Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Executive Command aka Strategic Command (1997)

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Tagline:

Five international terrorists. One Gulf War hero. 40,000,000 innocent lives at stake.

Back of DVD:

Terrorists have stolen a shipment of germ warfare devices and Rick is asked to profile the terrorists and come up with possible scenarios and solutions for recovering the germ warfare bombs.

Alone and unarmed, 30,000 feet in the air, Rick must stop this gang of terrorists lead by the craft madman known as The Panther.

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Movie Review:

First thing off the bat. That back cover of this DVD is wrong. Like, totally wrong. And I only included half of it as it was too painful to type the rest out; it went for about five paragraphs and obscured half of the back artwork. Let me list the things that are wrong with the cover description:

  • Rick is not a hostage negotiator
  • Rick is not a family man who builds swing sets for his daughter
  • Rick does not foil a bank robbery and there are no ruthless thieves
  • Rick does not single-handedly kill said thieves
  • Rick does not shoot the leader in the head, narrowly avoiding a hostage
  • Rick does not go on a holiday to Washington
  • Rick does not profile the terrorists and come up with possible scenarios and solutions for recovering the germ warfare bombs
  • Rick is not 'alone and unarmed'
  • THE LEADER OF THE TERRORISTS IS NOT CALLED THE PANTHER

I had to capitalise that last part because it is just so ridiculous. I don't know what movie this cover was talking about but I really have to see it. The only thing they got right was that Dudikoff was called Rick.

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Anyway, you have seen this movie before, but then it was called Executive Decision. This made-for-tv rip off lifts many scenes from the Kurt Russel/Steven Seagal version. Dudikoff plays the Kurt Russel character, and his wife in the movie (played by Amanda Wyss) plays the Halle Berry character. Dissapointingly though there is no Steven Seagal character that gets sucked out of a telescopic tunnel between two airlocks - though there IS a telescopic tunnel and the same drama does unfold, but no-one dies.

But I digress. Michael Dudikoff plays Doctor Rick Harding, an ex-Iraq war vet who now makes chemical weapons for the FBI. Before the opening credits have even even ended, Dudikoff's lab is infiltrated by terrorists who kill a few security guys, punch-on with Rick and run off with a deadly nerve warfare chemical called Bromax 365. Apparently the stuff is so deadly it will kill you in less than fifteen seconds, unless you manage to inject the back of your own neck with adrenaline. One of the terrorists breaks a bag and he starts vomiting white liquid just like in The Stuff. Certainly doesn't look like a pleasant way to go.

Rick goes home to his wife who tells him she is interviewing the vice president on a flight to wherever. The next day she goes to the airport to board the flight but her cameraman didn't show. Luckily though 'the agency sent a replacement' who happened to be the same lead terrorist from earlier (played by Richard Norton) but this time wearing an appalling pair of glasses. Everyone boards the plane and they take off, but stowed in the hold are the rest of the terrorist gang who proceed to plant a bomb on the plane containing the Bromax 365 chemical. Cue takeover of plane, demands for a foreign prisoner heldon American soil to be released, hostages killed, etc.

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Lead terrorist Richard Norton doesn't play a guy called The Panther, but he does play a guy called Carlos Gruber. I thought that was a nice name check to Hans Gruber from Die Hard there. He has a sassy female associate who seems to get off on killing other women, and a bunch of army types with an array of accents as backup. The only other guy I recognise in this is Paul Winfield who played a head FBI type guy, similar to the head police type guy he played in The Terminator.

Dudikoff has only a couple of punch-ups in this movie and they aren't that good. He has one in an elevator at the beginning, and a couple on the plane later. He does clobber a guy with a cooking pot but that is about as interesting as the fights go. He also gets to land the plane while getting instructions from a guy who is in the next compartment. Now I know the guy had been hurt but come on, he could have made it to the cockpit. Speaking of the plane, there is an awful lot of stock footage in Executive Command of planes and jets taking off, landing, firing, but unfortunately not crashing. Not many explosions in this one folks, though there is a nice shootout at the pier early on in the piece that has cars crashing through boxes and a few barrels blowing up.

I paid two bucks for this and that was it's RRP. It's worth about that. If there wasn't a movie called Executive Decision I'd be a bit more favourable towards Executive Command, but there was and I'm not going to be. It's not all bad, you've just seen it before. Okay to watch if it's on late at night.

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The Video:

Curtosey of Flashback Entertainment we are presented with what I think is the correct OAR a 4:3 full screen picture. The quality of this is fine; colours and sharpness are good, blacks are deep. Some of the stock footage is grainy. Sound is clear. Overall the presentation reflects the budget of the movie.

Sourced From:

Dick Smith for $2 in the bargain bins.

Trailer:

More Screens:

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5 comments:

  1. I've considered this for my next Dudikoff post as well. I must ask, being that you're Australian, is Norton a big deal over there?

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  2. I actually liked this one better then Executive Decision, mainly because it's alot shorter, I thought the latter film was WAAAYYY too long for it's own good and could've had a t least 30 minutes trimmed without losing anything important, and I found Michael Dudikoff more compelling as a hero then I did for Kurt Russell, who I found extremely bland and uninvolving. Pretty funny thing about the DVD cover though, I come across dishonest back covers before, but none that had THAT many mistakes, and over here Strategic Command has an accurate plot summary on the back. Anyways this is an alright film, but not one of Dudikoff's better moments-for those you should check out American Ninja 1, 2, and 4, Human Shield, Soldier Boyz, and Avenging Force.

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  3. Honestly, I had never heard of the guy. Looking on IMDB he is in CyberTracker and Rage and Honour 1 and 2, movies I will check out soon enough. His Under the Gun looks like it's the goods as well.

    The mistakes on that cover are to the point of pure fantasy. It's strange to make something like that up so I really wonder if it's meant to be from another movie.

    I've been meaning to check out the American Ninja movies and especially Avenging Force. Human Shield looks great, thanks for the recommendation.

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  4. I love that you can tell Dudikoff is a scientist because of his lab coat. I wish he wore it for the whole movie.

    I get what you mean about the Carlos Gruber nod to Hans. I'm guessing that Carlos is Hans' half-brother from back when their Nazi father fled to South America. Makes perfect sense to me. I bet they both have serious Daddy issues too.

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  5. Enjoyed your Review! When they threw up, it did look like "The Stuff"! Didn't notice that!

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