Friday, 19 March 2010

McBain (1991)

Why had I never heard of this film until the other day. Strolling through Morrison's it was sat there winking at me from the £1 DVD bucket ( alongside Swamp Thing). It could not be ignored. Especially seeing as it was directed and produced by James Glickenhaus, who was also responsible for Turner household classics like The Exterminator and Maniac Cop.
Christopher Walken has always been a favourite actor of mine. Despite the amount of shit films he puts his name to he still gives raises them up a notch in my opinion. Here he plays Bobby McBain who after being rescued from a Thunderdome style POW camp in Vietnam at the end of the war, splits a $100 bill with his Rescuer, Santos. If he ever receives the other half then he must repay his debt. Fast forward 18 years and Santos is leading a revolution against the Colombian President ( Victor Argo, great actor but pretty much sleep walks through this role). Who is a bad man. We know this by the level of armed security he has and the fact he orders prostitutes to the palace. Santos is publicly executed in a failed attack on the palace. Santos's sister, played by Maria Conchito Alonso ( the lass from Predator 2) goes to the top of a bridge in New York and calls in Walken's debt to Santos.
After assembling his old unit they set out gaining the funds to start the middle aged war against Victor. This means shaking down drug dealers and pretending to be Mossad whilst claiming responsibility for the Munich bombings. Once set up they fly off to Columbia and begin a pretty quick assault on a drug factory and then the Presidential palace. It all works out pretty much how you would expect it to. What makes the film that slightly bit more special than other low rent actioners is the obvious inconsistencies and silly events that take place. For example, a breach of Colombian airspace is resolved by McBain taking down a fighter jet with his pistol that he shoots through two separate windscreens at air speeds......

ts superbly silly stuff. neither windscreen is broken or anything. only Walken could do that. That pretty much kicks off many glaringly obvious but incredibly over the top moments. Being the military trained professionals they can stand in the middle of a huge firefight and let of sparse but accurate shots without being hit themselves. The youngest member of the team sacrifices his life so the revolution can continue after a failed bombing. The bad guys can of course never hit anything with there terrible aim and huge arsenal while the good guys tiny sub machine guns hit everything they shoot at.
This was blatantly obvious to the cast and film makers I can imagine, and they make the most of it with enthusiasm. Walken's team ( who feature Micheal Ironside with "real" ponytail and Windows from The Thing) cover the usual characters found in a military squad. All haunted by the past but can kill anyone in a instant.
I even think Walken knew how much of a silly adventure this was going to be but turns a limp script that bit better with his usual skill. He also sports the classic Walken fro. Which is worth the pound in my eyes. McBain is a fun enough action B-movie. not as good as Walken's similar film The Dogs Of War but neither is it trying to be. A quid well spent.


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