Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I’m seeing this the first time, and it’s about time I did. It came out in  1974, and it’s been on the edge of my radar, but I always seemed to miss it. It’s Mr. Majestyk, starring Charles Bronson as Vincent “Vince” Majestyk. The production company (from Wikipedia) is The Mirisch Corporation,  which I never heard of, and it was distributed by United Artists. When it showed up on Amazon Prime Video the title screen showed the MGM logo.  This is obviously going to be  another tough guy movie.

Vince is ex-Special Services, ex-con, ex-family man. He now runs solo and has a melon farm in Colorado, where the filming took place. We see him trying to corral a team of workers to pick his crop of watermelons, about 160 acres. Little luck, and when he shows up at his field with a skeleton crew some interlopers try to buffalo him into using their crew, instead. He has an encounter with one of the wise guys named Bobby Kopas (Paul Koslo).

That little kerfuffle lands him an  arrest warrant sworn by Mr. Kopas, and soon we see him being transported by prison bus to the county law center. One of the prisoners is highly-touted mob hit man Frank Renda (Al Lettieri). Outside the courthouse the law caravan is bushwhacked by mobsters set on freeing Renda. There’s a firefight straight out of the Battle of the Bulge, with many casualties, and Vince makes a getaway in the bus, with Renda in tow, handcuffed.

Vince takes Renda to his hunting cabin in the boondocks, where he is offered $25,000 for Renda’s freedom.

Vince pretends to take the offer, but phones the police, instead. The police decline Vince’s offer of Renda in exchange for a clean slate, so Vince hands Renda over to his girlfriend Wiley (Lee Purcell). Vince still intends to take Renda to the cops, and this enrages Renda, who pulls a gun from Wiley’s purse. Vince escapes into the woods. Unfortunately, the only witness the state of Colorado had against Renda was a cop who got killed in the courthouse shootout, so the cops have to  drop the the murder charge against him. They release him on bail, and he immediately goes on a quest for vengeance against Vince. (???)

It’s complicated. Many bad things happen. Not finding Vince at his farm, Renda and his gang run off Vince’s skeleton  crew of pickers Then they machine gun the load of watermelons already picked. Some really bad asses.

Seeking retribution, Vince and his girlfriend Nancy Chavez (Linda Cristal) initiate a plan to turn the tables on the hoods. They decoy the convoy of crooks into a chase into the wilderness, Vince’s very capable F-150 Ford pickup truck showing its stuff.

Vince’s ploy is simple at the outset. He gets behind the crook’s convoy and forces two of the cars in turn off the road. Here the second one goes over the edge, with the predictable endo and the car dissolving into a ball of fire. Much poetic justice going on here.

You know what. I think I have driven through here. The wife and I took the Camry down a dirt road (showed the shortest route on the map) and through these tunnels. Creepy enough.

The surviving three crooks, including Renda and Copas, plus Wiley, retreat to their resort hideaway in the woods. Vince and Nancy stake the place out and Wiley is coaxed to desert the gang when she is sent out to negotiate.

Vince uses his Special Forces skills to take out Lundy (Taylor Lacher) and then Renda, shown here receiving a shotgun blast to the chest. Copas is spared, as he has volunteered as bait while Vince goes after Renda.

The police then arrive and politely request that Vince come down to the station and explain things. We assume Vince and Nancy are about to team up to grow melons, and more.

I have seen a collection of movies in  which nearly every frame can be pulled from the move, printed, and hung up on the wall in an art gallery. This is not one of them. The camera work is somewhat above point and shoot. Neither is the acting likely to attract the attention of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Nor the plot logic:

  • Frank Renda is a professional killer working for “the mob” with seven kills to his credit. And for that the mob is willing to take on the county police force in a blazing gun battle, incurring casualties on both sides. Really?
  • Renda’s murder charge is dropped after the only witness, a cop, is killed in the shootout. If the mob wanted to spring Renda, all they had to do was to ambush the cop some dark night, and much excitement could have been avoided.
  • The crooks surround Vince’s house and wait. Vince drives up and gets out of his truck. Then he vanishes from view. While the crooks watch Vince sneaks among them, lying low, checking out their number and location. Then he sneaks back into the house and finds Nancy has been there all the time. They hatch a plan to wait for Renda to arrive the following morning before they unroll their scheme to draw the crooks into a road battle. Yes, that makes a lot of sense.
  • The character of Wiley seems to have been miscast. Quiet of demeanor and lacking a great set of tits, we wonder what a scumbag like Renda sees in her.

Yes, you know where you’ve seen Al Lettieri before. He was the murderous, double-crossing Rudy Butler in The Getaway, previously reviewed. He was drug kingpin Manny Santiago in McQ, also previously reviewed. He died the year after this movie came out.

As mentioned, the truck chase gets our attention. From Wikipedia:

The Ford Motor Company used scenes licensed from the movie showing extreme driving of Majestyk’s Ford Pickup truck during commercials for its 1974 F-150 model.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

About the time this came out in  1974 I worked for a company that had some installations in New York City, so I was spending some time there. There were movie posters featuring the movie, and it  may have been up on one of the theaters in Times Square. I am sure I never saw all of it until this March, when it came available on Amazon Prime Video. It’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, also known as The Taking of Pelham 123. There’s also a book, available in Kindle, but I don’t promise to do a review.

