The Cold War has Just Heated Up.
Back of DVD:
CIA agent Bob Taylor (Charles Napier) arrives in Moscow with his new wife Susan (Kimberley Kates) with a highly secret vieo tape of Russian missiles leaving an unknown base near Moscow under the cover of darkness.
Are these missiles destined to be aimed at the US or are they being smuggled to a terrorist organisation. The Americans need to know where these missiles are going, the only person who can help them discover their destination is Armstrong (Frank Zagarino) an ex buddy of Bob who now trains an elite Russian anti-terrorist squad under the command of Colonel Zukov (Richard Lynch). Zukov is from the old guard, corrupt, ruthless, and will stop at nothing to gain control.
Here we have a late 90's Nu Image bad action flick and wow, does it ever live up to the description of 'bad action'. Particuarly the 'bad' part. But honestly it's a lot of fun anyway so here we go.
An American couple arrive in Moscow (Charles Napier as 'Bob' and Kimberley Kates as 'Susan'). This itself is funny as he is about 25 years her senior. Though I suppose I shouldn't be a prude about these things. Times are changing, and all that. They are very obviously being followed by another car as they leave the airport and Bob can't stop sweating. When they get to their hotel, Bob hides a VHS he had in his pocket (!) inside the rooms video player. Hopefully his wife won't tape over it with Russian sitcoms, because it's probably important.
Somewhere else in Moscow, a blond guy drops out of a helicopter on the roof of a government building and shoots a grappling hook to the opposite window. The guy swings over, smashes through the window, beats up the guard then kills the whole room of military officers by sliding along the boardroom table on his back and letting rip with his machine gun. Oh no, it was a fake, and the blood was just jam or something. Haha. Turns out his name is Armstrong and he has been hired by the Russian Colonel Zukov (Richard Lynch as a bad guy again) to train Zukov's elite KGB forces. Frank Zagarino as Armstrong is pretty funny in this. The guy is a pretty average actor and his line delivery is terrible but he has fun in this role anyway.
Bob goes to see Armstrong at his apartment. He tells him that something is going down in the Russian military - there are plans to sell nuclear weapons to the Middle East - and he needs to help to stop it. Just as Bob is about to tell Armstrong about the video tape, a bunch of mafia guys burst in and shoot the place up, killing Bob but Armstrong escapes out the window. Charles Napier really had a short part in this as he buys it really early on. When the mafia guy (Joe Lara, credited only as Ponytail because, like, he has a ponytail) shoots him and blood splatters on his shirt he gets upset and yells at the dead Bob "Look at what you did!" - then shoots him another half dozen times. One of Ponytail's henchmen chases Armstrong in his car through the city streets, swerving to miss a pram (nice cliche) and crashes into a pile of boxes.
Kimberley Kates is pretty hot. After the funeral of her husband, she gives the video tape to Armstrong. Not liking what he sees on the video he goes to see 'the only person he can trust', a young Captain in the army, and convinces him to go to the army depot and stop the sale of the weapons. Susan decides to have a shower and, well, you can definitely tell that a male directed this movie. The door bell rings (room service, that she didn't order) so she quickly dresses in a light shirt (without drying first) and answers the door. Even though she pulls a gun on the guy, I think his expression would have been the same regardless ("oh my god, boobies"). She spends the next ten minutes soaked, headlights beaming, fighting off Ponytail (who had hidden in the room service cart, that old trick), escaping out the window and running down the street (still soaked, and with no pants on). I was surprised at how much action Susan had in this scene. The best part is when she runs along the hoods of parked cars with her persuer trying to knock her off with his own car. Then she rolls under a tram!
There's a few other good parts in the movie like the chase on foot through the derelicts, the fight with Ponytail's fat friend ("No speak English good!", "Then speak English bad!"), the foiled sniper attempt on the President at the opera (which Susan gets all prettied up for) and the finale is classic bad action material with Armstrong armed with twin AK47's trying to defeat ticking clocks, untie Susan from a chair, and stop bad guys that come back from the dead for a final shot. Joe Lara isn't bad as the sleazy Mafia guy, but I loved his daft accomplice that kept getting in trouble from his boss for doing the wrong thing ("I kill her now boss?").
There's nothing at all new in this movie; you've seen all of it before, and you've seen it done better, but "Armstrong" is still a fun ride. What I found strange was that this came out in 1998 - it certainly feels more like a 1990 movie, but I guess that's what happens with cliched bad action flicks: you lose all sense of time. It's not done particularly well or anything but it's pretty serviceable as a late night bad action flick and doesn't overstay its welcome.
Being a Nu Image from the 90's the picture is full-frame. The picture is perfectly fine with good colours and deep blacks for a movie of this quality, and the audio is clean and clear. Nothing to complain about here. I reviewed the R2 DVD. Runtime 95 minutes.
eBay for 93c.