Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

New to me. Came out in 2008. It’s Sharpshooter, on Hulu. Details are from Wikipedia. This stars James Remar as Dillon, a professional shooter for the CIA. It’s a low-budget production from RHI Entertainment and may have originally been meant for TV.

The opening scenes, as the titles roll, show Dillon setting up an ambush in the desert for some kidnappers. The bad guys have the money and the victim in one of two cars, making dust along an isolated stretch of road. Dillon has it all figured out. He has planted a land mine in the road, and at the right time he fires a shot. After a second or two traverse the round strikes its target, and the explosion tears into one of the cars. Dillon then proceeds to kill the reminder of the kidnappers and free the victim, giving him water to last until some approaching helicopters are due to arrive. Then Dillon hops on his desert bike and hightails it out. His work is finished here.

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Back in civilization in Los Angeles two assassins on motorcycles attempt to waylay Dillon on his cab ride from the airport. He kills them and makes it back  to his apartment. A phone call from  an old CIA buddy rouses him out of  his planned retirment. His buddy, Flick (Mario Van Peebles), wants Dillon to do one last job. You can tell this is not going to go well.

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The job involves taking out a ruthless weapons dealer named Richard Phillips (Al Sapienza). Phillips dwells in a resort home alongside a cozy lake somewhere in California. The plan is apparently to have Flick pose as the seller of a purloined missile guidance system and to set Phillips up for an extra-judicial take down. Dillon settles in at a motel in the resort town.

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At a local eatery he meets the Sheriff (Bruce Boxleitner) and his deputy and other local characters, including a writer named Amy (Catherine Mary Stewart), here to do a magazine piece.

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Dillon heads out to the lake on a pretend fishing jaunt. Meanwhile, Phillips leads the life of an upscale gun dealer, with hot and cold running bimbos. An associate shows up on this day and is greeted warmly. Then, straight out of The Untouchables, Phillips accuses the unfortunate of skimming from the operation and clubs him with a cue stick. As bimbos flee the carnage, Phillips drowns his victim in the pool.

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This scene is a steal from The Untouchables. Here Robert De Niro, as Al Capone, prepares to execute a misbehaving gang member with a baseball bat at a swanky gathering.

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Meanwhile, Dillon does what any smart operator would do when reconnoitering a highly-secure gangster’s hideout. He whips out binoculars and surveys the domicile.

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Dillon’s reconnoitering has made Phillips suspicious, and he plans to upset any double cross. Without warning, he changes the schedule for the exchange of the merchandise. Dillon, by now in bed with Amy, gets a frantic call from Flick and heads off to take out Phillips’ security force.

Phillips’ men, alert to a possible intrusion, capture Dillon and prepare to kill him. Then Flick’s two cohorts are mowed down while Phillips presses Flick for the guidance system security code. Dillon escapes his assassins and kills them. Then he heads to the big house to rescue Flick, killing more of Phillips’ men and chasing after the car, where Phillips and an accomplice are taking Flick to God knows where. The next is straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dillon jumps on top of the getaway car and succeeds in yanking Phillips’ accomplice out of the speeding vehicle. He then kills Phillips, as planned.

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Only, it’s a double cross. Flick had all along planned to scoop up the $1 million payment and abscond. When Dillon refuses to go along, he becomes a hunted man. Flick flashes his government credentials and enlists the local law to hunt and kill Dillon. Dillon plays it cool and only kills Flick and his remaining associate. He takes out two members of the posse with a crafty, and non lethal, tree branch trap.

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Out of ammunition and with Flick threatening to kill the sheriff, Dillon improvises a bow and arrow and puts one in Flick’s chest. He takes the money and heads to the getaway plane.

There he finds Amy waiting. She had been working with Flick, but Dillon will do. Dillon  gives up his straight-arrow ways and flies off with Amy and the money to parts unknown.

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This movie misses the Bad Movie of the Week due to being a nice adventure story that moves right along and is well photographed and decently acted. Beyond that, there is a lot about this plot that is screwball beyond all reason.

Take the opening scenes. The kidnappers have the money. And the victim. When did that ever happen? In no kidnapping for ransom is there ever a situation where the kidnappers have the money and the hostage in the car together.

Then there is the ambush in the desert. How does Dillon plan to stop the convoy? He plants a explosive in the road. Then he sets it off with a long shot, timing it just right so the car is in the right spot when the explosion goes off. That’s what I call a risky shot at best and an impossible shot in moments of sanity. More real, but less dramatic, would have been  a straight forward approach.

Two assassins on motorcycles attempt to gun down Dillon on Los Angeles streets. A fierce gun battle does not bring a swarm of cops on top of it in short order.

Phillips lives in a virtual fortress on the lake shore, with armed guards constantly on the lookout in the surrounding hills. And Dillon gets out in the lake in a boat and starts checking out the castle with a pair of binoculars? Who believes that?

Passing by some equally ridiculous plot devices, Dillon is being hunted in the woods by Flick and Flick’s partner in crime. Dillon kills the partner from ambush and later has to take out Flick with an arrow, because he is out of ammunition. He didn’t think to take the partner’s gun when he killed him, all alone in the woods?

Watch this one with with a big bowl of popcorn and a couple of beers. It’s action only and only (not counting the bimbos) a little sex.

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One thought on “Bad Movie Wednesday

  1. Pingback: Bad Movie Wednesday | Skeptical Analysis

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