It’s a crime thriller, set in Manhattan, and Pelham 123 is a subway train on the IRT (Interurban Rapid Transit) line. Pelham 123 is the  name of the train—final stop Pelham, starting out at 1:23 p.m., hence the title. The movie involves four criminals who hijack the train to extract $1 million dollars  ransom from the city. The production company is Palomar Pictures. Details are from Wikipedia.

The opening scene shows Harold Longman a.k.a. Mr. Green (Martin Balsam) getting out of a taxi in mid-town Manhattan and getting on the train. He carries a package. We can guess what’s in the package. Get set for some action.

Others get on the train at different stations, each carrying a package. All are obviously wearing fake mustaches. All are wearing trench coats and hats. The last aboard is Bernard Ryder a.k.a. Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw). He kicks things off by thrusting a gun in the conductor’s face and taking over the train.

An interesting note is that Mr. Green has a bad cold and is always sniffling and sneezing. This is going to prove pivotal.

Walter Matthau is Lt. Zachary Garber of the transit police, who is in the process of escorting some gentlemen from the Tokyo subway system, here to see how the Americans do it. The New York City system is the largest in the world. The meeting with the Japanese executives ends abruptly when it becomes apparent a train has been hijacked.

These are four very desperate men. They want a million dollars within one hour, or they will start killing hostages. The mayor (Lee Wallace) must be brought into the picture, because he has to authorize payment of the money. Although Ed Koch did not become mayor of New York City until four years later, the mayor immediately reminds viewers of Mr. Koch.

There is gripping drama, as the crooks hurl threats and emphasize their demands.

The fire power is impressive. The four carry automatic weapons, and they fire them off when they feel it’s necessary. When negotiations falter, Mr. Blue puts the conductor off the train and shoots him.

Another criminal is Giuseppe Benvenuto a.k.a. Mr. Grey (Héctor Elizondo). He’s a loose cannon, eager to do damage, in need of anger management.

The police figure their only recourse is to pay the million dollars, and scenes show the frantic effort to get the bills counted and packaged as demanded.

Then the bills have to be brought to the 23rd Street station, and wouldn’t you know it, the cop car bringing the loot crashes. Motorcycle cops complete the delivery, and the crooks begin to put into motion their escape plane, which involves setting the train, by now down to a single car, loose heading south while they attempt to sneak topside through an emergency exit to a sidewalk grate.

That’s the point at which everything falls apart for the crooks. Mr. Grey refuses to ditch his weapon as part of the plan for the crooks to blend in with street traffic. Mr. Blue shoots him down on the steps leading to the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, all this time there has been a cop aboard the car in plain clothes, and he has been waiting for a chance to make his move. He guns down George Steever a.k.a. Mr. Brown (Earl Hindman), leaving only two of the original four alive.

Finally the cops have figured out what’s going on, and Garber confronts Mr. Blue in the tunnel. With no escape and no plan B, Mr. Blue takes the easy way out and steps on the line’s third rail. Mr. Green makes his escape, and a subsequent scene shows him rolling in cash on his bed.

To bad for Mr. Green. The cops have figured that one of the crooks must be a cashiered subway employee, because somebody was needed who knew how to operate the train. Garber and another cop go from door to door with a list of ex train drivers and end up knocking on Mr. Green’s door. He hides the cash, and brushes off the cops. As they are about to leave, Mr. Green sneezes. The jig is up.

It’s a tense but uneven plot. Four heavily-armed thugs take of a train and start killing people, demanding a million dollars. And bits of humor are sprinkled here and there.

Viewers’ credulity is stretched in places. The line apparently runs north and south approximately under Park Avenue, terminating at the south end of Manhattan Island. The cops concentrate their efforts on where the train car is and where they suspect the cooks must be. I’ve seen more police presence involved in a police car chase on Los Angeles streets than in this movie. It is never made clear why the cops don’t blanket all exits up and down the line. As it is, they get decoyed away from the 23rd street exit, giving the crooks a way out, although only Mr. Green takes advantage of the opportunity.

The final hunt for the escaped train man is unrealistic and lackadaisical. The most wanted man in the country is loose, and only two cops go door to door looking for him. The Constitution be damned, but any police force in the country would have hauled all suspects down to the station for questioning. Garber and the other cop ask Green a few questions and are satisfied with his answer, “I was here all day,” and they start to leave. Nah!

The cops believe the crooks must still be on the train car, because a dead man switch in the cab would prevent the train from moving without the operator present. And they don’t figure out what every train driver in the country has already figured out, that there is always a way to defeat these safeguards.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

The title is reused from an earlier production. Night Moves came out in 1975, starring Gene Hackman, This is a later production with no similarity to the prior. Night Moves was released in 2013 and doesn’t have the star power. It’s a low-key story about environmental terrorism with people getting killed. I caught it on Hulu. Details are from Wikipedia.

Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and Dena (Dakota Fanning) are two environmentally conscious twenty-somethings, and they check out a dam across a small river in Oregon. They dam is an environmental monstrosity in their view. The lack of a fish ladder prevents salmon from swimming upstream to spawn. It needs to come down. They have a plan.

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Dena is from amazing wealth, and $10,000 cash allows the to purchase a boat. We can guess what they plan to do with the boat. The catch phrase could be something like “boat, bomb, dam: some assembly required.” The name of the boat is Night Moves, hence the title.

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Josh has a friend Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard). Harmon is a former Marine, and he knows how to build the bomb. Dena is leery of Harmon He’s prone to be loose with facts. Over lunch at a fast food table they discuss the destruction of the dam.

