18 January 2004 | Wizard-8
A black mark on John Woo's career
There's something about Dolph Lundgren that makes him a likable actor. It may be because of his (seemingly) clean personal life, or that he has never tried to portray himself greater than he is (unlike actors like Steven Seagal.) Here, Lundgren gives one of his better performances. He seems very comfortable and assured here, giving off more emotion than he has in other movies. And it's always fun to see Saul Rubinek and Fred Williamson in a movie, and their presence boosts things.
Other than the actors, all I can say in favor of this movie are that the production values aren't bad for a made-for-TV movie. This movie is a mess! Starting with the action scenes. Now, I know Woo was confined by TV censorship rules, but he clearly could still do a lot. Yet every action scene is horribly done - badly edited, improper use of slow-motion, and with the camera often in the wrong place and/or angle. You see the great potential in these scenes, yet Woo botches it each time. Seeing them, it's hard to believe this is the same guy who did the action scenes in HARD BOILED or THE KILLER.
There are plenty of plot holes as well. For example, how does Lundgren get in the fashion show near the end when it's supposedly been tightened up with security? Where is the villain getting all these people to help him? Why does the villain retreat back to his hideout after the secrecy of it was blown? And on and on. But the worst thing about the movie is that it's simply boring. It's slow-moving, and filled with a lot of unnecessary things that easily could have been edited out. Don't "bet" on this one should you see it in the video store - it's a "bust"!