5 March 2011 | filmnut1
Is a German action movie featuring Dennis Hopper worth watching?
An elitely trained former Legionnaire embarks on a vengeful killing spree. Utilising the techniques which prepared him to avoid capture and survive behind enemy lines, Straight Shooter (Heino Ferch) kills a number of high ranking officials he blames for the death of his family. The government bring in his former commanding officer, the only man with intimate knowledge of the killer's methods and psychology.
Made in Germany, with a view to international release, this First Blood (1982) variant casts American actor Dennis Hopper in the lead role of former commander Frank Hector, while the German cast members have their voices dubbed for the English-language version.
Straight Shooter is interesting because it's characters are not clear cut heroes and villains. When we are first introduced to Hector he is telling his girlfriend she has to get an abortion, when she says she does not want to he violently slaps her.
This opening scene bears little relevance to the plot but does put the audience in an intriguingly awkward position as the love story between Hector and the District Attorney he is working with unfolds. In contrast, the film's villain is portrayed sympathetically as a loving husband and father driven over the edge.
Both characters occupy a grey area which makes this stand out against other black and white, good versus evil thrillers.
The film has an unusual look, which emphasises a unique vision. Bohn incorporates grainy and bleached flashback sequences and one excellent scene uses computer morphing technology to take us from an empty building exterior to the middle of a war zone and back again.
There is also a good car chase / action sequence in the final half hour in which Straight Shooter is chased by a police squad car (a Porsche) and a BMW. He lures the cars into his lair and blows them up with a grenade booby trap and a rocket launcher.
Use of space in Straight Shooter is particularly striking. Notable for its lack of claustrophobic locations and camera-work, director Bohn uses a series of long-shots and medium long-shots throughout the film, which give even the modestly sized house and apartment interiors a sense of openness. Shot in 2.35:1 widescreen, in addition to the bold photography of urban exteriors and cityscapes, the majority of the film takes place in architecturally vast buildings, which use wide spaces and glass partitions to emphasise the vulnerability of the characters.
This is not an extraordinary film but it is a very interesting one. Well worth seeking out if you're a Hopper fan or interested in European films influenced by Hollywood.