Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and now it’s time to do it again.
INTERCEPTOR FORCE (1999)
STARRING: Fake Jean-Claude Van Damme, Fake Bridget Fonda, and the Real Ernie Hudson
So you remember that part in Ghostbusters when Ernie Hudson says that he’ll believe in anything as long as there’s a steady paycheck in it? After catching his ten minutes of screen time inInterceptor Force (aka Interceptors, aka Alien Interceptors, aka The Last Line of Defense, aka The Piece of Crap Heavy Paid Me To Sit Through This Week), I’m pretty sure that’s a philosophy he applies in real life as well.
I mean, how else does a guy end up phoning in a couple of scenes for a movie that’s such a shameless ripoff of Predator that it was actually released on VCD (remember those?) as Predator 3?
Standing in for Arnold Schwarzenegger is French kickboxer Olivier Gruner, and not to knock the guy for having an accent, but I spent half of this movie thinking he was fighting Aryans and wondering why the Nazis were riding around in spaceships. Which, come to think of it, would’ve made a much more entertaining movie. Instead, Gruner starts things off well enough with a bit of completely insane industrial espionage, wherein he allows himself to be captured by guys who beat him with a phone book until he kickboxes them to death and gets information from a guy who had a hard drive surgically implanted in his chest, with a nine-pin parallel port sticking out like a techno-active cybernipple:
The actual purpose of this mission isn’t revealed until a completely unnecessary bit of expository dialogue about an hour later, but I was left wondering how hard that guy regretted that decision once USB drives came out.
From there, Gruner and his team of mercenaries – which includes William Zabka, who played Johnny in The Karate Kid, doing a fake Southern accent that no amount of crane-kicking could make up for – are sent down to Mexico to find a crashed spaceship. And according to director Phillip J. Roth, “Mexico” means “three or four buildings that look like a CBS TV production of Deadwood, populated by an actual, honest-to-God whiskey-swilling, six-shooter wielding bandito named Rosario.”
Even better is the fact that Rosario, as played by Stefan Lysenko, can’t seem to decide if he wants to do an offensive Mexican accent, an offensive Italian accent, or just a really terrible impression of Sylvester Stallone.
Once Gruner’s crew arrive, they hook up with Fake Bridget Fonda and start looking for their alien target, which is when you realize that in centering their movie around a totally invisible, totally silent shapeshifter, the filmmakers have pretty much allowed themselves to showcase a villain that’s less of an actual monster and more of just a camera with a green filter thrown on it:
When the alien actually does show up through the miracle of absolutely terrible late ’90s CGI, he proves to be completely unaffected by bullets, which means that in accordance with the rules of action movies, our hero must fight it with kickboxing. Surprisingly – well, surprising by action movie standards, anyway – this doesn’t actually work, and Gruner’s bosses end up going with their second plan: Just straight-up nuking the living hell out of Mexico and writing it off as a gas leak.
Gruner survives the nuclear blast by jumping in a well, and while there’s not much room to get mad at the science of a straight-to-video Predator ripoff, but there comes a point where even I end up shouting “oh come on” at the screen, and that was it. But even that paled in comparison to how the movie actually ends, with Gruner climbing out of the well and running across Rosario’s comely henchgirl – who I guess survived the nuclear blast by duck-and-covering under a ’50s-era school desk – and just straight punching her in the face because he thinks she’s the shapeshifting alien. And then she chases him through the suspiciously non-ravaged countryside, throwing rocks at him while he apologizes.
I gotta say, as an action movie, this thing is a complete and utter failure, but as a slapstick comedy? I’ve seen worse.
|Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.|