Thursday, 9 June 2016

Ultimate Weapon

What is it about American wrestlers becoming movie stars?
Sure, I know that wrestling is all about acting and making a spectacle, but it's so bombastic and over the top. Do they really think that it can work?
Well, back in the 80s, one wrestler set out to prove that they could.
And he became, the Ultimate Weapon!
I'll admit, without the headband it's kinda hard to tell that it's him.
This is an 80s action movie, starring a wrestler as a mercenary who's just out for justice.
Oh Gods, this is going to hurt, isn't it?
The movie starts with a flashback (You all know how much I love flashbacks) of our main character Ben Cutter as he saves a small blonde girl.
"Don't worry kid, this movie's only rated as a 15, you'll be fine."
He's running from some Vietnamese who manage to clip him in the leg, knocking him to the ground. As he lays there the girl slides down a hill, in the narmiest fashion possible.
"Tag me in! Tag me in!"
Just at the Vietnamese point a gun between his eyebrows Cutter wakes up in a barn. He's older and living with his girlfriend, whom he promptly has an argument with.
Because in Hollywood, even pre-established, loving relationships are based on arguments.
Her name's Lorey and she's angry at him going to his ridiculously dangerous mercenary job.
Speaking of which, he goes to his ridiculously dangerous mercenary job and meets his employer, a man known as Top.
This guy.
They have an odd habit of pointing their loaded pistols at each other every time they meet, which isn't the kind of thing people do in real life. Well, not people who want to continue breathing, anyways.
They go inside and chat about the job, where Top introduces their employer, a man by the name of Rourke. Rourke works for the UN and they want to stop some arms dealers, but the UN's not allowed to intervene for some political reason, so they need some mercs who can "Not be there". The UN forces in the area won't even be armed.
Although I'm more interested in the one guy who decided to wear his blue camo trousers today.
Rourke and Cutter don't get along very well. After Rourke leaves Cutter asks who he'll be partnering with. And thus we're introduced to the movies' main weakness, Cobra.
This guy just screams 'Special ops merc', doesn't he?
This is Cobra. He's the son of the original Cobra, who was Cutter's partner for 20-odd years. As you can probably imagine, Cutter doesn't like the idea of putting his dead partners' son in harms' way.
"Hulk not angry, Hulk just disappointed."
Cobra practically begs Cutter to give him a chance and Cutter relents.
One of my problems with Cobra is that he's whiny. Otherwise, he plays the annoying sidekick who doesn't need to be there.
But mostly he just doesn't look the part of a mercenary. He's supposed to be young and in his prime, but he looks kinda chubby and not particularly scary. If you're going to be starring in a movie alongside Hulk Hogan, you'd think you'd put in some effort to get into shape.
Anyways, they go to the mission and pull it off without a hitch, successfully getting the drop on the bad guys and not getting ht once in return.
Hulk Hogan, master of stealth.
The action scene itself is kinda 'Meh' in my opinion. There're some cool stealth assassinations at the beginning, but once stuff goes down Cutter finds himself out in the open facing the entire enemy army who start firing at him.
And they all miss.
"Quick! Aim for the ground around his feet!"
"If I squint my eyes enough, maybe I'll see better?"
"What do you mean, 'Full Auto'? Single shot's where it's at."
Yeah, that's at least five men firing at him and they don't even so much as graze his shoulder.
Cutter and Cobra murderise everybody there, but Cutter gets ambushed from behind.
If I knew how to make Gifs, I'd show you just how long this guy stood there without pulling the trigger.
Cobra 'saves' Cutter from the guy, who was apparently the last one.
They secure the area and radio in the helicopter, which drops off Rourke and the UN soldiers.
Those unarmed UN soldiers look shockingly well armed.
Cutter and Corba prepare to board the helicopter and leave, but something doesn't sit right with Cutter. Part of it is because he doesn't like Rourke, part of it is the whole 'Not unarmed like Rourke said' thing, but another part comes from how happy the UN soldiers are to find the weapons. And dig through them, laughing about all of the cool stuff.
