One of the great good-bad movies – maybe of all time – this one stars a California trial lawyer-cum action superhero and martial artist John de Hart, who looks like a grinder from the early 80s Philadelphia Flyers (and even sports a vaguely Canadian accent).
The film came out in early 90s but boasts an aesthetic that somehow conjures up Rockford Files and The A-Team – and will have you missing the heartfelt realism of the latter.
The plot involves an ex-cop Rick Bode, played by de Hart, who faces off against a corrupt police officer/judge, then takes down a sinister cult, the details of which are casually revealed to him by a paramour lounging on a backyard swing!:
“We sacrificed a human baby, so I had to leave LA.”
So, tell me about your day?
And there’s even a trusty sidekick – none other than the great Wings Hauser of Magnum PI and Airwolf fame, playing Huck Finney (yes, Huckleberry Finn, a treat thanks to the film’s dilettantish auteur director de Hart). He plays a wastrel ex-cop who seems coked out of his skull and acts like he stumbled into the wrong film. A call to his agent would confirm that he was. His thespian chops and commitment to the role alone make him a stand out.
They duo does battle with the judge, all the while facing off with his goons who populate a local watering hole that looks like the rec room basement of a youth drop-in centre. The bar also features a crack band – as luck would have it – that’s fronted by the hero (!) who’s practically begged by a coterie of what passed for good looking women in the 90s, to get up stage on perform. The result below, a barely on-key Elvis past-his-kingly years “Shimmy Slide”:
To this cinema gumbo garbage, there’s a pinch of nudity (in the same bar – a one-stop shop as it’s both a peeler and a honky-tonk), a soupcon of of silly moralizing (“I need to report public nudity!”), and truly unnecessary sex scenes.
There’s also a touch of amateur fisticuffs that wouldn’t’ pass muster at a backyard wrestling 5th grade battle royale, editing that frequently cuts off dialogue and the cherry on top: a fists-first protagonist who’s partial to The Bard!
(At one point, a barfly demands, yes demands, that our hero Rick Bode recite “that thing Hamlet wrote” – he’s promptly corrected by Bode, who earlier graces us with the famous soliloquy – on that same backyard swing).
Watch it on Amazon and be sure and thank us – but more importantly Mr. de Hart for starring writing and directing this wacky gem.
**** (out of 5)
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