Flashback: Humanitarians, rappers have no place in action genre

Fri, Apr 24, 2009

DRock, Featured, Flashback Fridays, Joe, Reviews

From here on out, every Friday will be “Flashback Fridays” where we pull out a vintage LAH column and bring it to life on the Internets.  Today, we bring to you the Spring 2005 Registration Issue of LAH.  Joe and DRock teamed up to review two awful action movies in “Full Clip” and “Strike Force.”

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joeFear not, action fans.  The Last Action Heroes are back for another semester of action investigation, one that we kick off with a riddle: What do Busta Rhymes, Xzibit and a young Richard Gere have in common?

The answer, of course, is they all kick ass … at least according to the back cover of two very deceptive DVDs.  In hopes of expanding the action horizons of both ourselves and our loyal readers, the Last Action Heroes decided to take a peek at unconventional action stars.  So, we headed on down to Best Buy and purchased “Strike Force” starring Gere and “Full Clip,” featuring the dynamic duo of Busta and X-to-the-Z.

Big mistake.strikeforce_rating

“Strike Force” should have been hilarious.  After all, it stars Richard Gere and claims to be an action movie.  That’s right, Richard Gere, a noted humanitarian who doesn’t eat meat.  Watching him beat up some bad guys should have been funny, right?

As it turns out, however, the joke was on anyone who actually watched this movie, which I believe amounts to just Derek and me.  All I really gathered from the plot of the movie was that there was a murder and heroin trafficking was somehow involved.  Oh, and the villains are pretty easy to pick out — they are the only characters in the entire movie with mustaches.

The best part of “Strike Force” is that it only lasts 74 minutes, although after about 74 seconds I knew I was in trouble.  For starters, it has the film quality of a fourth-grade filmstrip about butterflies with a less discernable plot.  Then there’s the soundtrack, which sounds like a seventh-grade band playing the theme music from “The Rockford Files.”

Then there’s the worst offense: Richard Gere is barely in this movie!  All he does is sit in a room and watch surveillance videos, occasionally driving around in the Strike Force’s woody wagon.  That’s right, a group dubbed “the Strike Force” drives a station wagon with wood panels on the sides.  What a badass crew.  Gere is literally on screen for about five minutes, if that.  Yet, the back cover of the DVD boasts, “Richard Gere’s going to smash the biggest heroin ring in New York — or tear up the city trying!”

Perhaps I fell asleep and missed something, but I did not see Richard Gere tear up anything other than an egg salad sandwich.  I think he might have thrown one punch in the entire movie.  This clunker had less action than an episode of “Murder She Wrote.”  In fact, Angela Landsbury would be a much more viable action hero than young Mr. Gere.

After a solid hour of nonsensical dialogue, “Strike Force” concludes with a high-speed chase between a garbage truck and the woody wagon.  Fittingly, it ends in a landfill, because that is where this DVD belongs.  This movie would have been a rip-off if I had bought it at the Dollar Tree.

I give this movie the worst action rating I have to offer: four Dolph Lundgrens.  I was going to award a bonus Richard Gere, but upon further consideration, I decided to revoke that privilege.  Richard Gere has no place on these glorious pages.

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drock1

Hugh Grant: don’t do action movies.  I’m glad the most action you’ve seen thus far is in the back seat of a sedan with a paid acquaintance.  Those whose best roles are confined to romantic comedies and appeals on behalf of the world need not apply to be action superstars.  So I beg this question: why did Richard Gere agree to film “Strike Force” and why did Platinum Discs of La Crosse, Wis. promote him as a hardened action hero?

I do not have the answers to those questions, but I do wish for three agonizing hours of my life back.  “Strike Force” might be the worst movie ever made.  The most memorable one-liner delivered in the movie is not even from a main character.

The mother of a slain villain is talking to one of the investigators of the Strike Force when she turns to him and screams, “My son was a human being! I am a human being! Your aftershave turns me off!”

Moments of peak action during the movie include a small child biking through a landfill, the Strike Force lifting up a housecoat and searching it for contraband, a covert pursuit of a taxi by the team’s woody wagon and the Strike Force encountering a locked door.  There are four beatdowns in the movie, compared to three kills. The most gruesome scene of the entire movie is a bulldozer pushing trash over a villain and forcing him down a mountain of trash.  The movie ends with a car flying off one of the many cliffs in the landfill and exploding from the trunk.  With the mission accomplished, the Strike Force walks away, not into the sunset, but into one of New Jersey’s most respectable trash heaps.