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The plan incurs the purchase of an extra 500 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Harmon already has 1000 pounds, but figures an additional 500 pounds will ensure success. Post Timothy McVeigh, the stuff is a controlled substance. There is intrigue as Dena weasels her way toward making the purchase at a country feed store.

The plot begins in earnest as the trio mix fuel oil with the fertilizer to make the explosive. They strip out the luxury boat and pack the hull with bags of the mixture. Then they head to the lake. There is additional intrigue as they attempt to be nonchalant, parking at a campsite on the lake and waiting for night to launch. It seems to them everything they do attracts unwanted attention.

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The plan is successful. They park the boat against the dam and set a timer, making their way back to camp in a canoe. On-time, there is a loud boom in the distance,  and police cars are soon speeding  past them on the country road. At a police check point, Josh and Dena show their fake IDs and pass through.

Of course, things have not gone as expected. A camper downstream of the dam has been killed, and it’s a murder case, as well. Also bad is the reaction of their environmental movement friends. The dam is only one of a hundred and makes no difference in the overall picture. What is needed is not the destruction of dams but the winning of popular support for the cause. Police come prowling around, and tension grows. Josh loses his job because of the suspicion surrounding him.

Jena comes completely apart. The trio are supposed to have no further contact, but recriminations fly between cell phones, a dangerous trend. Despondent, Dena plots suicide, but Josh confronts her, demanding she cease inviting attention. Dena orders Josh to leave, and he panics. He kills her and hints at it in a phone call with Harmon. Harmon advises Josh to get very lost.

The movie ends with Josh applying for a job in  a distant sporting goods store. Security cameras about the store remind Josh that in today’s society it is impossible for a person to get completely lost.

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The movie is devoid of dramatic action, possibly with the exception of when Josh strangles Dena. Technical details show a lack of authenticity. For example, the three park the boat next to the dam, but they don’t sink it. 1500 pounds of ammonium nitrate explosive might blow off the top of the dam, but it won’t topple the dam. To bring down the dam the explosion has to go off under water and at the base of the dam.

This is well known to anybody who has seen The Dam Busters. It’s a true-to-life film about an operation the Brits carried out in World War Two. The trick was to drop bombs into lakes behind three German dams. The bombs had to skip along the water until they bumped up against the dam. Then the bombs would sink and explode at the base of the dams. It worked, but with the loss of a third of the aircraft involved. If I can get a copy of the movie I will do a review.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Hard to believe this one is over 30 years old. It came out in 1985, around the time my movie going was beginning to  slack, and it never came on HBO or Turner Classic movies. I caught it on Amazon Prime Video in February.

It’s Silver Bullet, by Stephen King, who also did the screen play. It was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Martha De Laurentiis and distributed by Paramount pictures. Details are from Wikipedia.

Yes, this is a Stephen King story, so you are seeing  this, a human head lying between the rails on a railway line. There is prior footage that shows how this gentleman got into this predicament, but I’m being spare on the graphics today.

The story is told by teenager Jane Coslaw (Megan Follows), who by the time of the telling has grown up, the movie being set in 1976. She tells of how the killings started in her small  home town on the night of the last full moon before the end of the spring school term. This killing was passed off as an accident, the victim being a railway worker noted for heavy drinking on the job.

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Jane is burdened by her crippled brother Marty (Corey Haim), for whom she is the designated caretaker. We see Jane as she witnesses a disagreement between two locals, one of whom accuses the other of getting her pregnant.

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Pregnant and contemplating suicide is Stella Randolph (Wendy Walker). Just as she swallows the fatal dose of sleeping pills or whatever, the werewolf, for this is a werewolf film, bursts through her bedroom window and tears her apart.

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The Coslaw family is beset by Uncle Red (Gary Busey), a heavy drinker and also feared to be a bad influence on Marty.

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Marty’s friend, Brady Kincaid (Joe Wright) is next. He’s been mean to Jane, so he may have been coming his due. Flying his kite in the park is the last we see of him alive, and his body has been found torn apart.

Sheriff Joe Haller (Terry O’Quinn) tries to dissuade a mob from going into the woods to look for the killer. To no avail. Three more victims fall to the werewolf in a dark and foggy swamp.

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Uncle Red is losing his wife (she’s leaving him), and he dotes on Marty. He constructs a super motorized wheelchair for Marty, which he names the Silver Bullet. It is fast.

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Marty is told to never take the Silver Bullet out by himself. So that very night he takes the Silver Bullet out by himself. He brings along some fireworks with the idea of shooting them  off on a wooden footbridge. The werewolf attacks. Marty shoots the werewolf in the eye with a rocket and escapes.

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Grownups won’t believe Marty’s story, but sister Jane goes looking for somebody in the town with one eye out. Horrors, it’s the Reverend Lester Lowe (Everett McGill).

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Again, grownups won’t believe what Marty and Jane suspect. Then, on the road, the Reverend chases Marty with his car and tries to kill him.

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Shown the matching paint scrapes due to a collision with the Reverend’s car, Sheriff Haller goes to investigate. The werewolf kills him.

Uncle Red takes matters in his own hands. He accepts two silver pendants from the children and takes them to a gun shop. Here the gunsmith melts them down and constructs an actual silver bullet.

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Then Uncle Red lays a trap. He tricks Jane and Marty’s parents into taking a vacation, leaving him in charge of the kids. They wait in the house for the werewolf to attack. By nearly the end of the night Uncle Red is giving up, and he removes the silver bullet from the pistol.

