21 October 2006 | vandino1
Plodding, plotting and plotzing
This is a textbook, routine international "thriller" with a tossed salad cast and plot. Rivero is the blow-dried, muscular-fireplug leading the cast, playing an off-the-streets mercenary looking up an old friend... only to discover his ex-mercenary friend is dead. But that's just the start for Rivero. Von Sydow (as a Spanish Super Police Chief of sorts) has him arrested and then pressured into infiltrating the heroin smuggling ring that killed Rivero's buddy. Maud Adams plays a fellow operative trying to get in on the crime busting action. Then there's Chuck Connors popping up for a few scenes as some kind of schemer, only to be mercifully knifed and let out of the rest of the movie ("Thanks for the paycheck and goodnight, folks!") Even later, about an hour in, up pops George Peppard as a ruthless villain leading the smuggling ring, with an ever present grin and a cigarette holder that he chews on throughout. But lo and behold, it's more than heroin, it's become a chase after the smuggling of nuclear weapons grade material. And Peppard turns out to be yet another ex-mercenary that Rivero knows.
All this plotting plays out between required high-pitched action scenes. We get the spin-out car chase stuff courtesy of Remy Julienne, some martial arts action, a long and familiar ski chase scene, a mano y mano handgun chase-and-shoot, and more than enough pointless parachute diving than you can stand. It all finishes as expected, although the film-makers clumsily have Peppard disappear at the climax, mentioned only in passing in the wrap up (perhaps that final paycheck didn't arrive and Peppard told the producers "Adios!") Rivero and Adams are both quite dull and wooden. The storyline is murky as is the camera-work. The action scenes are mostly second-unit stuff that doesn't feature the cast, so they really could have come from, or be later plugged into, other movies. Blah.