We're near the end of Law Enforcement Week, so it's about time I covered a film by Sam Firstenberg. This is the man who directed American Ninja 1-2, so expectations are- naturally- high. Fun fact: Firstenberg directed a real Delta Force movie and the first of the Operation Delta Force series, a knock-off. As I said in my teaser, it also stars David Bradley, the cream of the crop of action stars...if the stock had gone bad. He's not terrible, but, oh is he dull. He makes Michael Dudikoff look like a well-rounded actor that did not disappear off the face of the Earth in 2002. Seriously, come back, Michael! About this movie though...it also features John Rhys-Davies, so that's a plus. Before I get off-topic again, let's dive right into...
The movie begins in the middle of a hostage situation, which is apparently being handled by two DEA Agents and nobody else. The guy says crazy things about being a newspaper tycoon's son, which is somewhat undermined by his holding of a gun to woman's head! One of them gets in trouble for using cop-killer bullets- since the man had on a bullet-proof vest- and is kicked off the force in a 'holy shit, could you cram more exposition into these headlines?!?' scene. After a time-jump, we learn that the 'sane' brother is getting ready to adopt a kid. I'm sorry, but could you not toss random plot points at me, please?!? Before he can do that, however, he has to go on a covert mission on a deserted island. Um, priorities, anyone? He leaves the kid with his 'psycho cop uncle' and goes off, telling the kid that he went to Chicago. The commandos end up on the island, but get spied on by a toy airplane controlled by an evil scientist (Davies). I should mention that this movie was made in 1993 and long before U.A.V.s became used often. As we learn near the end of this scene, the plane is also equipped with a bomb! How is all of that on a model plane that is being controlled from a mile away?
The whole thing is a trap and most of the men are killed. Near the end of it, Davies sends out one of his cyborg men, who kills the cop's friend and cuts his arm off with his finger claws. Now a captive, the cop is turned into a cyborg killing machine. Wait! That means he is half-man and half-machine...yeah, I'm doing this joke again. He somehow sent a package back to his brother, however, that alerts him to come to the island. He does the only logical thing: he too ditches the kid and goes off for adventure. See you in the pre-credits scene, kiddo! On the island, he runs into a lady reporter and acts like a douche-bag to her solely because she works for the same paper that got him fired... by making him break the rules? He keeps running into her, however, and ends up inadvertently taking her for a ride as he escapes from the corrupt police. Surprisingly, going into the country under his own name and not disguising himself got the attention of the man who had just captured his brother! The pair turn into a couple in shockingly-quick fashion, which becomes clear later when she spends the last 20 minutes of the film as a captive. Let's get that token breast shot out of the way too, Sam. There you go. Things become clear to our hero when some thugs working for Davies come to get him. To fit in with the island theme, this occurs at a bar filled with Rastafarian men. Afterward, he follows a lead to the morgue, only to be attacked by the cyborg. After getting tossed around for five minutes, Bradley zaps the creation with an open cord that the cyborg created- good job! Unfortunately, during all of this, the woman is captured.
Our hero makes his plans to get in, while Davies has a problem. You see, the robot he sent to kill Bradley was also the one he was going to sell to the guys trying to create a coup in the country. Well, when in doubt, sell the brother instead. Bradley breaks in and begins to toss around explosives. Apparently, he has an endless bag of them, as he can be seen tossing out at least a dozen of them! We also learn that the boss from earlier who set up the mission was bad the whole time- duh- and he is killed by the titular character. Our hero breaks in and snaps his brother out of the programmed-trance. If you thought that this sounded familiar to the scene in Universal Soldier II, you would be right. The good cyborg battle the re-tooled one from before- he's on the cover- and our hero saves the girl. Unfortunately, the brother dies because...um...a spark hit him, I guess. We're not done though- the other one is back. Bradley battles it by...riding past it six times on a motorcycle, kicking it and knocking its head off. After this happy ending, we see that Bradley and the reporter adopted the boy. That's...somewhat not how adoption really works. The End.
This movie is, well, quite bad. The acting is terrible (although Davies is fun), the plot is ridiculous and the action is underwhelming. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Bradley will never be my American Ninja! To be honest, you can have a lot of fun with this movie. It's pure, unintentional camp, it has stupid performances (i.e. the awkwardly-forced kiss by Bradley to the woman) and stuff that is just there to cloy at you (i.e. the kid). I will never accuse it of being boring, especially considering that it begins right in the middle of an action scene and gives no prior exposition. Oddly enough, I've actually watched the other films in the series about three years ago, long before I knew it actually was one. I guess I'll have to complete this series too! It's not like I don't have enough of those on my plate!
Next up, a Filipino cop defies all expectations and saves the day. He does it all while being...2'9" This should be interesting, don't you think? Stay tuned...