Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Contest II: Access Denied

The Action Mutant…
doesn’t know what to do when Shannon Tweed doesn’t get naked.

No Contest II: Access Denied

review by Joe Burrows

Every red blooded male knows the name Shannon Tweed by now. Those that only know of her as Gene Simmons’ current woman (risky proposition, considering his crotch has more DNA on it that a dollar bill) may not be aware that she was once the queen of the direct to video/erotic thriller. You know, it’s not quite a porno but it’s not quite a movie you can take seriously, either. She was in about 50 of those during the 90s and you could almost be sure that Ms. Tweed would doff her clothing at least three times during the course of whatever film she was in. Almost…

The Plot, as it was:
Tweed is Sharon Bell (the former Miss Galaxy turned hostess, turned terrorist dispatcher in the original No Contest), an action film actress visiting her sister (Jayne Heitmeyer) at the upscale art gallery she works at. Sharon’s film crew, led by director Jack Terry (Bruce Payne), drop by to scout the location for their next shoot. Everything’s interrupted when faux art dealer Erich Dengler (Lance Henriksen) and his team storm the place and take it under control. They want to smuggle Nazi nerve gas out of the museum that is hidden in a statue Dengler imported in. Of course, Sharon escapes from the rest and becomes Jane McClane and takes out Dengler’s crew one by one. Can she be stopped? Can she and her estranged sister work together? Why is she still in clothing?

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Just to get it out of the way…Shannon Tweed does not get naked. Not even close. Though that will cement about 90% of your opinions, No Contest II is still kinda, sorta viewable in a “its 2 a.m. and it’s either this or the infomercial on the Ron Propeil grills” kind of way. It’s totally dumb, far fetched escapist fare that thankfully doesn’t go on too long (87 minutes) and at least has the benefit of good casting on its side. Tweed works on a tongue in cheek level and it’s nice to have Payne as a good guy for once. It takes everyone about ten seconds to realize THE Henriksen is the villain of the piece but he’s on target as usual, turning the normal bad guy soliloquy into artful prose. He’s easily the best part of the film, which is basically “Die Hard in an art museum” and complete with all of the usual clichés (villains that are too chatty, everyone becomes MacGyver, etc.). If you’re not excited by that prospect, you may want to move on though it’s not the worst of its kind.

Body Count/Violence: 9. Despite its low budget, No Contest II does dispatch of its characters pretty well. We’re talking impaling, electrocution, slit throats, beatings, flesh melting gas, dart shots, and just straight out shooting. THE Henriksen may also be the world’s best acting critic…ever! You’ll see.

Sexuality/Nudity: None. Tweed gets her skirt pulled off but she’s wearing black opaque tights so if you want to see what made her famous, rent one of the 250 “erotic thrillers” she’s done.

Language/Dialogue: Kind of strong at times.

How bad was it?:
It’s a low budget, Die Hard rip off, so it’s not going to be a critical darling by any standards. The few reviews I read put it as just “ok”.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Norstar Entertainment, purveyor of many a Canadian B movie, released No Contest II on video in America on 2/17/98.

Film: *1/2/*****
Entertainment value: ***/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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