Delta Force 3: The Killing Game (1991)

Delta Force 3: The Killing Game
(1991)- * *

Directed by: Sam Firstenberg

Starring: Eric Douglas, Nick Cassavettes, Matthew Penn, Mike Norris, Hanna Hasfari, Jonathan Cherchi, and John P Ryan

Wouldn't ya just know it, now there's a new terrorist on the block, an insane homicidal madman named Kahlil Kadal (Cherchi). Evidently, he has a real beef with Miami, Florida and he wants to blow it up with a nuclear device. His motivation for just exactly why he wants to do this is never truly explained, although Miami Vice did go off the air two years before Kadal went nutso, so maybe that's what hacked him off so badly. It's really anybody's guess. 

The only logical way to counteract Kadal, so believes the President (of the United States) is to call in The Delta Force. Charlie (Cassavetes), Sam (Douglas), Richard (Penn) and Greg (Norris) - to avoid further confusion that's Nick, Eric, Matthew, and Mike, respectively - join forces with some Russians, Sergei (Ryan) (of COURSE his name is Sergei), and Irenia (Hasfari). Will the combined forces of the DELTA FORCE, a Russian, and a woman be enough to thwart Kadal's nefarious plans? And who will win THE KILLING GAME?....and what is THE KILLING GAME?

So, yes, there is a third installment in the Delta Force series, and no, it does not feature Chuck Norris. It does feature Mike Norris, so the Norris quota is satisfied. Apparently, Chuck was going to be involved with the project but he backed out at some point. Much like Death Ring (1992) (which also starred Mike Norris), with its infamous box cover touting the appearances of "SWAYZE - NORRIS - McQUEEN", it appears that Delta Force 3: The Killing Game is throwing in all its chips with the idea of featuring celebrity sons in the main roles.

While Nick Cassavetes and Matthew Penn kind of fade into the rest of the Israeli scenery, Eric Douglas explodes off the screen with a somehow-recognizable je ne sais quoi. Director Sam Firstenberg did two things right with DF3:TKG - One, he made Islamic terrorists the focus and not some nebulous, politically-correct threat. This predates Path to Paradise (1997) by quite a few years, and Homeland by many more. Two, he gave Eric Douglas plenty of screen time. His Jerry Trimble-esque antics liven things up. Whenever he's around Douglasin' it up, the movie improves.

The idea of the U.S. and Russia working together was a hot new idea at the time, fresh off the Berlin Wall falling. Of course, there are tensions at first (along with a silly training sequence), but, of course, this "Delta Force 2.0" (or should we say Delta Force 3.0) joins forces to combat the real threat facing both nations. Naturally, after training is complete and the battle begins, there is plenty of punching, kicking, shooting, blow-ups, and a very rapid-fire string of underground bombs (?) that are not far off from underground ninjas. Which in themselves are not far off from Bugs Bunny.

But, sad to say, there are issues here that put a damper on things. The middle section drags, and, as in a lot of Firstenberg films, there is no character development whatsoever. We never really get to know or become emotionally invested in our heroes. Sure, there are a lot of "war heroics" (what war is this again?), but what does it all mean when the characters we're spending our time with are one-dimensional? Yes, I know we're talking about Delta Force 3 here, but I still don't think that's an entirely unreasonable request. But, to counterbalance all that, we do get some funny death noises from the people that do expire, which sound a lot like satisfied grunts. It's hard to know whether they've died violently or have just eaten a large meal.

DF3:TKG doesn't really "feel" like the prior Delta Force films, it kind of feels like its own thing. Despite its lack of perfection, it's still probably worth seeing if you enjoyed the first two Delta Force entries.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett


Outside The Law (2002)


Outside The Law
(2002)- * *

Directed by: Jorge Montessi

Starring: Cynthia Rothrock, Jeff Wincott, James Lew, Stephen Macht, and Dan Lauria 

Julie Cosgrove (Rothrock) is a U.S. Government Secret Agent - so secret, in fact, that no one knows her exact job title with the feds. When an op in Cartagena, Colombia, goes horribly wrong, Julie decides to quit the force (if she were a police officer, presumably she'd have handed in her badge and gun). She then decides to pursue a quiet life somewhere in central Florida. As part of her plan, she changes her hair so she looks exactly like Reba McEntire. But, as tends to be the case with Reba, er, Julie Cosgrove, trouble finds her wherever she goes.

Her old boss who sent her on her fateful Colombian misadventure, Dick Dawson (Macht), is after her, so he sends federal goons after her. Then the local law enforcement, Detective Froman (Lauria), is after her. Not to be outdone, local head honcho/kingpin-type baddie Michael Peyton (Wincott) is also after her, and he has his own, mafia-connected goons such as a baddie named Ramon and another one named Cho Sung (Lew). With seemingly everyone gunning for Julie, what will she do? She may have to go OUTSIDE THE LAW.

There's nothing terribly wrong with Outside The Law, per se, but it is a bit on the duller side of things. Even Rothrock herself says it isn't one of her best. It's no surprise director Montesi went on to do mostly TV show episodes and telefilms. OTL has that flat, "Why Try Harder?" look to it that doesn't evince a ton of creativity behind the camera. Also, it seems that the film is building up to a big fight between Jeff Wincott and Cynthia Rothrock, which never happens. That was a disappointment. James Lew is not used anywhere near his full potential, and Jeff Moldovan plays only "Bearded Thug". The gathered cast is an impressive one, but overall we as the viewer are constantly reminded that we're in the 2002 DTV doldrums.

Besides Rothrock, who is always watchable no matter what, only Dan Lauria - somewhat of a hometown hero for us - stands out as Detective Froman. He wears Hawaiian-type shirts and speaks in a Huey Long "Kingfish"-style Southern drawl. It was a treat to see him do a role like this and we really enjoyed that. Stephen Macht was bland as Dick Dawson - Eric Roberts would have been perfect for that part, and he may have livened it up a bit more. Overall, there are some shootouts and beat-em-up scenes that keep things moving, but it's not exactly thrill-a-minute stuff here.

There's a Zack Morris-style pretty-boy character for Julie Cosgrove to fall in love with, which sets him apart from the constant cadres of creeps that are constantly harassing Julie in this small town. Everywhere she goes, she has to employ her Martial Arts on them, it seems. Bad for her, lucky for us, the viewer. Talk radio was a big thing back then and there are some scenes with talk radio on in the background, which puts us in a very definable time and place. Julie Cosgrove ends up adopting a dog she simply calls "Dog" because she's too much of a badass to come up with a frou-frou name like Fluffy or Twinkles.

While the film was set mostly in "Central Florida", it was shot in Puerto Rico. The director, Montesi, is Chilean, so maybe it was easy for him to communicate in Spanish-speaking countries. Maybe it wasn't so easy for everybody else. Montesi's most notable film to date is Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (2001), which is a highly entertaining romp, moreso than this one.

So, if you've ever wanted to see a Reba McEntire action film, Outside The Law is probably as close as you're ever going to get.

Comeuppance Review by Brett and Ty

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