I just can't get enough of these Die Hard clones, I really can't. Here we are again with a cheap made-for-cable film starring Jeff Fahey and Ernie Hudson called Hijack (and in some territories, The Last Siege), brought to us by our friends at Royal Oaks Entertainment, responsible for other cheapy action films such as Executive Command, Moving Target and Maximum Security. Sitting in a two-buck bin I couldn't say no to a cast this promising. The Lawnmower Man and the fourth Ghostbuster! What a great combo.
You can probably work out the drill here. Eddie (Fahey) is an ATF agent with a vendetta. He botches a bust operation to capture the ruthless bad guy Anderson by letting him get away and is fired. Being home with nothing to do except stew on the failed arrest causes a strain on Eddie's marriage to Senator's aid Valerie Miller (Beth Toussaint). She flies out to assist Senator Douglas Wilson (Hudson), who has a strong anti-gun viewpoint that is ruffling a few people's feathers. With no work keeping him in town, he decides to surprise his wife with a bunch of flowers on the train that she is on with the Senator. What nobody realises is that the Senator's regular security guard has been replaced with a new guy... and the train conductor isn't all he appears to be, yet he seems to be familiar to Eddie.
"Somebody's overridden the override system!"
This is decent enough time-filling material. You get exactly what you expect from a cheap Die Hard clone. Jeff Fahey takes on the role of Bruce Willis here, making himself scarce when the train is taken over by Anderson posing as the conductor and his team of grunts - the "Brotherhood of Vengeance" (?!) - who have placed a nuclear device on board. And just like any good Die Hard clone, he picks off the bad guys one by one until just the lead bad guy is left standing. He protects the senator, makes amends with his wife, jumps from a helicopter onto the moving train and derails it causing a massive fireball. I know I say this a lot, but you truly have seen all this before. But whatever, it was still entertaining.
You can't help but like Ernie Hudson, no matter what film he is in. He's just a likeable guy. Hudson gives a solid performance as the Senator and has a nice shouting monologue at the Anderson character about guns versus patriotism. He also has to deal with the ultimate irony of firing an automatic weapon at a person in the last act. One thing I didn't realise until afterwards is that Ernie Hudson Jr. is in the film, playing a small fry role as the ATF phone operator. Another little tidbit of trivia; the false security guy and Anderson's second in command is played by Patrick Kilpatrick - who also played a bad guy mercenary in Under Siege 2! Talk about type-casting.
"I like killing politicians. I'm good at it."
Oh, and speaking of Anderson; did somebody say.. Brent Huff? You got it! Bad guy Anderson is played by the same Brent Huff we've featured in Cop Game and Strike Commando 2, those glorious jungle films from Bruno Mattei. This was a real surprise to me as his name is not mentioned at all on the front or back cover of this DVD, and boy did I fist-pump the air when his name appeared during the opening credits. Of course it's a decade later so I wasn't expecting him to be a tough-as-nails mercenary. What we got was a refined and subtle manic leader with a plan, who mainly got his grunts to do the dirty work. I have to say I was disappointed in the lack of hands-on action Huff got in this film but he does play the restrained, articulate bad guy pretty well. I still wanted him to mow down people with a machine gun though.
Apparently scenes from this film were cut into the Brian Bosworth film Mach 2. I've not seen that one yet, and based on the scathing review over at our good friends The Direct to Video Connoisseur, I'm not likely to get to it any time soon. What I found interesting was that in their review, it's mentioned that Bosworth starts the film by jumping onto the back of a train and taking it over from some hijackers, spouting witty one-liners as he goes. I have to assume that it's the same train footage used from Hijack. I wonder if it's actually Jeff Fahey running around on that train in Mach 2, with only close-ups of Bosworth? Clarification on that alone makes me want to seek that film out.
There's a review on IMDB that refers to this movie as "Under Par: Dismal Territory", in an amusing and degrading reference to Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. That's a little unfair I think. You get what you pay for here - a made for TV clone of a bigger budget, bigger starred film. It kept my interest for 90 minutes, didn't particularly insult my intelligence more than any other action film, and was reasonably well acted for the most part. Under par? Perhaps. Dismal? Not at all. See it cheap or better yet, see it on TV.
Pleasing enough fullscreen picture that just screams "midday movie" at you. Accompanying sound is as fine as it is unremarkable. Runtime approx. 90 minutes.
Cheap $2 RRP disc from a variety store, put out by Payless Entertainment/RAAM Multimedia here in Australia.
Unfortunately I couldn't locate one, and there wasn't one on the disc.