Monday, June 09, 2008

Death-Dealing Dumbass

A friend of mine, many years ago, said, "Every red-blooded American boy wants to grow up to be James Bond." At the time, I shrugged, thought about how I always wanted to be Lancelot Link, tried really hard to bridge the intercontinental weirdness his comment made in my head (like saying every liberal prays for the death penalty) and turned back to watching the Oklahoma sun bake the ground outside. Every time I see a James Bond film, I think of that comment. I've always had my doubts.

Until now.

It would seem that every young boy, including African-American boys, wants to be James Bond. The adventure. The foreign locales. The sexy women. All of those pretty, deadly gadgets. And guns, lots and lots of guns. Apparently David Broadnax wanted to be James Bond so bad that he created a movie in which he could play a very similar character. There are adventures. And foreign locales. And sexy women. And guns and gadgets. It would seem Broadnax had everything to make his James Bond fantasy come true. He forgot something.

It has to be interesting.

Enter Mister Deathman. I'm not opposed to vanity pieces when it comes to films. In the right hands, they can be entertaining as well as revealing. Charlie Chaplin comes to mind. But Mr. Broadnax just wanted to be the biggest, baddest dude to stride across a film set. And, well, he just didn't have it in him.

You have Broadnax as Graves, a top something-or-other who can outrun, outfox, outshoot, outsmart -- blah blah blah -- everyone. He's recruited to recover a scientist who may be delivering up important scientific secrets to the mysterious Mister Zee. After many threats to his life, he uncovers a conspiracy of global proportions. Can he overcome the odds and save the world? Feh. Can he keep me from drinking myself into a stupor? That's a more pertinent question.

As much as I love craptastic films, I find myself groaning at this stuff more and more as I get older. Prime examples of scenes to make you want to throw your pizza at the screen: They attempt to capture Graves by slipping him a bottle of drugged whiskey. But the seal has obviously been broken. This organization has wracked up millions and millions of dollars to finance their global domination, so you'd think they could find a way to tamper with a guy's booze without being so stupid about it. And then there is the scene in which Graves picks a lock with a long needle held between his teeth while he's being swamped by the incoming tide. I can't even bring myself to think about that scene. Or how about when he sprays down two armed thugs with a fire extinguisher. Okay, paper beats rock, rock beats scissors and a gun beats a damn fire extinguisher any day.

I've actually read commentaries in which people compare this cinematic abortion to Guy From Harlem. At least Harlem had the discreet charm of showing people throwing themselves at the main charcter's fists. Deathman has people quake in fear just because the "hero" swaggers into camera range. They must have, because all the bad guys in this movie have guns, and half the time Graves doesn't. Why didn't someone just freakin' shoot the guy?!?!?!

Other oddities to take note of in this film: Why does the guy who hires Graves have all his dialogue poorly dubbed when Graves sports a voice more girly than Cyndi Lauper? Why do the bad guys send a muscle man after Graves, but they let him tell Graves what is about to happen instead of just freakin' killing him? Why do they chain Graves to rocks to die instead of just freakin' killing him? Why does everyone pronounce NASA as if it is an Italian word for "nose"? And, for the love of God, why do they show you the end of the movie AT THE BEGINNING?!?!?!!!!

I conked out during this little gem around the fifth or sixth time Graves "lets" himself get captured. He seems to be better at doing that than dealing death. Sadly, the pizza delivery person woke me up and I had no good excuse for falling asleep again. Damn you, Pizza Hut!

Actually, you could do worse. You could watch a Bill Rebane movie. I notice VideoAsia didn't add any of his trash to their Grindhouse Experience collections.

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