All the right things were in place, I've been here again and will be again. Directed by one of my new favorites, William Girdler, starring Leslie Nielsen and Gary Lockwood, action drama, mid seventies....how could this go wrong? I'm not starting some rant about how wrong it went. I'm just setting the stage here.
Leslie Nielsen is awesome. I loved the guy. He's passed away now, and it's really too bad. The dude was great as a dramatic actor, and of course I loved when later he took comedic roles in films like Airplane and the Naked Gun series. He was a interesting dude, looked the part, and could've played basically any role. One problem with this movie, is that when I say basically any role, well, this role wasn't exactly that great for him. He was 50 years old in this movie, had never been in a lot of action films, and this movie called for him to be in fighting scenes. WTF?!
Nielsen plays John Trevor, and with the pronunciation problems combined with bad recording equipment and shit quality, it does sound like they say Drebin, which made me smile in memory of the Naked Gun series. John Trevor is the lead of some special forces that are enhanced by drugs. He goes to the Philippines where this movie was filmed, and he conflicts with Gary Lockwood while he comes down off his performance enhancing drugs. Meanwhile, evil Filipino crime boss Alok tries to capture Trevor.
The movie turned out to actually be more of a drama. I was not super happy about the amount of dialogue and drama in it, cause I wanted action and I wanted fun from Nielsen. But that's not to be had here. Drama is what you get. And that's only cause there is no category for films that are dialogue heavy, about relationships, don't really have a lot going on, and are marked only by the interactions between it's characters. So "drama" could be replaced by "fluff" in reality.
Not to rag on this movie too much, but this is a type of film that they don't make any more for a reason. It's too slow to be enjoyed by the young-teen demographic, it's too silly and wonky to be enjoyed by the 20+ age range audience...who the hell was the target audience here? Even if it'd had a real action star like Charles Bronson this movie would've been labeled a flop, because most of the time the Trevor character is just walking around, wearing a short sleeve business jacket, being dull. Big spoiler in next paragraph.
At the end of the movie, the guy we've been following the entire movie, the flawed character we like, and the biggest actor in the movie, confronts the Filipino crime syndicate. He beats them all up in a pretty awful fight sequence. He then confronts Gary Lockwood. Bad choreography ensues, and then...Gary Lockwood fucking kills him?! The main character dies?!!!! I realized right then and there why we don't see that happen in more movies. It makes it feel like, "uh, okay, so why make a movie about this then?!" It actually made me mad. Just cause there is zero closure on anything by killing Leslie Nielsen. He wasn't a bad guy, I thought Gary Lockwood was the bad guy. I'm not saying good has to win, I'm just saying if the bad guys win, it has to matter.
I'm not even sure what Lockwood winning the fight meant. Sure, Nielsen as Trevor was suffering from the drug withdrawal (a very minor plot point that didn't get mentioned enough) but he didn't exactly deserve to die. I don't really know what the idea behind that ending was.
Well, maybe I just wanted Leslie Nielsen to win because he's Leslie Nielsen. Also, I wasn't exactly paying attention most the time. This movie was really fucking boring.