Ballistica (2009)

Ballistica (2009)- * * *

Directed by: Gary Jones

Starring: Paul Logan, Martin Kove, Robert Davi, C.B. Spencer, and Andrew Divoff

 “My Ballistica is better.” - Dragomir

When the dastardly terrorist group Hand of Truth and its leader Dragomir (Divoff) threaten to blow up many people with something called a micro-pulse bomb, CIA director Riley (Kove) unleashes the ultimate weapon on the baddies: Damian Sloan (Logan). A meatheaded CIA agent with an attitude, Sloan has at least one particular trick up his sleeve that will render evildoers of the world useless...can you guess what it is? 

Sloan teams up with token female scientist Alexa (Spencer), but Riley is continually being kept in check by the mysterious Macarthur (Davi). After getting into a bunch of underlit fights, chases and scrapes, loyalties turn, and allegiances change, but Sloan stays overly serious throughout it all. Will Sloan - or the terrorists - finally go Ballistic(a) on us all? Find out today!

Ballistica is at least three things: 1. A supremely silly action escapade 2. The name of a Martial Arts style that incorporates guns into the physical movements that doesn’t look completely ridiculous at all and is taught by the inimitable Paul Logan 3. A concept that exists throughout time and space and that lives on in all of our hearts. 

If the movie had come out in ‘87, it would have gone to the theater. If it had come out in ‘94, it would have gone to video stores. In both instances, it may have found an audience. But in 2009, the era of chintzy green screen, grade-school CGI, back-projection car chases, and filming stuff in the dark so you can perhaps cover up some flaws, it’s hard to imagine anyone out there hearing of this movie, renting it or buying it, then nodding approvingly as they watch it. 

It’s quite hard not to laugh at the scenes of Ballistica, however (among other unintentionally funny moments), so this could be a movie you can round up some friends for and watch together and have some laffs.

So, just to reiterate, Ballistica is a thing. And who better to introduce it to the world than a man named Paul Logan (not to be confused with Crocodile Dundee himself, Paul Hogan). We all remember Logan from The Ultimate Game (2001), right?...right? He looks like a ‘roided-up Jerry O’Connell, has the charisma of a piece of shrimp toast, and also looks like a ‘roided-up Jason Bateman. He deals with his emotional pain by remaining shirtless as much as possible. You’ve heard of a therapy dog? Well he doesn’t have a therapy shirt. He might be our new favorite human being. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Logan. Because Logan’s not done being Logan.

There are some other fan favorites in the cast too, underscoring the fact that this movie would have been better off in the 80’s or 90’s. Martin Kove has a mustache, but, more importantly, a Southwest Indian vest he wears at crucial moments in his career. If there’s an emergency in the CIA Situation Room while he’s in his office, he throws on his Indian vest and runs to meet the urgency. Just like all CIA directors. And, just as suddenly as it appears, it enigmatically fades away, like an Indian smoke signal. He had a similar wardrobe in Endangered (1994) - maybe he’s doing the whole Seagal “buckskin jacket” thing. But with a vest.

Top fan fave Robert Davi plays the typical “suit” role he’s assayed many times before, but we always love seeing him, and his presence raises the level of the movie overall. Though in a scene in a conference room with Martin Kove, Kove’s voice seems normal, but Davi’s sounds like it’s coming through a telephone. Somehow, Davi manages to be both on the phone and in person at the same time. It’s truly uncanny. We’d say it’s almost Night of the Kickfighters-esque, but the sound of both the movie and the DVD is poor. If you watch the DVD, you’ll have to crank up the volume to hear anything. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, or we may not have noticed Davi’s tele-ventriloquistic abilities. 

Also, the great James Lew and Simon Rhee appear in nothing roles as “Chinese Guard #1” and “Chinese Guard #2”, respectively. That’s just shameful and wasteful - they deserve better.

Just like how Sheryl Crow’s teeth are whiter than white, Ballistica’s budget is lower than low. But the movie is TRYING, which is more than you can say for other DTV crud of a similar ilk. The fact that it’s all taken so seriously is absolutely hilarious (unless it’s not and we missed the joke) and makes it worth watching. As we’ve discussed before, there are many types of dumb - some good, some bad. Luckily, this is fun dumb, so you can easily have fun watching Ballistica.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty 


venom said...

I found this film due to renting every single action movie on Family Video's new release shelf and it was pretty good.

How do you tell when a car chase is done via back projection BTW? I could never figure that out, i'm really bad at noticing errors in films in general(which is a good thing most of the time).

Ty said...

Heard of Family Video. What other movies did you find there that you liked?

Usually back projection is obvious when the background doesn't really match what's going on outside...in Ballistica it was very weird and distracting. Haha.

venom said...

Oh I found way too many there to list, most of the PM movies like Last Man Standing, Riot, The Sweeper, Epicenter, etc were found there as were many Nu Image films.

In some cases I even found films that weren't listed on IMDB(Flesh Hunters being one of them).

That's interesting about back projection, I usually get too enthralled by action scenes to notice that sort of thing, it always surprises me when I visit the IMDB page of a film I just saw and notice it had several goofs that I didn't pick up on.

Ty said...

We try not to dwell on it either, It's something to point out in the review. It's all part of the fun of Ballistica. Not a negative.

Very cool about finding those gems at Family Video.