Although, watching it again, I've spotted a fourth inconsistency.
Rourke is supposed to be British, but he pronounces LZ the American way.
"Don't Brits pronounce it El Zed?
It's that exact same flub that stopped me from fully enjoying Deadpool, btw.
So Cutter decides not to just walk away, instead grabbing a grenade launcher and blowing up all of the guns.
Well, this is the manliest thing I'll see today.
When they get back Top chews them out, but gives them their money anyway and wishes Cutter a happy retirement.
Meanwhile, Rourke phones an incredibly rich man and tells him the bad news.
Back then, that flip phone probably cost as much as the piano.
The man on the piano is McBride and the man on the phone is his son, presumably also named McBride.
They are very bad people.
Cutter returns home and tells his girlfriend that not only has he quit the mercenary life but that he's also going to try to reconnect with his daughter.
Oh, and that he wants to marry her, just as an aside.
And who can say no to that face?
In his attempt to reconnect with his daughter, Cutter pays a visit to his deceased first wifes' mother. Who, as you can imagine, is very pleased to see him.
Especially since he hasn't attempted to see his daughter in 20 years.
Hulk Hogan's most dangerous foe, the angry mother-in-law.
She chews him out for being a terrible dad and he agrees. This convinces her to tell him where Mary-Kate is.
Although she doesn't warn him about who her room-mates are.
I'm guessing that actor didn't put this movie on his resume.
Daisy up there tries to get Cutter to leave, even going so far as to attack him with a baseball bat. So Cutter knocks him out. That's when Mary-Kate's other room-mate enters.
I like this chick. I hope she doesn't meet a gruesome end later on.
Cutter bribes the female room-mate to tell him where Mary-Kate is and he leaves.
And where does he find Mary-Kate?
In a strip bar.
Cash payments only, Rather hypocritically, they don't accept plastic.
There's a rather good fakeout where Cutter thinks the bartender might be his daughter but the announcer introduces the next dancer, MK.
Eh, generic dance moves, body's nothing special, face is ok. 7/10
MK is of course his daughter and he just kind of stares at her in shock as she does her set. Luckily her set doesn't seem to involve exposing anything, since she leaves shortly after stripping to her undies.
That would have just been awkward otherwise.
She chats to her co-worker Jill about becoming an escort. Jill says it's a great way to make lots of money from lonely rich people, but Mary-Kate's not sure.
Their boss also tries to convince her and that's when Cutter knocks on the door.
"Telegram for Mongo."
Her boss prepares to throw Cutter out but Mary-Kate stops him. They chat for a bit and she essentially tells him not to come back.
As he leaves, however, her boss tries to push him around a bit and Cutter dislocates all of his fingers.
This screenshot really benefits from context.
The bad guys, however, have found Top and threatened him into giving them the details about the mercs who turned on them.
Top changes his mind and pulls a gun from his cigar case, but Rourke was prepared for 
To be fair, he did call shotgun.
Back with Cutter again and he's chatting to Lorey about Mary-Kate when Cobra shows up. Cutter tries to give him the brush off but Lorey has to head into town to help with her friend's computer, leaving Cobra's car as the only working vehicle.
Cobra is as American as you can get.
Just as Cobra and Cutter leave to go talk to Mary-Kate, she herself gets a visit from McBride the younger. He's tracked her down and, as luck would have it, she's just decided to take up the escort business.
Which allows McBride the younger to deliver her (And her friend Jill) straight to his father.
And this is the last we see of Jill. I don't fancy her chances.
McBride the elder shows up and is very polite and charming to Mary-Kate. He shows off some of his expensive trinkets, including a Faberge egg and a pendant necklace.
Then he tries to rape her.
He doesn't do this out of any hatred towards her, but purely to get her father mad at him.
He even says as much.
So she knees him in the crotch.
As a man, I inwardly groan. As a feminist, I salute her.