Then the werewolf attacks,  bursting through the wall. The silver bullet goes flying, falling through a floor grate. The werewolf tosses Uncle Red about the room and goes for the two children. Marty fishes the bullet out of the grate and loads it into the pistol. A single shot does it for the werewolf, and everybody is saved. As the werewolf dies he re morphs into the Reverend, now missing both eyes.

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And that’s the end of the movie.

There is nothing wrong with this movie except that it is about 100% predictable. It’s a straight-line werewolf story with victim following victim, until the principle characters confront the danger and eliminate it.

Except that there is a certain lack of reality, in addition to the werewolf bit. Multiple murders are occurring in the town, and there is no call for outside help. The story does not include any expected police procedures, gathering forensic evidence, talking to forensic experts.

Marty tells of shooting the werewolf at the footbridge, but nobody follows up to examine the evidence of the  rocket being fired and werewolf blood samples collected from the bridge.

The Reverend now is lacking his left eye, and nobody asks him what happened to his eye.

The story came from King’s  Cycle of the Werewolf, which might be worth reading. King is an excellent writer, his The Green Mile being a prime example.

Corey Haim parleyed his child star beginning into a successful acting career, but he died at 38 of a drug overdose.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

From 25 years ago, it’s a movie I never got to see before. Maybe it was because I was going to college about then and didn’t have time. The topic intrigued me. I was acquainted through trailers running on TV, and I had the idea there was a double meaning in the title. It’s Sneakers from 1992 and starring Robert Redford and also Ben Kingsley. It’s hard to imagine these two guys are 25 years older now. Then, so am I.

This is from Universal Studios. I caught it on Hulu. Details are from Wikipedia.

“Sneakers” is, or was, the term for people who used remote access to break into others’ computers for fun and mischief. I had the idea “sneakers” also alluded to the juvenile mentality of these people. Anyhow, back in 1969 we see two sneakers, Martin Brice (Redford) and a person named Cosmo (Kingsley) in a college dorm breaking into bank accounts and transferring large sums of money. Brice assures Cosmo there is no chance they will get caught and punished for this. Then he goes out for pizza.

His VW minivan won’t start (cold and snowy), and he watches in horror as police raid their dorm room and haul Cosmo off to  jail. Brice escapes and becomes Bishop.

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It’s maybe 23 years later, and Bishop now has his own company. What his company does is break into banks and steal money. Here he is closing out a fake account he has created for himself. $100,000 in bills go into his briefcase. He then dumps the money onto the table in the bank’s conference room and explains how it was all done and what the bank needs to do to  spruce up its security. He pockets a check for his services and goes back to his company’s digs, which appear to be in a warehouse of some kind. This is a shoestring operation.

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Two feds show up. They know Bishop is Brice, and they are not friendly. They are with the NSA and either he cooperates with them, or he goes to jail. They want him to steal a device from a mathematician who has developed it for nefarious purposes.

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Bishop enlists his employees, one of whom is a cashiered CIA snoop named Donald Creas and played by Sidney Poitier). Here we see Bishop sneaking past a hotel clerk while a co-worker distracts the clerk with a phony package delivery.

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They get the device, a “black box,” and the horror sets in. While the crew is celebrating their score and contemplating the big check they will receive at the hand off the next morning they discover the value of what they have stolen. It provides the user means to crack the most advanced encryption in use. They realize this is a prize many would kill for, and that turns out to be true. The two “NSA” types are not (currently) with the NSA, and they plan to kill Bishop and not make the payment. At the hand-over Crease, waiting in the getaway car discovers from a newspaper headline the mathematician has been murdered, and he summons Bishop back to the car before he can get the payoff check, which check was likely just an illusion.

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The box is gone, along with the two phony NSA spooks, and the crew is out the payoff. Then the group that obtained the box kills a Russian spook and his driver, and they kidnap Bishop, taking him to their headquarters and a room with a massive computer that has all the appearances of a period piece Cray supercomputer. Head of the operation is Cosmo, who did not die in prison as advertised. Cosmo warns Bishop off any future interference, and Bishop is dumped off on a deserted street.

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To cut to the chase, the crew figure out where Bishop was taken, and a massive sneaker escapade gets them the black box. No time to celebrate, though. The real NSA is onto them, and once again threats of prison are leveled at Bishop, by none other than James Earl Jones, here playing NSA Agent Bernard Abbott. Bishop’s crew agree to cough up the box in exchange for all the goodies they had expected to obtain with their expected payoff. An agreement is reached, and Bishop hands over the box.

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Ha! The joke’s on  the NSA. Bishop has retained the crucial circuit that does the decryption, and the movie ends with a TV announcer giving the sad news that the Republican Party treasury has been looted. On the bright side, on the same newscast, anonymous donors have made huge contributions to Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and the United Negro College Fund.

This plot is quaint on a number of points. About 1969 I was working with one of Seymour Cray‘s first computers, so I  was sort of aware of what the computer world was like back then. 1969 was too early for big banks to have their computer operations on-line and vulnerable to remote looting.

The encryption  cracking was developed by a mathematician named Dr. Gunter Janek (Donal Logue), and his process has been incorporated into an integrated circuit. This device would be truly amazing if it really had the ability to crack modern encryption, even back in 1992. That is definitely a bit of science fiction, as the difficulty of cracking these codes is well-studied mathematics. The cracking can be accomplished, in principle, but requiring massive, need I say “astronomical,” amounts of computation. The short answer is, no.

Bishop hands over the black box to the two phony NSA types. One of them reaches into  a briefcase, ostensibly to retrieve the payoff check, but suspected of about to pull a gun. No. There is no way, with this much at stake, the two were going to blow Bishop away in a public place. After shooting Bishop their next act would have to be quietly slipping away and hoping nobody noticed the gunshot and the dead body.

