Friday, 14 March 2008
The Human Shield
THE HUMAN SHIELD (1991)
Directed by: Ted Post
Story: Mike Werb & Mann Rubin
Screenplay: Mann Rubin
Starring: Michael Dudikoff, Tommy Hinckley & Steve Inwood
American Ninja and Avenging Force star, Michael Dudikoff plays former US Marine Doug Matthews in the entertaining if not overly exciting, The Human Shield. On the eve of the Gulf War, Matthew’s brother is kidnapped by a ruthless Iraqi General, Ali Dallal. It seems the two have a past dispute and Dallal is using Matthew’s brother as bait to lure him back to Iraqi so he can extract revenge. Matthew’s obliges and sets off to free his brother in typical gun blazing fashion. Along the way, he witnesses the country’s turmoil on its people and sees the chance to free a woman he loves and left behind many years ago.
Cannon Pictures produced dozens of these types of action films, many starring Dudikoff, and while The Human Shield is not the best, it’s far from the worst. It ambles along well, perhaps a little too slowly in some parts and there’s a good dose of AK-47, shoot-em up action. The film never really takes off, stuck in a kind of Sunday afternoon slouch, ambling from one inevitable situation to another. It has good intentions, addressing the Gulf War as a horrific period but any lofty ambitions are left behind for the typical Cannon style shoot outs, motorcycle chases and chemical plants exploding. The action is pretty solid but the scenes in between never really ignite the drama.
Dudikoff is good, evening getting to act a bit in amongst all the shooting and the supporting cast are above par, showing that not all Iraqi people are war mongering fundamentalists. Steve Inwood is best of all as the sneering, thoroughly evil Dallal. It always seems the best thing about low budget action films is the villain, as they appear to be having so much fun being bad. So, a serviceable little flick with some cool shoot-outs but nothing to get overly excited about. However, Dudikoff does in fact use one of the bad guys as a ‘human shield’ in one of the action scenes, bullets bouncing off him and missing Dudikoff in true action movie fashion.