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Directed by: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Robert Miano, Mystro Clark, Yvonne Zima, and Kylie Bax
Jack Holloway (Dolph) truly has it all. As a proud member of the U.S. Air Force, he gets to live his dream of flying a radical stealth bomber called the Storm Catcher, serving under General William Jacobs (Miano). When he’s not off going Mach 3 Turbo before it was a shaving razor, he spends time with his loving wife Jessica (Bax), and as a devoted football coach to a girls little league team featuring his daughter Nicole (Zima). However, the skies become less than friendly when someone dressed as Holloway kills a bunch of people, and, naturally, Holloway becomes the prime suspect. Breaking out of custody, Holloway and his buddy Captain “Sparks” Johnson (Clark) try to clear his name. But things get really real when Jessica is assaulted and Nicole is kidnapped. Realizing he’s in a race against time against an evil cabal of baddies intent on misusing the Storm Catcher for their own evil ends, will Holloway be able to stop the madness?
Storm Catcher is really a lot better than you probably think it is. Sure, it seems like another plane/guys-sitting-at-radar-monitors-giving-coordinates slog, and, to be fair, there are elements of that scourge of the later 90’s, but it manages to rise above the others, much like Holloway’s beloved stealth bomber. It’s certainly better than Freedom Strike (1998), and that had Tone-Loc. TONE-LOC. So there was a lot to prove. Out of the movies from the “Dolph hitting the skids” period of his career, this one is the best.
Unfortunately, things would sink back down after this brief high (no plane puns intended) when Dolph re-teamed with director Hickox the next year for the dreary Jill the Ripper (2000). So enjoy the small pleasures of Storm Catcher while they last, and there is plenty to enjoy here.
We see what the movie was trying to do. It was trying to go for that “theater-ready” vibe, what with the big-sounding score, the fact that it was shot well, and it includes some prescient dialogue that seems to apply more to today’s political situation than ever before. It even includes some classic action bits like people running away from an explosion, and plenty of people get shot/beat up/blown up. But no matter how hard they may have tried, alas, it was destined for the video store shelf.
Hickox never seemed to accept that he was a DTV director; at least for the first half of his career, notably with Full Eclipse (1993), he certainly tried to imbue his films with a professional, mainstream feel. Dolph probably liked his role as Holloway because he got to be the action hero as always, but he showed a sensitive side with the little league football scenes. Our guess is he would jump at the chance to do a Ladybugs (1992)-type movie, because he likes showing he’s more than just an action guy. That will probably never happen in our overly-PC world, where kids are discouraged from football, especially girls, and especially with no helmets. Dolph was probably miffed that footage from this movie was nonsensically and lazily edited into the abomination that was Agent Red (2000).
Robert Miano again proves he’s one of the more underrated actors out there, and the Storm Catcher plane is so technologically advanced, you can voice-text things you want to say (much like the Dragon program whose ads are constantly on TV), and it has minidisc abilities. It would probably be nothing without its minidisc player. Once again, Dolph delivers the goods against all odds. Feel free to catch this storm tonight.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty
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