Anyhow, Cosmo has multiple opportunities to kill his former friend and former dorm mate, and he does not. Old college ties and all that. Cosmo is revealed as super altruistic—he’s doing all this to bring down major industries and the entire fabric of world economics. That will reduce humanity to a level playing field with everybody equally impoverished. And  to accomplish this in the name of world peace he has a Russian spook and his driver gunned down on a public street?

In the final encounter, Bishop’s crew has the black box, and they are back at their safe place, and in bursts the real NSA with real guns. And Bishop negotiates the handover of the box? If the NSA team was ready to negotiate, why the guns in the first place?

It was pleasant, in today’s political climate, seeing in the end the Republicans looted and all their money going to liberal causes. Who could have imagined 25 years ago?

I first caught Poitier in what may have been his breakthrough role. It was Blackboard Jungle in 1955, and it introduced film goers to rock and roll, with Bill Haley & His Comets playing Rock Around the Clock. Poitier was a high school tough, and Glenn Ford was a newby teacher at South Manual Trades high school in New York City.

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Poitier went on to garner an Oscar for his role in Lilies of the FieldShoot to Kill is the film I am waiting to see again, and I will do a review if it ever pops up on Hulu or Amazon Prime Video.

In 1991 Katie Hafner and John Markoff came out with their book, Cyberpunk. It detailed the exploits of Kevin Mitnick, Pengo and Project Equalizer, and Robert T. Morris. These were escapades that made headlines in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. These cases never came close to the level depicted in the movie, which plot seems to have presaged the level of criminal sophistication seen in modern cyber crime. Cliff Stoll’s book, The Cuckoo’s Egg is a detailed account, unmatched at the time,  of an extended computer crime escapade. It was published in 1989 and recounted Stoll’s encounter with Project Equalizer. At that early stage the protracted attack on American government computers never reached the level of  sophistication seen in the movie. That level appears to have been matched only years later.

A lot is made in the movie of cracking passwords. The truth is that fairly simple passwords, involving non-language combinations of letters and numbers, are beyond the ability of a computer to crack. Direct password attacks are routinely thwarted by the simple device of locking accounts after multiple log in failures and by notifying users of such attempts.

Successful intrusion is typically accomplished by:

  • Social engineering, convincing somebody to give out a password
  • Phishing, tricking a user into suppling a password in order to execute a bogus login
  • Security compromise, rogue or careless system  administrators [This was the approached used by Edward Snowden.]
  • Network snooping, intercepting network traffic and decrypting secure communications and stealing passwords sent in the clear

These approaches do not provide the drama and rapid development required of this movie plot.

A fact not reflected in most fictional tales of military espionage is that secret information is not kept on computers connected to outside lines. Thefts of classified government information have always involved somebody walking out of a secure facility with a copy of the stolen data. This is the approach used by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

A prize find from Amazon Prime Video. It’s an interesting and well-constructed crime, mystery yarn, well directed and photographed. The acting is passable, as well. It’s The Fake, which came out in 1953 from United Artists. It’s about dead sure I never saw this on the big screen as a kid. Details are from Wikipedia.

So, what’s it all about? What is the fake? We soon guess. The opening scene shows a ship unloading at a London dock. Various shadowy characters watch with interest. Several wooden crates are unloaded, marked “Tate Gallery.” The Tate is a famous London art gallery. We guess the crates hold paintings destined for the Tate.

One crate, in particular, draws special attention from the figures lurking in the shadows. One, marked number 11, gets the nod. An unruly character approaches the dockworker carting the crate to its destination. He deliberately starts a fight, which distracts everybody, well nearly everybody. During the distraction the number 11 crate is spirited off to a waiting lorry, and a substitute is put in its place. One of the shadowy figures, Paul Mitchell (Dennis O’Keefe),  observes this and gives chase. He has been hired to look after the security of the paintings. His intervention is intervened by another shadowy character, a Mr. Smith (Guy Middleton), special investigator for the insurance company carrying the load for the priceless shipment of paintings.

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Anyhow, matters get sorted out, and Mitchell shows up at the Tate with the real painting. It’s Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna and Child, and Mitchell has figured it was scheduled for theft, so he had the ship’s captain bring it across from America in his safe. The real painting is placed in its rightful place in the museum, and the fake from the substitute crate is removed.

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There is a big reception at the museum, and all of the art swells of London show up. One guest, who arrives uninvited, is disgraced artist Henry Mason (John Laurie), let in the back way by his daughter Mary (Coleen Gray).

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Mitchell takes an immediate shine to the lovely Ms. Mason, but he is especially interested in the father. He suspects Henry Mason has been producing fake masterpieces, and he seeks to obtain a copy of Mason’s work to check out his hunch. To do this he commissions Henry to paint a portrait of the daughter, and, upon viewing it at the Mason home, he takes with him, instead, a smaller painting by Mason.

In the meantime, a master thief crashes the gallery and makes off with the real Madonna.

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The art expert at the museum confirms Mason’s work is identical to the fakes, and the finger points to Mary’s father. Mary is distraught, and the romance between Mary and Paul Mitchell begins to fall apart.

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But, Mitchell digs deeper and gets too close to the truth. The man behind the fakes and the theft of the Madonna, plus two additional da Vinci thefts from other museums, finds it expedient to have Henry Mason killed off, in a suicide fashion.

