Tuesday, 1 February 2011
DEADLY HEROES (1993)
Directed by: Menahem Golan
Written by: Damien Lee & Gregory Lee
Starring: Michael Pare, Jan Michael Vincent, Claudette Mink & Billy Drago
You have to wonder if the people involved in making a film, especially those involved in the making of Deadly Heroes, ever stop and go, "Wait, is this really a good idea? I mean, it makes no sense and is, well, completely ridiculous." Now, that might be a redundant point to make when making a cheesy action film, especially one from the early 90s and directed by Menahem Golan, as "no sense" and "ridiculous" are two key ingredients for the enjoyment of a cheesy action film. Certainly two ingredients I believe are vital for enjoying countless "silly" action films from the 80s and 90s. But damn if Deadly Heroes aint just a little too much silliness. I mean, this film despite the most basic of premises and easy to follow plots, rarely makes any logical sense, features all kinds absurdity and exploitation nonsense (mainly thanks to the wonderfully deranged Billy Drago) and a tone all over the place as it shifts from deadly serious to wisecracking to Pare (and various other characters) berating his wife for being rubbish at rescuing him. Oh, and Jan Michael Vincent is in the flick as well. Though I'm not sure he was actually aware of this when he was making it!
Deadly Heroes is basically just a trashier (if you can imagine it) remake of Menahem Golan's earlier hit The Delta Force. A bunch of crazy terrorists take a bus load of civilians hostage with toy guns that fire real bullets. No, seriously. As to why they do and how these guns actually work, I've no idea and will probably cause brain meltdown if one thinks about it too much but needless to say the opening 15 minute action scene is played out with bright orange and yellow toy guns! Holding the civilians hostage they want their leader Jose Maria Carlos (Drago) freed. Which he promptly is and they make off with Pare's wife (for some inexplicable and convoluted reason). So, Pare then has to rescue his wife but not before getting caught himself, then escaping, then going back to rescue her again, this time with Jan Michael Vincent who by this point in the film actually seems to have sobered up!
Action movie 101 that despite all its insane cheesiness, washed up actors and a director who actually thinks he is making a serious film, is actually a lot of trashy fun. Drago (who's played this role in countless similar films) is just outright weird and loopy: even by his standards. Having kidnapped Pare's wife he seems to have fallen in love with her and spends most of the time going on about how exquisite her breasts are. Which they are but seeing Drago go on and on about in weird scene after weird scene is just, well, incredibly weird. Poor Jan Michael Vincent, obviously well into his heavy drinking stage, seems lost, hides behind his sunglasses most of the running time and seems to be reading his lines off various cue cards. Then, bizarrely, he seems to be quite with it come the final raid on Drago's base, all tooled up as a Navy Seal. Though he still can't quite perform a roundhouse kick! Pare is his usual affable self, seems to be the only one not drunk or on something, though does seem to be very critical and sexist to his poor kidnapped wife. Poor Claudette Mink, who plays Pare's wife, gets the rough deal here and respect to her for enduring and surviving all she's put through. Along with Pare's constant criticisms, she endures all kinds of weirdness (most of it directed at her breasts) from Drago, much I bet wasn't scripted.
Despite the run of the mill plot and constant ridiculousness, there is still plenty of action including some pretty impressive stunts featured in the opening bus chase. The final infiltration of Drago's hideout is also pretty cool (complete with mini-subs) and I even found myself quite enjoying the film by this point. There's so much more silliness and makes-no-sense scenes in Deadly Heroes but this review is long enough already. Not really a good film but as entertaining as any film featuring Michael Pare, a drunk Jan Michael Vincent, a very weird Billy Drago, and a big action scene featuring toy guns is every likely to be.