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The Ambassador of Cuba was killed in New York. To prevent another attack of the terrorists at the US-Cuba-summit in Prague the CIA sends one of their best federal agents, Michael Dane (Dolph Lundgren). The suspected killer Nikita is a lesbian club owner, Simone Rosset. But as usual everything is much more complicated than it seemed at first; and therefore Dane has to work much more with his brain than with his muscles to survive.Written by
I quite like watching Dolph Lundgren movies that are high on atmosphere. One of my favourite movies is Silent Trigger, which is just gorgeously shot. So I read reviews of this one as being also beautiful, and there's sniping in the movie too, so I went with it.
I'm not going to make a huge fuss and tell you that the movie is Barry Lyndon, but it really is purty. I'll get to that after a brief round up of the plot.
So the Dolphage here is US Marshal Michael Dane, who has been sent abroad to kidnap Simone Rosset (Maruschka Detmers), a sniper who is accused of assassinating a Cuban official in New York, and bring her to trial. I don't quite know how controversial such an extra-jurisdictional kidnapping is, there are documented cases of the US doing it, but I wouldn't have thought the US Marshal service would have been employed. It's morally wrong, as Rosset says in the movie, if the Czechs abducted a US citizen from Pittsburgh for trial in the Czech Republic, that would be a huge international incident.
Thing is she may not even have done it, and Dane (like Waxman in Silent Trigger) has a troubled conscience. Rosset has been in retirement for at least a decade and is now running a restaurant in Prague with her lover Marta (Assumpta Serna), their world is not just a little intoxicating to Dane. You get a sense, when he sees Simone's expressive dancing in a lesbian night club, that it's an image that will be engraved into his mind for the rest of his days. Assumpta Serna's presence is welcome, she's an unbelievable sauce who actually appears to have more sexual power 10 years later in the Quay Brothers' superb movie PianoTuner of Earthquakes at the age of nearly 50.
Purty places include the fabulous Czech restaurant, which I suspect is probably a little more touristy than the movie suggests (you can see Alphonse Mucha designs on the backs of the menus - famous artist of Prague). There's also a lovely wine cellar, and Marta's flat is quite beautiful. Something I harp on about a lot is the transformative quality of interior design in movies, it really does help if you have good diegetic lighting and plush dream apartments in movies. Marta has candles a plenty, cushions on the floor to lounge on, and lovely greenery everywhere, cheese plants, mimosa, and the like. Marta and Simone, one gets the impression, are experts at living.
Although others have said that the special effects are not all that, I think there's a couple of pretty cool ones, take the leap to the metro car for example. It's true that the movie is a cheapie compared with modern stuff, but I don't think a few cases of movie explosives were going to make this one better.
The plot is fairly much all over the place, and the Cuban officials in the movie a big annoyance, the fact that Dolph is basically the adopted son of one of the spooks comes off as pretty silly, as does the major plot twist. Despite what is also a fairly ludicrous ending, there are very cool parts to the script, such as the observation by Alex (the adoptive father), that the only time self-doubt is useful is when you're playing Hamlet on stage. There's also a kind of strange beauty to the fights between Dolph and Simone, in that he's more than twice her size, and yet she has enough nouse to make them last out.
The lasting value is in the film's aesthetics, and the haunting of Dane, as well as the occasional fairly cool special effect. It joins my list of flawed but very purty and lovable movies that were made during my childhood, alongside the likes of Albert Pyun's Cyborg, and Wes Craven's Shocker.
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