Thursday, October 2, 2008

Alastair MacLean's Death Train (1993)

I actually own this movie by the name of The Detonator, which sounds classier and (seemingly) deliberately hides the fact that most of this movie revolves around a train. Now, while this move (centering the plot of a movie entirely around a large transportation vehicle) has certainly worked for Keanu, it can easily get a little bit old. I guess that's why they decided to spice up this flick with a couple of rocket launchers, some nukes and, of course, the requisite sexism. Final consensus seems to be that this is a top-notch made-for-TV movie. While it's not hard to see the limits of that statement, I have to agree. This movie is not bad, not bad at all. On the other hand, it's certainly not good. In fact, the only thing saving it is the impressive (B) cast list, including Patrick Stewart, Pierce Brosnan, Christopher Lee (Saruman), Ted Levine, and Alexandra Paul, who (unbeknownst to me) made her fame in one of those epic red one pieces as a standard on Baywatch. However, her presence here is certainly limited since she keeps her clothes on. That and she's just a little butch for my taste. What a waste. The entire movie is spent with Pierce insulting her talents because she's a woman and Alexandra consequently acquiring a larger and larger arsenal with which to decimate the male opposition. She's in control of all the violence, so Pierce is essentially a useless piece of man-meat. And while they try to emphasize his soft side (he doesn't run over a rabbit during a motorcycle race ["there's only one type of bunny I'll stop for!" jeers his competitor]), it's hard to trust anyone with a shitstache. The movie is actually summarized best by the clearly anticlimatic ending during which they are unable to shut off the second nuke only to find that it was a purposely designed as a dud by the now deceased German scientist who was paid to build it (I just wanted to see if I could do it...). Good thing we have those trusty/softie German scientists to rely on! Lord knows, the U.S. of A. wouldn't be where it is without them! Anyway, about the only thing worth noting about this film (and it's not the fact that they made a sequel which I, [unfortunately?] own) is that it's filmed principally in Slovenia and Croatia (where else could they rent and destroy a large train while filming from the heavens?) which means that it's not only shot on location, but it's all handmade special effects. Otherwise, it's mostly forgettable. In fact, I can't even really post any more about it because I don't remember what happened. And in this case, I don't think that's a good thing. Sadly enough, it shares its name with several other films and some real life Romanian tragedies. Bonus points for the awesome cover art and the blatant James Bond rip-off. And you gotta love that the director sticks to what he knows!

Final Judgment: "A dreary action piece never meant for anything besides Thursday night USA filler material."

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