Sunday, June 17, 2012

No Contest II: Access Denied aka Face the Evil (1997)

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She's the right woman, in the wrong place, at the wrong time... again! 

Quick Blast Review:

Sharon Bell (Shannon Tweed), an action movie starlet has gone to visit her sister Bobbi at the art gallery she curates, along with her Director Jack Terry (Bruce Payne) in order to convince her into allowing a scene in her film to be shot there. Eric Dane (Lance Henriksen) happens to be conducting business at the gallery regarding a recovered statue from Nazi Germany. Suddenly terrorists shoot up the joint and Eric Dane reveals himself to be Eric Dengler - he revealed it in a way that seemed to indicate I should have know who that was; perhaps somebody from the first film which I've not seen - and hostages are taken. Eric is after a biological weapon hidden within the Nazi statue, with which he could sell for vast sums of cash. Just as John McClane was in Die Hard, Sharon Bell happened to be elsewhere in the building when the action kicked off. Thus begins Sharon needing to quickly change from action star to action hero, save the hostages and dispatch the bad guys.

This was actually pretty odd. The time passed super-quick (I looked at the clock once to find myself an hour in), the action was there... but the characters just weren't likeable. Lance was technically great as the maniac, but he was too sadistic for the rest of the film. I mean, we have a film that starts with an old switcheroo scene of Shannon doing her action movie scene on set making us, the audience, think this is what we are getting the whole movie... and then we end up making tear gas from paint tins for weapons, but then also a scene where Dane/Dengler forces hostages to act Shakespeare and get shot repeatedly for doing it badly. I dunno, it just didn't seem to gel for me. It's a little like crossing Last Action Hero with Die Hard and a sadistic Korean revenge-thriller.

It's interesting to see Shannon Tweed in this kind of role; an action film star who has to play for real. I get what she was doing, trying to make it look like many of her kicks and punches were 'dumb luck', and genuinely looking frightened and cowering in certain scenarios. I guess that's just not what I wanted. I was hoping for another Cynthia Rothrock - somebody who was well versed, well grounded and knew precisely what they were doing in the action department. Tweed's character was the equivalent of somebody performing CPR based on what they saw on TV. Bruce Payne was interesting playing a good guy, as I best know him as the terrorist from Passenger 57.

This was a case of most things being in the right spot - the machine guns rarely stopped firing - but the characters were either incompatible with the movie or just unlikeable, so I'm not entirely sure I'd recommend it. It's quite hard to nail down, but I guess I just watched the whole thing with a slightly confused look on my face. Maybe I'd enjoy it more the second time round?

The Final Fifteen:

With all the henchmen disposed of, but Sharon, Shannon and Bruce all trapped in the building together, they agree to a cease-fire in order to all get out of the locked building. After some double and triple crossing, Eric Dengler ends up locked in a glass chamber with the biological weapon which goes off and melts him, slowly.

Sourced From:

Literally pulled out of a two dollar bin after decent rummage, the old Hollywood R4 DVD presents the picture in an average fullscreen presentation that looks like it was sourced from a suspect master. It gets the job done but it's not the best. Runtime 86 minutes.



  1. Great write-up!

    Saw this ages ago, thought it wasn't too bad for a sequel to No Contest. Lance put in his usual good performance.

    1. Thanks Ty! Lance was great, I just didn't gel with the story too much.

  2. I thought this one was pretty good, I liked that Tweed's character was more "realistic", i'll admit the film was a bit "darker" then I was expecting and it wasn't as good as the first one, but it still worked for me overall.

    1. Maybe a second viewing would help, and checking out the first movie as well.

  3. Yeah I think you'd like the first one more, as it's less serious and more over-the-top, plus Andrew Dice Clay makes for a fantastic villain and Shannon Tweed is more like Rothrock as well.