Jeffrey Dean Morgan!
All good actors. All very likeable and popular actors. None of them a stranger to genre films, especially comic book-based ones. All doing a good job with the script they were handed.
And therein lies the problem. It’s a terrible script, full of suck.
Thank goodness I borrowed this film from the library, because while I ended up wasting my time, at least I didn’t waste any money on it. Based on the Vertigo series of the same name by Andy Diggle and Jock, it was a flop at the theaters, and I’m here to tell you there’s a good reason for it.
And not in that “they changed it so much from the source material” way that usually makes comic nerds upset. No, in the “wholly unoriginal, cliche-filled turd” way.
God, what a horrible waste of money and talent. If you were going to make a shitty mid-80s action flick with bullshit macho dialogue, an unbelievably over-the-top evil bad guy, and an ending that’s the biggest “f*** you” to the audience who invested their money and time in this thing, why even waste a penny “optioning” a property? Just make your shitty movie, call it Extreme Patriots or Double Cross in Bolivia or Gunfight in L.A., release it straight to DVD, and save yourself the embarrassment, not to mention about $20 million off the budget.
I should have stopped watching, when in the first 20 minutes of the movie, the bad guy, CIA insider “Max”, proves he’s indeed bad by a) asking our CIA covert ops protagonists go ahead with the bombing of a drug dealer’s compound, even after they find out he has 25 innocent kids on the premises, b) having a US jet fighter shoot down a US helicopter evacuating said 25 innocent children, killing them all, and c) thinking he’s killed our heroes, who have been serving their country selflessly. But wait, there’s more! As if that wasn’t enough to convince you he’s really, really bad, there’s a scene where he’s walking on a beach, and has an attractive female assistant carrying an umbrella to shade him from the sun. But when a gust of wind blows the umbrella away for just a split second, and the assistant apologizes instantly, Max grabs a gun and shoots her! Because, you see, he’s a bad guy. A real bad guy.
But wait, there’s even more! So the entire point of the movie is that our heroes are on a quest for revenge, trying to expose Max’s slimy, evil ways, and restoring their good names so they can get their old lives back, but…
SPOILER ALERT (not that you care)
Max gets away in the end. There is no closure. It’s just one huge, open-ended, “let’s set it up for a sequel” ending.
As in: “f*** you, audience, for expecting a resolution.”
So in that same spirit, a hearty f*** you to Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, who wrote the bullshit screenplay for this movie, and all the assholes involved in greenlighting and making this movie.
What a complete waste.
(A version of this review appeared on my old Ferret Press blog on January 12, 2011)