She snatches his necklace and escapes by threatening to break his Faberge egg. After she's gone he notices his missing necklace, which angers him further.
Meanwhile, Cutter has discovered that Mary-Kate's left work, so he tries her apartment. He doesn't like what he finds.
Neither do I. I liked her.
What I don't like about it is that it's entirely unnecessary. We could have had just as much emotional impact if they'd been beaten up. Heck, they could have just been fine and simply mentioned that Mary-Kate never got home.
I'm not a fan of stuff like this.
Cutter and Cobra check the next most likely place, her grandmother's house.
They're in luck, since Mary-Kate's there hurriedly trying to get her grandmother into a car.
And that's when Cobra does something that makes me truly hate him.
He tells May-Kate what happened to her room-mates.
And he has this expression on his face as he tells her.
Seriously? You've just met this girl and the first thing you say is that her room-mates look like somebody took a blender to them? In the manner of a child telling her parents about what cool toys she got for her birthday?
I don't like this guy.
While Mary-Kate is reeling from this revelation (And Cobra is eyeing her up) McBride the younger comes tearing around the corner, firing wildly at them.
And he hits the frying pan. Four juicy targets and he hits the frying pan?
This is nothing compared to their reactions though. Cutter grabs Mary-Kate and throws her to the ground, covering her with his body.
The grandmother apparently faints (Or gets shot, it's not clear).
Cobra, however, draws his pistol and shoots the driver in the head.
After standing out in the open for over a minute.
Did the director just not tell him how to react?
With the driver dead the car crashes. Cobra checks to make sure that McBride the younger is dead before they all leave, just as the police arrive.
The police check the bodies, only for McBride the younger to get up and shoot them.
Pictured: How not to check if a corpse is really a corpse.
The heroes make it back to Cutter's house where Lorey patches up Mary-Kate (She got hit in the head by some debris). The grandmother isn't there though and nobody mentions where she went. She definitely didn't get shot though, since she was standing up when Lorey fainted from the head wound.
Did the heroes just dump the old woman out of the car somewhere? Your guess is as good as mine.
The moment they're alone Cobra decides to tell Cutter that he's got the hots for Mary-Kate.
And we thought this guy was douchebag of the year.
In the morning Mary-Kate comes down for breakfast, where Cobra's sitting down already.
And this is their one obligatory scene together in order to set up a relationship.
Hopefully Cutter will remind her how Cobra compared her room-mates to hamburgers.
Cutter has a short heart-to-heart with Mary-Kate, but it doesn't go to well. Especially when she reveals that McBride the elder only attacked her to get to him. She also shows them his necklace, which Lorey (The computer whizz, remember? She had like, one whole line about using a computer) identifies as a USB stick.
And here I thought Die Hard 4 was the first movie to use those.
Well played movie, well played.
Unfortunately, the stick is encrypted, but she's still able to make a copy for later.
This is probably the highest-end computer that existed back then.
Cutter decides to go find Top, since he was the only man alive who knew about Mary-Kate. Plus, his men might be able to hack the USB stick. He leaves the two women under the protection of Cobra, because Cutter doesn't know what usually happens to annoying sidekicks told to protect the hero's relatives.
And then he finds Top.
Who's apparently still alive.
After a shotgun to the chest from ten feet away.
And yet he dies immediately after telling Cutter the name of the villain.
So Top was lying in a pool of his own blood the entire night and nobody noticed? When we saw this place earlier it was teaming with mercenaries doing training.
Cutter goes to the McBride residence and sneaks his way inside.
Apparently this wall has enough handholds for Hulk Hogan to climb it.
They do not expect me to believe that this is Hulk Hogan doing this, right?
So Cutter busts into the room and beats up some men, but there are too many and they overpower him.
They search him and find the USB stick, which McBride the elder explains holds all the data needed to run his smuggling empire.
Which does explain why it's so important to him.
back at home Cobra has been setting up some surprises in case the bad guys show up. He takes time out from this task to hit on Mary-Kate. This can't work though, not with how he acted when they first met...
