by David Cornelius
Somewhere along the line, Steven E. de Souza went from being the cool guy that wrote the scripts for “48 Hrs.,” “Die Hard,” and “The Running Man” to the poor fella who penned “Street Fighter,” “Judge Dredd,” and “Knock Off.” To figure out how a career can suffer a downfall like this is to tempt headaches that last for days, and so I ignore analysis and jump right to the part where I explain that de Souza has now landed in direct-to-video territory, penning “Blast,” an adaptation of a German made-for-TV action flick (!), this remake starring Eddie Griffin as an ass-kicking tugboat captain. Mr. de Souza, welcome to the bottom of your career.“Blast” (the title brings to mind images of Stewie Griffin getting upset at something) is a competent work, in that it provides the dumbass cheap thrills renters of DTV titles expect, but it provides them with the least amount of effort possible. This is typical B movie yawnsville here - no surprise, then, that it’s directed by Anthony Hickox, B movie veteran who helmed such eye-rollers as “Jill the Ripper” and “Warlock: The Armageddon.” Consider that Hickox’s last film was the Steven Seagal DTV groaner “Submerged,” in which the hero faces off against terrorists who have taken over a submarine, and that “Blast” is about a hero who faces off against terrorists who have taken over an oil rig. That’s the sort of staleness we’re talking about here.
"It's bad news when Breckin Meyer's the best thing about your movie."
For a plot, we get Eddie Griffin as Lamont Dixon, a wisecracking sailor hired to install a new oil rig off the coast of California. Things are going fine until a group of environmentalist radicals (led by Vinnie Jones) sneak their way on board and take the place over, threatening to detonate an electromagnetic pulse, or shoot a missile and blow up the West Coast, or use all that chaos to rob banks, or something. Dixon, being, I dunno, a former Navy SEAL or Green Beret or Black Ops or some such, takes on the baddies and saves the day.
Did I mention it’s Christmas? No? Well, it’s Christmas, because apparently de Souza can’t go five minutes without trying to plug in another reminder of “Die Hard” here.
Now, I’ll mention that this movie will play fine for the low expectations crowd, the regular renters of any minor league action movie. The whole thing moves briskly enough, I suppose, and the arrival of Breckin Meyer, as a wisecracking computer hacker, adds a bit of relief to the proceedings (yeah, I never thought I’d be thankful for the arrival of Breckin Meyer, either). And hey, some folks out there will actually manage to enjoy such moments as the scene in which Eddie Griffin does a backwards flip-kick in order to dispose of an incoming grenade.
Which is to say, this movie’s stupid, but it’s harmlessly stupid. Then again, we also get the dependably awful Vivica A. Fox as a hard-ass FBI agent (no wisecracking here) whose scenes look, for the most part, as if they were filmed in a day at a separate location merely to help pad out the plot; the subplot about Dixon’s adopted son, and how he’s on board the rig and always in jeopardy (the kid’s such an grating presence that you’ll be rooting for a well-placed bullet); and minor appearances by Tiny Lister and Shaggy, who appear in the film, it seems, just so viewers can look up and say, “hey, is that Tiny Lister and Shaggy?”
Want more? How about hilarious chunks of dialogue like “It’ll be 9/11 all over the state of California!” - a line that would be laughable even without the flashbacks to “Team America: World Police.”So yes, “Blast” is pretty bad, but as B level action movies go, I’ve seen a whole lot worse. It is, I suppose, dependable in its delivery of no-brain thrills, and the kind of people who actually go out of their way to enjoy this sort of thing will do fine by it. But if the best thing I can say about “Blast” is that it’s not entirely terrible, then that’s not really a point of pride for the filmmakers. Like most DTV efforts, this one’s derivative, cheap, and instantly forgettable.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12643&reviewer=392
originally posted: 07/19/05 17:56:49