Shadow Warriors (1999)

Shadow Warriors (1999)- * *1\2

Directed by: Jon Cassar

Starring: Hulk Hogan, Carl Weathers, Shannon Tweed, and Martin Kove

Mike McBride (Hulk), Roy Brown (Weathers), Hunter Wiley (Tweed), and possibly some other guy are the SHADOW WARRIORS. They’re a team of mercenaries, but they’re good mercenaries who rescue kidnapped children and fight terrorists. But that’s only, in true A-Team fashion, “if you can find them”. Tasked with fighting some baddies with chemical weapons and ballistic missiles, our Shadow Warrior team snaps into action. They even enlist the help of their buddy Andy Powers (Kove), sort of an auxiliary Shadow Warrior. The only problem is McBride was injected with some sort of poison and is slowly dying. Can he get an antidote in time? Will they stop the launch of the missile? Will they save the children? WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN?!?!

Shadow Warriors is a made-for-TV (TNT to be exact) outing, and you can really feel it. It feels like a pilot for a show that was never picked up, and it would have been (and should have been) a syndicated series that would air after Xena or Hercules or Relic Hunter on channel 9 on Saturday afternoon. That’s not to say there isn’t action – there are plenty of shootouts, fights, chases, blow-ups and the like. But it feels sanitized, and the whole outing is very paint-by-numbers.

That being said, there are plenty of funny moments to be had. Hulk Hogan attempting to act “troubled” is worth the price of admission alone. The Hulkster mows down middle-Eastern terrorists holding two large machine guns, and later gets the old Prerequisite Torture treatment. Carl Weathers brings his trademark charisma, and Shannon Tweed practically salvages the whole thing just by being there. Of course, you do get some classic Tweed-Fu. Martin Kove seems to be going for the David Letterman look of the day. They all walk in slow motion away from an explosion, and Hulk Hogan punches people on a hovercraft. So it’s not a total loss.

The whole thing is rife with stereotypes and stupidity, as you might expect from another pairing of director Cassar with Hulk Hogan around the same time as The Ultimate Weapon (1998). But you shouldn’t go in expecting more than that, and there is fun to be had with what’s there. 

So, if you’re willing to accept “The B-Team”, you could do a lot worse than Shadow Warriors.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett

Also check out a write-up from our buddy, The Video Vacuum! 


Mister Deathman (1977)

Mister Deathman (1977)- * *

Directed by: Michael D. Moore

Starring: David Broadnax and Stella Stevens

Geoffrey Graves (Broadnax) is an international superspy, or secret agent, or something along those lines. After a run-in with two low-level mobsters, Graves somehow gets embroiled in a complex web of kidnapping, murder, and Stella Stevens. He has all the tricks up his sleeve that a James Bond-esque dude might have, which will come in handy as he fights his way towards the mysterious Mr. Czee. This entails a lot of intrigue in South Africa, which comes to a head in a very perplexing computer room. Who exactly is MISTER DEATHMAN? Is it Graves or is it someone else? Perhaps it’s now up for debate…

A movie that ends as abruptly as it begins (or at least that’s the case with the version we saw), Mister Deathman is more of a spy adventure than a pure action film, but it does have some action moments and blow-ups. It certainly follows in the footsteps of other South African outings like Cobra Force (1988) and Vengeance Cops (1971). Maybe we’re just watching the wrong South African movies, but it seems like the one common denominator to all of them is that they’re afraid to go full-out action. They all seem to pull their punches to a certain degree. Whether that’s down to censorship or some other reason, we have no way of knowing. 

While we enjoyed David Broadnax as Graves, and there are some bright spots peppered throughout the movie, probably our favorite thing about it was the score. Unfortunately we don’t know the name of the composer as of now, but they did a fantastic job and it almost single-handedly keeps the movie afloat, especially in its slower moments (and there are plenty of those). Broadnax should have done more in his career. While the only other feature film he appeared in is Zombie Island Massacre (1984), he does get a “based on an original story by” credit here. Of course, he plays the lead as well. What ever happened to Broadnax?

Mister Deathman isn’t in any way bad, it just loses steam at a certain point and should have been more of a straight-ahead action movie. While it has a cool title, it doesn’t really live up to it, unfortunately. Low-budget, foreign-made variations on James Bond featuring a one-time lead actor are a tough sell for just about any potential viewers. 

Perhaps that’s why it never received a wide release, including the U.S. It should be noted as a point of interest that director Michael Moore (and no, it’s not the Michael Moore that we unfortunately know today, but a Canadian gentleman who passed away in 2013) was the second unit director on Never Say Never Again (1983). Maybe he felt that qualified him to make his own Bond with Broadnax. 

In the end, while this isn’t exactly essential viewing, it may appeal to those who enjoy undiscovered spy thrillers.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

Also check out a write-up from our buddy, The Video Vacuum!