Gridlock (1996)


(1996)- * * *

Directed by: Sandor Stern

Starring: David Hasselhoff, Kathy Ireland, Gotz Otto, Tony De Santis, and Marc Strange

"Jake Gorsky's got a habit of doing things his own way." - Captain Bane

Jake Gorsky (The Hoff) is a man you want on your side. As a fearless helicopter pilot for the NYPD's Armed Air Patrol, he flies through the New York skies stopping crime wherever he sees it. This Helicop, or Chop-Cop if you prefer, is a man who plays by his own rules and is always getting grief from his superiors, such as Captain Bane (De Santis), for his rogue ways. Yet he always gets the job done. His father Joe Gorsky (Strange) is his (White Yelling) Chief, but because they're a father-son team, it's quite the family affair.

Jake Gorsky is on the outs with his longtime girlfriend Michele (Ireland) because he's too dedicated to saving lives and protecting the city, so she feels neglected. Despite her seemingly selfish ways, Gorsky is trying to salvage what remains of the relationship. Because she's a tour guide at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is probably a job that someone could have, when evil baddies take over the bank so they can steal gold and money, Michele is inside the building and Jake tries to save her. 

Thanks to the fact that she takes Karate classes, Michele has fighting abilities and the two of them take on Mr. One (Fernandes), Mr. Two (Otto), and Misters Three-Twelve. Of course, there may also a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top...in this case, to the skies! Will Jake Gorsky and Michele thwart those dastardly gold-stealin' baddies? Or will their relationship be stuck in GRIDLOCK? Find out today!

It's Die Hard (1988) in a bank - or should we say Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) in a bank - but it's starring HASSELHOFF, dude! Hasselhoff has "it" - that indefinable star quality that makes someone compulsively watchable onscreen. Everyone has already seen Die Hard and its immediate sequels a million times before. So why waste time re-watching them when you can watch Gridlock instead? Mr. 'Hoff maneuvers in an elevator shaft on top of the elevator. He shimmies down a building using a roll-out fire hose. He cracks wise. A team of typically-Eurotrash baddies tries to get him, and their leader warns them that he, and I quote, "won't tolerate any mistakes". (This is even before they make any mistakes. This is pre-No More Mistakes).

Gridlock features Kathy Ireland in a gold vault. In Crackerjack 2 (1997), we had Carol Alt in the vault (which could be a series for kids in its own right. It could be like Elf on the Shelf) before we all reached the eventual Financial Planning Train Ride. It's a way to get our heroes where they need to be. Questions are raised. Such as, why does a bank have a fresh produce closet and a full, restaurant-sized kitchen? We're glad this movie exists.

In Skyscraper (1996), Carrie Wink (Anna Nicole Smith) was a helicopter pilot who quickly gets embroiled in a "Die Hard in a Building" scenario. She would have made a perfect match with Jake Gorsky. But Gorsky has a lot on his mind, what with bombs going off in New York City in a pre-9/11 world. But Michele doesn't seem all that sympathetic to his outright heroism. 

While there are plenty of exterior shots of NYC throughout the film, it was, perhaps unsurprisingly, shot in Canada. Canadian production companies were involved. That's not especially surprising, seeing as it's the home country of director Sandor Stern. That name will be familiar to fans of retro television and classic TV movies, which is where Stern spent the entirety of his long and fruitful career, with the exception of the standout theatrical feature Pin: A Plastic Nightmare (1988), which is a film well worth seeking out.

So we've got Kathy Ireland-Fu, the unique idea that the WYC is the father of the main hero, and Hasselhoff galore. All of the above is set to a noteworthy score by one Amin Bhatia, which helps to keep things buoyant. While the baddies are all named after numbers (Mr. One, Mr. Two, etc.), which is clearly a variant on the color-based baddie names in Reservoir Dogs (1992), if we have one real complaint about Gridlock it's that there's not enough Gotz Otto. As confirmed Gotz fans, we would have liked to have seen him do more. As Mr. Two, he's there, but that's about it. He should have been Mr. One.

Not to be confused with the Tim Roth and Tupac film Gridlock'd (1997), Gridlock was released by Platinum Disc here in America. Because it's a telefilm, the body count and violence levels are quite low, but your spirits will likely remain high thanks to unabashed Hasselhoffisms and hilariously blatant ripoffery. While not without its problems, we recommend Gridlock largely for the Hasselhoff factor (which should be a TV talk show), especially for fans of the DieHardInA subgenre.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty


Anonymous said...

Nice find! A fun movie and Hasselhoff was a worthy action star. I think this could have been a series of movies based on other films. David Hasselhoff lands his helicopter on a ship (under siege), on a ski resort (cliffhanger), on Alcatraz (the rock) or maybe just flies in a very large helicopter with passengers (con air / passenger 57). so many possibilities :)

Ty said...

Would've been a cool series for sure!