They're snogging already, aren't they?
Note to self: next time you meet a cute girl, tell her that her room-mates have been turned into a Jackson Pollock painting. According to Hollywood, chicks dig that.
Back with the villain however, Rourke has located Cutter's house. McBride the elder taunts Cutter by describing how he's going to treat the women (Hint, not very nicely) and he leaves with several of his men.
Which just leaves McBride the younger to look after the hero.
Overcompensating much?
Cutter of course breaks free and knocks McBride the younger unconscious.
But, just like Cobra, he assumes he's dead and leaves.
Why is everybody stupid?
At the Cutter residence one of Cobra's surprises goes off. He grabs a sniper rifle and tells the women to hide in the basement while he deals with the baddies.
In the most tactically sound manner possible of course.
Apparently bright yellow is the safest colour to wear when leaning out of a window towards people firing at you.
Despite having been handed a gun and told to wait in the basement by the professional mercenary, Lorey (Who has had zero combat training up to this point) decides to go upstairs, leaving the gun with the scared girl who's barely out of her teens.
What a surprising turn of events.
And what's going on with Mary-Kate while this is happening? She's hiding from the bad guy who climbed into the house via the basement window.
Cobra didn't even put the latch on window. Great job.
Back upstairs and Cobra had to jump off the roof and caught a bullet to the leg, which forced him into cover, away from his rifle.
And that's when Cutter arrives.
And he does it in style.
Cutter checks on Cobra before dashing into the woods to find Mary-Kate (Who fled through the pen basement window) and they meet inside the barn he's been building. Mary-Kate steps on a pressure plate which Cutter explains to be a bouncing Betty.
Why Cobra decided that the best place to put a bouncing Betty was in the middle of the freaking barn is beyond me, but apparently he did.
Cutter disables the device and resets it after Mary-Kate steps off of it, only to be ambushed by Rourke.
Guess who wins.
Unfortunately, McBride the elder has locked Lorey inside her pottery studio and turned the oven on, rapidly filling it with smoke.
Cutter gets the bright idea of using Rourke as a human shield and trading him for Lorey.
It goes about as well as you'd expect.
Cutter runs off into the woods, followed by McBride's men, who apparently forgot the whole plan about using Lorey to draw him out.
He, of course, kills them all.
Well, mostly by himself.
Cutter rushes back to the pottery shed and saves Lorey, but he hears screaming coming from the barn.
Yep, Mary-Kate decided to just wait inside while everything went down, rather than running to safety, which allowed McBride to grab her.
But he doesn't keep a very good grip on her and she maneuvers him onto the pressure plate.
This movie may not pass the Bechdel test, but I'm definitely putting it down as Feminism-friendly.
Cutter bargains with McBride, promising to save him if he drops his gun and lets Mary-Kate go. Which he does.
And then they leave.
Yep, they don't bother shooting him, they just leave him standing on top of a bomb.
Heck, when they all meet up and laugh outside, you can still hear him screaming Cutter's name in the background. It's hilarious.
And that's when McBride the younger shows up in the cop car he stole earlier. He drives it straight at Cutter, who calmly shoots out the tire, causing it to careen into the barn.
Which explodes.
And Cutter had almost finished building it.
I'm pretty on the fence about this movie. The plot was good, the pacing was excellent and anything involving Mary-Kate was gold. The world needs more damsels like her (Since it was her actions that defeated the villain in the end).
But the action was very '80s. The A-Team would be embarrassed by some of the fights. And I did not like Cobra at all.
Overall it was a decent movie. Not the best in the world, but one that's got several moments that are worth watching.
Especially for an 80s movie.
Which was made in 1998.
Yeah, for a movie that screams 80s as much as this one does, it was made right before the turn of the Century.

Next week I may not have a review since I'll be on holiday and I'm not sure if I'll have Wifi there.
If I do however, it'll be another Johnny Depp movie, which will be leaving me all at sea.

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