Monday, 21 June 2010
VIPER (aka BAD BLOOD) (1994)
Directed by: Tibor Takacs
Written by: Neil Ruttenburg
Starring: Lorenzo Lamas, Kimberley Kates, John P. Ryan
The other action star with a ponytail, Lorenzo Lamas goes all revenge crazy to help out his screw up brother who is in debt to some nasty dudes who come a collecting in this barmy but surprisingly entertaining and well done low budget actioner. What seems to be a mix of vanity project for Lamas, a Playboy video and a hard hitting action film, Viper doesn't hold back in the violence and skin departments. The flick is nothing new in narrative terms, just a flimsy story to string together some pretty well staged action scenes.
While Viper is certainly geared towards making Lamas look awesome and gives him plenty of opportunity to pose and bed both the beautiful women (nice!), Lamas, despite his ridiculous ponytail and need to be shirtless at regular intervals, is actually one of the better actors in the low budget action arena. The dude has a personality and seems to know how ridiculous the shenanigans his character gets himself into (almost, but not quite, winking at the camera). He has a likable screen presence and hey, if I was an action star I would also make it a contractual obligation for me to bed the two good looking female stars at some point, no matter how contrived it is.
Speaking of which the film has plenty of skin, all shot in soft Playboy style focus. In addition, the action scenes are above average for this type of low budget nonsense. Sure they push the boundaries of believability what with Lamas jumping over an oncoming car all the while shooting at it (which, if truth be told, is awesome!) and a never-ending (and I mean never-ending) supply of suit wearing goons for our hero to gun down come the finale, but the action is tight, the fights well staged and plentiful and the climactic shootout/fight full of gunplay, explosions and stuntmen flying into things. The film also has a rather nasty streak to it, what with kids being shot in the opening five minutes, dudes being tortured with hammers and vices and all kinds of risque bedroom antics from the (rather ridiculous) bad guy. Viper has it all: boobs, blood, and big explosions.
No classic but an entertaining slice of low budget action absurdness, that proves to be one of Lamas' better straight-to-video vehicles and an enjoyable action hoot.