The Action Mutant…
lives to inform people about absolute dreck like this!
review by Joe Burrows
Funny anecdote time: In a screenwriting class I took, a classmate unknowingly named one of his supporting characters in an upcoming project “Eric Roberts”. This provided a few laughs, as the rest of us clued him in on what was so funny. What followed was an impromptu session of naming Eric Roberts films at random (along with his recent music video work with The Killers and Mariah Carey). Though I named such trash opuses of his, such as Star 80 and The Specialist, I’m sorry I didn’t know of this film at the time. Then I would have had my “Eric Roberts in dreads” reference. Hey, I had to take something from the film!
The Plot, as it was:
Tom and Gina (John Ritter and Rachel Hunter) go on a family vacation with their two kids somewhere in California. Dad’s an overworked business exec and Mom’s the undersexed, annoyed housewife. The kids are annoying as per usual, which leads to everyone having a tense time to begin with. While at the pool, the family meets Eddie & Lonnie (the aforementioned Mr. Roberts and Katy Boyer) and his brother (Ken Palmer). Of course, everyone’s nice at first but it’s only a matter of time before the family is taken hostage. You see, Eddie (or “Mr. Eddie”, as he’s referred to) and his gang take rich families hostage, rob them and off them afterwards. They want all of Tom’s savings ($1.2 million) but it’s never that simple. Mind games abound as Tom and kin try to escape the whim of a madman…a white madman with dreadlocks.
Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
The IMDB lists the genre as Thriller, though that’s being generous. It was actually a Borer (oh yeah, I went there). Early in the film, Tom’s son tells Dad that he’s a “real cornball” in what sounds like a stereotypical New Yawker drawl (just in that line, though…weird). I bring this up because I could not remember another memorable line of dialogue in the entire thing! The film just moved from one boring “Can I trust you?” moment to the next. I mean, God rest his soul and all but I did not buy John Ritter as an “action hero” and never would. Remember his teaming with Jim Belushi in Real Men? I didn’t figure you did. Anyway, that film was parodying action films, with one of the obvious gags being that Ritter would be one of the last guys you could imagine holding a gun. Here we have a man who looks as intimidating as Garth Brooks against a man with a ridiculous hairstyle who looks equally as intimidating. I realize Roberts is a “method actor” but who ever got in his ear that having dreads was a good idea deserves major ridicule. He does manage to chew the scenery with his Southern accent and adds a modicum of interests to the proceedings. Unfortunately, he’s the only real reason to watch this swill. There are one or so tense moments but director Serge Rodunsky paces this like a bowling match on a tar surface and doesn’t manage to milk his scenes for any excitement or punch they could provide. Oh, and the ending seems to be a bit of a copout. You’re welcome.
Body Count/Violence: 9. Mr. Eddie does have the novelty of taking an ice pick to the back of his victim’s skulls and reducing them to jelly. He does this a few times and, though it’s not real bloody, it is at least interesting. The rest is the usual shooting and car chases, which come off average.
Sexuality/Nudity: No Rachel Hunter nudity, so that will probably make your decision a lot easier at the local video outlet. We get some topless strip club action though because the director had to get tits in there to wake us up at some point.
Language/Dialogue: Yeah. I guess. I told you, I can’t remember any lines.
How bad was it?: The two reviews at IMDB were scathing at best. This Serge guy hasn’t exactly had a storied career.
Did it make the studio’s day?: It was supposedly released on video in the U.S. by MTI on 6/27/00. I’m sure the rush at Blockbuster was tremendous.
Entertainment value: *1/2/*****
Copyright 2007 The Action Mutant.