Mitchell is sure it is not suicide, and it is not. Villainous art buff, Sir Richard Aldingham (Hugh Williams), is behind the whole thing. He has ordered Mason’s killing, and he needs for Mary to be killed, as well. He directs his henchman, Weston, (Seymour Green) to make it look like a suicide. Weston, refuses, and Sir Richard murders him by putting poison in his drink.

Meanwhile, Mitchell and Smith tour the late Henry Mason’s workshop, and Mitchell spots a painting. He has seen the setting before. It’s Sir Richard’s study, only the painting shows the study with the stolen da Vincis in place on the wall. The paint on Mason’s final work is still wet. It’s a message from beyond the grave, fingering Sir Richard.

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Meanwhile, Sir Richard has taken Mary’s demise upon himself. On a pretext, he picks her up in his car and takes her back to his place. But Mitchell is already there. When the evil Sir Richard takes Mary back to his study for a final drink he turns on the lights and sees to his shock that the wooden panels covering the stolen paintings have been pulled back. Mitchell confronts Sir Richard with the hard evidence of his crime, and Sir Richard responds by pulling a pistol from a desk drawer.

Mitchell responds with a brilliant bluff. He holds up a vial of acid and threatens to destroy the Madonna. Besides, a missed shot will perforate the priceless work. Mary to the rescue. She knocks the gun away and foils Sir Richard’s evil intent.

Mitchell follows through with his threat and dashes acid on the painting. The paint dissolves and runs down the canvas. Mitchell has previously put the fake in place of the real Madonna.

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It’s the end of the line for Sir Richard. Later we see the real painting on  exhibit at the museum, and Paul Mitchell stops by to take Mary out the door, supposedly to matrimonial bliss. The strains of Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition wind down, as they have been playing off and on throughout the drama.

A few plot absurdities blind-side this production.

  • The theft of the fake painting at the dock is crude beyond what is required. The thieves think a longshoreman’s brawl is going to distract security enough to cover up the switching of the crates. No way. Any number of people present would have spotted the subterfuge. In fact, Mitchell does.
  • The murder of Weston is also an unbelievably clumsy affair. Slipping your henchman a poisined drink right there among your collection of stolen art, and then expecting him to walk away and die, which he does? No. Just no.
  • Mitchell figures out Sir Richard has the stolen works behind the panels in his study. He goes to the museum, gets the fake, takes it to Sir Richard’s house, replaces it for the real Madonna, and then waits for Sir Richard and Mary to arrive. Really? There was no indication Sir Richard would be coming home soon. Sir Richard has gone off to set in motion a sequence of events to end Mary’s life. He tells her he is taking her out of town. Apparently he takes her back to his study with the idea of slipping her a poisoned drink. Nobody else knew he would be taking this round about way. And Mitchell waits and waits for Sir Richard to arrive, and he never calls for backup. When Sir Richard becomes threatening, only sweet Mary is on hand to save his life. Unbelievable.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

It was 10 months ago I signed up for Amazon Prime Video. Their business model seems to be to put out a set of select offerings for a period and then replace them with new offerings. Items available on DVD from Amazon and on Amazon video (rent or purchase) sometimes show up for free viewing. I waited for this one to pop up, and with the new year it did. It’s The Untouchables, from 1987 and starring Kevin CostnerRobert De Niro, and Sean Connery. It’s from Paramount Pictures. Details are from Wikipedia.

It’s based on the real-life characters Al Capone (De Niro), Chicago mob boss of the Prohibition Era, and Eliot Ness (Costner), head of a Treasury Department unit with the goal of bringing Capone and others down. The opening scene has Capone getting a shave, surrounded by what appear to be adoring newspaper reporters, hanging on his every word.

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Grim reality is quickly established. A store selling beer refuses to buy from Capone. A young girl is blown to bits by a bomb delivered by one of Capone’s enforcers.

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Ness arrives at the headquarters of the Chicago police to work with them.

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Working with the Chicago cops is like working in a fish bowl, as every move is telegraphed to the mobsters. Ness’ first raid on a supposed liquor warehouse is a bust, as the cargo turns out to be a load of parasols. Very embarrassing.

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A despondent Ness encounters foot cop Jimmy Malone (Connery), and later enlists him. He needs honest cops he can count on.

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Ness also picks up a recruit,Giuseppe Petri (Andy García), as yet untainted by department corruption. They stage a successful raid, putting them in Capone’s cross hairs. An addition to their team is Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith), a mild mannered accountant with a flair for gunfighting.

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Malone has the inside to the Capone organization  through a corrupt police contact, and the Untouchables stage a raid on a cross-border liquor shipment. It’s all action.

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The raid nets them valuable documentation that can send Capone up for tax evasion. Capone retaliates by murdering their witness and also Malone and Wallace. Capone celebrates by bragging to reporters that the feds have no evidence that can convict him.

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Now look at this picture. This is De Niro as Capone. What American politician does this remind you of? How about we do a movie about Donald Trump and have De Niro play the title role?

It all comes to a head. The remaining Untouchables learn Capone’s gang is taking a potential witness out of town, with the real aim to kill him in an ambush at the train station (likely Union Station). Then comes one of the best orchestrated gunfights in American cinema, as Ness and Petri take out Capone’s shooters one by one and save the witness. A baby in a stroller, caught in the crossfire, is kept safe by Petri as he prepares to ice the last remaining shooter.

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Ness gets wind that Capone has bought off the jury for his tax evasion trial, and he kills Capone’s star hit man by tossing him off the roof of the courthouse building. Capone goes down screaming as he is dragged off to the slammer.

