daughter and keeps them both at a massive CIA compound. So now the feds, the cops and Alexa must work together to bring down Mahler because Alexa's daughter, and the fate of the world, are at stake. Will she come through, or revert back to her old ways? A major plus for this PM production is its fast pace. The movie really zooms by, and no wonder, as it has classic Lamas, Kinmont as a very tough cookie (Lamas and Kinmont together once again), Alex Cord, in a very entertaining manner, chews the scenery, a rockin' score by Louis Febre, a CIA command center that has it all from martial arts training to a gun range to an upscale restaurant - all in one room, and, last but...actually least - OJ Simpson. What other movie could claim these things? OJ puts in a mush-mouthed and flat performance, and was seemingly bored. Maybe he had other things on his mind? He does mention how he'd love to "beat the information out of her", referring to Alexa. I'm sure it's just a coincidence.
Away from The Juice, this movie actually has some surprise punchfighting. Mahler is so evil, he stages deathfights at his mansion for his, and his guests' amusement. One of the fighters' trunks say the word "kickboxing" on them. Guess who wins the match? The movie has the fun clichés we all love and enjoy, and a climax at an airport you could never do today. That's why people keep coming back to movies like this. They represent a different time, and it wasn't even all that long ago. The world is much more politically correct now, which is a shame. So keep watching 80's and 90's action movies.
If you're a fan of the PM style, you will like CIA Code Name: Alexa.
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* out of 4-(Bad)
This low budget actioner was one of the first films made by PM Entertainment, one of the major players in the DTV action genre during the 1990s. The film became a cult hit on cable television due to the fact that one of its stars, O. J. Simpson, was put on trial for the murder of his wife & her lover. This success turned PM into a successful B-film studio, enabling them to make dozens of similar films during the decade.
The trial has given the film a reputation it does not deserve. In fact, C. I. A. – Codename: Alexa is something of a poster boy for those who decry action films as being nothing but violent garbage. The film's script is poorly written; the action scenes consist of people standing out in the open firing at each other; the dialogue is cheesy & stupid & the plot, despite given a title like "C. I. A.", fails to feature the agency prominently.
That said, the film does prove to be something of a guilty pleasure. The action scenes, despite having the characters standing out in the open while shooting their weapons, do have an undeniable energy (the cinematographer for the film, PM honcho Richard Pepin, would later go on to direct a number of sci-fi / action hybrids).
The stars are a mixed bunch. Kathleen Kinmont & Lorenzo Lamas make a good pairing (they would later marry), Pamela Dixon gives the impression that she hates the film, judging by the contempt she gives it, while O. J. Simpson gives the usual idiotic surliness that he gave his other film roles.
Director Joseph Merhi certainly knows how to shoot a fight scene and the plentiful action is what keeps you watching here. The B-movie cast is also a fun one, although you can't get much more wooden than Lorenzo Lamas's lead. As the villain-turned-heroine, Kathleen Kinmont is much better, and more fun, while the viewer's treated to O.J. Simpson playing the usual dedicated cop type. Cult actor Alex Cord is the bad guy, and watch out for a young Michael Bailey Smith (THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake) playing an absolutely hulking henchman whom Lamas goes up against in one stand-out violent showdown.
Lamas is known to be a good martial artist, yet in his he barely use it, he fight the "henchmen" at the end, but its very lame and unimpressive despise the henchmen muscular look. He then kick the butt of a couple dudes but those are just mindless goons so it has not much weight in the balance. His acting tough is decent as i mentioned above.
OJ Simpson as the black cop is pretty caricature but OK, i didn't had any problem with him. And i will just talk of his role in the movie.
The bad guy is OK, but not spectacular, he can't fight at all so you forget a last boss type of fight.
No really CIA : Codename Alexa just end up as being one very ordinary gun shooting with some fist fight action movie of the 90s, with nothing original or especially good to offer. Really a forgettable movie. I have not seen so far part 2, i will look at it by curiosity but it surprise me this got a sequel really.
The script has some gaping holes. Best/Worst Moment: In one jarring scene, OJ's partner expresses his aversion to the morgue. OJ responds that some of the bodies are pretty hot, or words to that effect. This vague necrophilia reference is offensive enough; but in light of the murders committed shortly after this movie was released, it is truly appalling, and therefore entertaining in an unintentional, horrible way. I was so startled that I laughed until champagne came out of my nose. Now THAT'S a Guilty Pleasure. BC