I considered changing the rating system to allow for one more Lou Diamond Phillip, but I decided not to let this clunker get the best of me and this great column.  I award “Strike Force” four Lou Diamond Phillips.

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joe

At least there is some actual action in “Full Clip.”  There may not be any semblance of a plot, but there is at least some action.  In all, 23 kills are recorded in the movie, which seems to be billed as a hip-hop version of “Walking Tall.”

Busta Rhymes, starring as Joshua Pope, returns home to attend his father’s funeral.  All we are told about Pope’s father is “he was a helluva man” and he had a thing for larger women.  Anyway, things are amiss with the local police.  It seems the sheriff is corrupt.

So, Busta and his pal Xzibit kill him.  Then, for no apparent reason, Xzibit decides to take the sheriff’s place in extorting money from local businesses.  So Busta kills him.  Brilliant script.  Derek, you should demand your money back.

The movie also features a narrator, played by Wyclef Jean.  Exactly what purpose there is to his idiotic interludes — in which he plays poker against himself, drinks liquor and holds a guitar is beyond me.  Wyclef should stick to writing songs about strippers.  This movie was awful.  The only reason it does not qualify as the worst movie I’ve ever seen is because I watched “Strike Force” immediately beforehand.  The stupidity of the plot and the movie in general warrants a rating of three-and-one-half Dolph Lundgrens for “Full Clip.”

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Not since viewing “Battlefield Earth” and “Drive Me Crazy” on successive nights have I been tormented by a movie that fails to deliver on every conceivable level.  Grieving mothers should not be delivering the one-liners.  Having said that, I was confident that Busta Rhymes, Xzibit and Wyclef would deliver some much needed action relief in “Full Clip.”

I was wrong.

Xzibit and Busta Rhymes together in one movie are about as good as Xzibit’s music career with the exception that he actually had one hit.

fullclip1“Full Clip” starts out very promising, surpassing the kill count of “Strike Force” in the first 30 seconds.  Busta Rhymes, starring as Pope, enters a back-alley drug house and starts shooting indiscriminately.  Then Busta utilizes the sixth sense inherent in all action heroes: he senses the enemy before seeing them.  This is evident when Busta looks at the ceiling and comes to the conclusion there are villains directly above him.  So he takes out his automatic and shoots up the ceiling, killing four more bad guys.

Let it be known that Busta “didn’t start any of this, but he damn well is going to finish it.”  At this point, you’d think the story would begin, but you’d be mistaken.  Wyclef Jean suddenly appears brandishing a gigantic cigar, a bottle of hard liquor and a guitar.  Typically a narrator provides guidance, direction and clarification throughout the story.  Wyclef fails to provide any of these.  In the middle of the movie, he breaks in to tell us he just won a game of poker against himself.

By the end of the movie, Wyclef has nearly polished off the bottle.  He still has his guitar, yet hasn’t strung a tune yet.  Wyclef is most certainly the worst narrator to ever appear in a movie.  It’s going to take a lot more than his remake of “Redemption Song” before any sober person could forgive him for his pathetic performance in “Full Clip.”

While “Full Clip” might be one of the worst movies of all time featuring rappers 10 years removed from their prime, it does offer a surprising and unexpected cameo.  The one and only Najeh Davenport of the Green Bay Packers shows up for about one minute in the middle of the movie.  Davenport is dropping off some goods to the sheriff’s boys and a conversation ensues.  Naturally, it ends with the sheriff telling Najeh he is a “big boy” and should play in the NFL.

“That’s not my hustle, bro,” Najeh responds.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this DVD was somehow in the closet when Naj dropped a bomb on his ex-girlfriend.

As bad as this movie might sound, it did not reside alongside “Bats” or “Hard to Kill” in the discount bin.  No, it was in the movies with plots section.  This movie set me back $15.  I could have bought three real things from the Red Shed for that much.  I could have purchased 15 VIP songs at the Plaza and not heard any of them for that money.  I could have bought “Hard To Kill,” “Hard Target” and “On Deadly Ground” for that much.  I should have known to avoid movies starring rappers who made tracks for South Park’s Chef Aid music CD.

I have no choice but to award this movie three Lou Diamond Phillips and a bonus Najeh Davenport for the piece of crap it truly is.

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