Friday, January 7, 2011
Face the Evil (1997)
Slight change of pace as we go from theatrically released movies to a DTV Die Hard knockoff starring Lance Henriksen and Mrs. Gene Simmons herself, Shannon Tweed. Face the Evil is a sequel to Tweed's earlier movie No Contest which pitted her actress heroine against bad guys Rowdy Roddy Piper and Andrew Dice Clay.
And yes, I do need to see this more than anything.
This time out, movie star Sharon Bell is trapped in an art gallery with her younger sister and the director of her latest project (B-movie mainstay Bruce Payne) when bad guy Eric Dengler (Lance) and his crew break in to steal Nazi nerve gas hidden in some artifacts.
Yep, it's just as dumb as it sounds. Really, the only reason to see this movie is for Lance Henriksen as everything else is pretty much by the numbers riffing on the Die Hard Formula. Tweed crawls around in air vents, the bad guy is witty and urbane, hostages are killed and they're all in an enclosed environment.
There are some nice action bits though as Tweed has a pretty decent brawl with the obligatory female terrorist and there is a passable shootout between her and the bad guys with Payne and her sister lending a hand. Also good are the moments between Payne and Henriksen as both are quite good actors who bring a little more to the table than one generally gets in a low budget movie.
Sadly, that's about all the good stuff I can say about the movie. The film seems to take its time in getting going which is fine usually but while Die Hard had 132 minutes to work with, this clocks in at just under 90. This causes some pacing issues in the first half that have the viewer checking their watch every now and then. There is also one plot element that seems out of place given the relatively light tone of the movie.
The sisters are estranged due to father issues (he committed suicide) and in a rather tacky moment towards the end it's revealed he was molesting the Tweed character. I have no idea why the screenwriter felt this was necessary. If he was going for character depth, he probably should have remembered that he was writing a movie that would be starring a former Playboy Playmate, not Meryl Streep.
Still, this film is worth seeing at least once because you can never have too many Die Hard riffs in my opinion. Henriksen and Payne are their usual quality selves while Tweed...Well, nobody is paying to see her act and she's not the greatest fighter.
In the end, this is simply another riff on a great action movie that's watchable but could have used a bit more spark and energy.