Yes, a lot of this is overly dramatized.

At the Canadian border the Untouchables work with the RCMP to ambush a liquor shipment at a border crossing. It’s a bridge, so this must be Minnesota. Why the Canadians get involved is not made clear, since Canada has no legal issue with distilling and selling liquor. When the gunfight starts prematurely, the feds mount horses and ride into battle, which battle seems to wind up back at the shack where the feds were waiting in the first place. In between  the feds out gun the gangsters, who are armed with Tommy guns and more.

Capone’s gang wants to eliminate their own guy, who can testify against him. How does he do it? He pretends he is going to spirit him out of town on a train, and then  sets up an ambush at the train station. Overly complicated?

While Ness and Petri wait at the train station for their quarry to arrive, the situation is made complicated by a woman trying to work a baby carriage (and baby) up a flight of steps. About the time Ness helps the woman get her load to the top of the steps the bad guys arrive, and the gunfight erupts. While guns blaze, the carriage (with baby) starts thumping its way down the steps. It’s a re-creation  of the baby carriage scene from Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, but in this case the baby lives.

Eliot Ness was promoted within the Treasury Department following his success against Capone, but his life was generally downhill following. He died in 1957 at the age of 54.

Al Capone entered prison in 1932, at which time he was diagnosed with syphilis. He was released in 1939, but his health continued to decline, and he died in 1947.

The story of the Untouchables was made into a successful TV series that ran from 1959 to 1963.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Thanks to Hulu. Here’s one I was wanting (sort of) to  see. Now I have. It’s Gone in 60 Seconds, from 2000. It’s a Touchstone production from Walt Disney Studios, directed by Dominic Sena. Details are from Wikipedia.

Unless you’ve been  asleep, you know  this is about stealing cars. More specifically, this is a car movie. It’s all about cars, and it  starts this way. Nicolas Cage is Randall “Memphis” Raines, a master car thief who’s gone straight so his brother, Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) won’t get mixed up in the business. That doesn’t work. We see Kip and friend boosting a Porsche, from a dealer showroom no less. The heist is carried out to  precision, but the takeaway is amateurish, as Kip, driving, does everything you would want to do to attract the cops.

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That requires that Memphis Raines, now employed running a go-cart track out in Sticksville, be called to the rescue.

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It turns out that Kip has contracted with sadistic criminal  master mind Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston) to steal 50 pieces of high-end street iron. With the cops breaking up Kip’s operation, Kip is on the hook to Calitri, and Calitri is not the one you want to disappoint. As an inducement for Memphis to step in and fill the order, Calitri handcuffs Kip into a car that is about to be crushed at a recycling plant.

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Memphis attempts to  refund Calitri’s down payment ($10,000), but Calitri demurs, figuring to blackmail Memphis into completing the order (all 50 cars) for $200,000 and Kip’s life.

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I’m not getting  into the plot, but Memphis pulls in some previously retired notables and completes the order. All except one. Memphis gives himself the job of cobbing a 1967 Ford Shelby GT500, which he names Eleanor. Big scene in the movie. Cops are after Memphis and the GT500, and he sees his chance to  escape, using a rescue vehicle’s ramp to  jump a massive traffic tie-up on a bridge.

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Memphis gets the GT500 to Calitri, but badly damaged and a few minutes past the deadline. Calitri figures that’s a good enough excuse to kill Memphis and keep the $200,000.

In the meantime, two cops, Detective Roland Castlebeck (Delroy Lindo) and Detective Drycoff (Timothy Olyphant) are hot on  the case, and they arrive in time to bust up Calitri’s party.

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Suffice it to say the sadistic Mr. Calitri comes to an untimely end, with Raines saving the life of Detective Castlebeck in the process. This gets Raines a pass on the 50 cars stolen, all being restored safely to their owners, even the GT500 (Raines’ crew are expert restorers). All the boost specialist go back into retirement.

So what’s wrong with this movie? Start with the basic plot.

Kip took $10,000 down and a contract to deliver a list of 50 cars. He failed and with distinction. Smooth operator Calitri plans  to  recoup how? He’s going to threaten the life of Kip and even  Memphis if they don’t fulfill the contract in 48 hours. That’s going to  work?

Attempting to fulfill the 50-car contract in 48 hours is a schedule for disaster, which is what makes this movie exciting. There are 50 ways this can go wrong, and only one way it can  go right. A better bet would be to  drop a dime on Calitri and let  the police, who are already onto Calitri for capital  murder, take care of the matter.

Besides, words are spoken, and the contract is sealed. Really? What kind of contract is that? There is no guarantee that Calitri will keep his end of the bargain after receiving the 50 cars on schedule. What’s to keep him from reneging, killing Memphis and/or Kip and keeping the $200,000? Which was likely his plan all along.

Yes, none of this washes. Add the incredible leap across the traffic jam on the bridge, and not much is believable here.

This was co-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, famous for the CSI series,  Without a Trace, and Cold Case for TV. His film credits include Beverly Hills Cop, Flashdance, Top Gun, The Rock, Con Air, Armageddon, Bad Boys, Enemy of the State, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

You may also have seen Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified which ran from 2010 to 2015. I caught the series on Amazon Prime Video late in 2016. No plans for a review, however.

