One Man Force (1989)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama


One Man Force (1989) Poster

In this action packed film, an L.A. cop speeds off to get revenge upon the dirty drug-dealing dogs who killed his partner


5/10
197

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16 May 2014 | Massey_456
10
| OMG, OMF is good.
Cinematically, One Man Force is ground breaking. In the glut of Renegade Cop action movies churned out by the Hollywood Movie Machine, OMF was a breath of fresh air, satirising the clichés and the stereotypes at extreme levels to create a stand-out masterpiece that really is on another level - in every sense of the term.

The victim of the movie is a female singer, who perfectly sends up the 'damsel in distress' caricature which frequents so many 1980's blockbusters. By playing her helplessness to the extreme, the director really mocks the patriarchal overtones so many Action movies seem to possess . In one scene, the female character is left in a prison cell with Jake Swan. Jake is trust up like a chicken, while she is free to roam around for corn, and yet the dynamic of the situation is clear - he is still the power-holder and the one who is expected to lead the escape, while she shrivels in the corner wailing like a ruddy banshee. Much like Sacha Baron Cohen parodied xenophobia with Borat, this scene brilliantly parodies the 'poor useless girl' movie stereotype, in a comical (albeit not-very-subtle) manner. Later, the singer dies. Her death brings another level of meaning to her character - it is clear to the audience that she was the personification of Life itself: Short, Fragile and Beautiful. And if that isn't deep, I don't know what is.

The villains of this movie brilliantly parody typical Hollywood 'Baddies' of this era - Foreign, Greasy and One Dimensional. Despite Mexican being their mother tongue, the criminals speak English to each other even when there are no Americans in the scene - what more of a perfect way to encapsulate on screen the spreading of White Western Power and the homogenisation of American Culture.

I said this film was ground breaking, and never more so than in the fact it dared to set a scene in a Gay Bar, despite it being totally irrelevant to the plot. Let's remember this was the late eighties, and as far as everyone knew, Gay people were responsible for AIDS, Locust plagues and Wham. Jake Swan gets into a fight and swings a Gayman round in circles by a dog lead attached to the Gay's neck. This act of unnecessary aggression is a powerful metaphor for America's attitude to the LGBT community in the 1980's. This scene holds an unwanted mirror up to Americas intolerance, it shows the audience that by idolising the 'All American Hero', they are allowing for homophobia to manifest and grow by supporting the idea of 'Machismo'.

The main character, Jake Swan, deserves a paragraph to himself. His bulking frame is the first clue that this is a man who satirises Movie Macho Men to the hilt. By purposefully making the character as bland, violent and one dimensional as the criminals he is fighting, the Director cleverly highlights everything that is wrong with Hollywood's love of vigilantism. Throughout the film, the audience are forced to question who really is the villain of the show as Jake Swan, the supposed 'Hero' of this masterpiece, becomes more and more unlikeable. His thirst for violence and total disregard for the rules actually cost more lives and cause more damage than the real villains do. Jake's relationship with his stepson is a can of worms that I could open and talk for hours about, but I wont due to the word limit I am fast approaching. All I will say is that their Step father/son relationship Is a fantastic representation of the modern American family - broken and struggling.

One Man truly is a Force - a Force of nature, that is. Forget Schitezen Cain or Schindler's list ( That didn't work) - if you want truly timeless cinema, watch OMF.

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