1984

Updated

Besides additional and notable idiosyncrasies, current President Donald Trump’s tendentious, and typically casual, relationship with the truth gets a lot of attention. Prime are his recent recent claims of massive voter fraud and the unrealized popularity of his swearing in ceremony. Continuing a thread that ran throughout his campaign, Trump’s campaign of deceit is leaving an indelible mark on his tenure. Not by accident, George Orwell‘s classic novel from  1949, titled 1984, last week topped Amazon’s sales list.

It will be worthwhile to revisit this iconic tale, made most famous by a movie of that title, that burst on the large screen in 1956. My acquaintance was through a feature in Life magazine that summarized, with illustrations from the movie. A more recent release came out in the title year and featured John Hurt (recently deceased) and Richard Burton, who died before the film hit the screen. The tie in with the current president is inescapable.

It’s the year 1984 in a dystopian world. It’s Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels gone wild on a planet beset by global and eternal war. The setting is London, but the country is now Oceania, and Oceania is ruled by an enigmatic and oppressive leader known only as Big Brother and seen only on wall-size view screens and prolific wall posters. Truth has ceased to exist. The following images are screen shots from the 1984 production.

There is no news, only propaganda, fed in a 24/7 stream. It’s purpose is absolute control, keeping the teaming masses in perpetual passion for their masters and against foes, real or imaginary. A five-minute hate session opens viewers to this world.

Suzanna Hamilton is Julia. Her passion, we eventually learn, is crafted. She has by some means discerned  the truth, that it is all a big lie. You cannot tell it from watching her scream, along with the others, at the images on the big screen.

Winston Smith (John Hurt) works in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to kill the truth. He rewrites history. Literally. He reviews publications that no longer reflect the party message, and he rewrites them to conform to the truth of the day. For example:

Winston’s job was to rectify the original figures by making them agree with the later ones. As for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a ‘categorical pledge’ were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 617-621). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Readers of the book, and present day observers who have previously read the book, will find the parallels with the current administration striking if not chilling.

Richard Burton is O’Brien, a party official who oversees Smith’s destruction. It is the job of the rulers to systematically eliminate subjects. The practice of entrapping visible personalities, exposing their offenses against the state, and rendering them unpersons, maintains the level of terror needed to preserve absolute control. Winston is being set up to take the fall for thoughtcrime. One word. Terms like this permeate 1984. It’s called newspeak.

And that hopefully concludes the parallel between 1984 and 2017. To round out the story, Julia contacts Winston and recruits him as her current lover. She has had many. Winston rents a room in a shadowy area in the proletarian section, where the proles live. Interestingly the proles are not subjected to the perpetual hazing inflicted on the bourgeois class.

Here Winston and Julia enjoy their bliss together, waiting for the day when their thoughtcrime will be discovered, and  they will  be rendered. Winston falsely projects that, when tortured—as tortured as he must eventually be—he will never betray Julia. He will always love her.

From a window in the rented room they observe a prole woman hanging out laundry on a clothes line and singing a tune that has been composed by a state factory. Here  is an example from the book:

It was only an ’opeless fancy,
It passed like an Ipril dye,
But a look an’ a word an’ the dreams they stirred
They ’ave stolen my ’eart awye!

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 1985-1987). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Their downfall comes precipitously and without warning. As they watch the woman hanging he laundry:

The birds sang, the proles sang, the Party did not sing. All round the world, in London and New York, in Africa and Brazil and in the mysterious, forbidden lands beyond the frontiers, in the streets of Paris and Berlin, in the villages of the endless Russian plain, in the bazaars of China and Japan— everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable figure, made monstrous by work and childbearing, toiling from birth to death and still singing. Out of those mighty loins a race of conscious beings must one day come. You were the dead; theirs was the future. But you could share in that future if you kept alive the mind as they kept alive the body, and passed on the secret doctrine that two plus two make four.

‘We are the dead,’ he said.

‘We are the dead,’ echoed Julia dutifully.

‘You are the dead,’ said an iron voice behind them.

They sprang apart. Winston’s entrails seemed to have turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of Julia’s eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear of rouge that was still on each cheekbone stood out sharply, almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.

‘You are the dead,’ repeated the iron voice.

‘It was behind the picture,’ breathed Julia.

‘It was behind the picture,’ said the voice. ‘Remain exactly where you are. Make no movement until you are ordered.’

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 3156-3167). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

The hidden TV camera was behind the picture, which now comes crashing down to reveal the likeness of Big Brother, speaking to them.

Julia is struck down and carried nude from the room. Winston appears before O’Brien and undergoes his torture. Winston has claimed that two plus two must always be four. O’Brien disabuses him of that notion. He holds up four fingers. This was famously pictured in the Life magazine item 60 years ago. Under torture Winston wants so much for two plus two to equal five, as O’Brien insists, that he eventually comes to that belief.

Winston also betrays Julia. The government has obtained a copy of the journal he has been keeping, and they know his secret fear is rats. As a child he observed rats crawling of the body of his dead mother. When his torturers strap a cage containing hungry rats over his face and threaten to turn the loose on  him, to eat at his face, perhaps starting with his eyes:

‘Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!’

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 4077-4078). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Winston’s destruction is complete. He is freed from prison to walk the streets as an unperson. He no longer exists. The Ministry of Truth has expunged all references of his existence. His recorded self-denunciation appears prominently on screens about Oceania. Eventually he will physically cease to exist. He will simply disappear unnoticed by anybody.

But before that:

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished.

He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 4230-4233). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Of course, this is only a work of fiction. Forget that master Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels made a stab at molding truth over 70 years ago. Forget that the Soviet Union pulled dissenter off the streets and published their self-denunciations. Remember it started with a few lies.

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.