The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bulletproof (1988)

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"Matt, say it ain't so! An Adam Sandler buddy pic on the DTVC? It's not April 1st, is it? Did someone hack your Blogger account?" Nope, it's me here, you just have the wrong Bulletproof. This is one that features DTVC Hall of Famer Gary Busey and DTVC fave baddie William Smith. We're gonna be okay, I have no plan to sell you out for the short end cash reviewing bad Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider comedies. Also, our buddy Ty at Comeuppance Reviews has covered this one-- not the Sandler one either.

Bulletproof stars Busey as McBain, a crazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants police officer that makes his partner guzzle Pepto and his chief swear up a storm. Anyway, for some convoluted reason, the US military has purposefully sent a high-tech tank to Mexico to be captured by insurgents, along with the troops guarding it, one of whom is Busey's old flame-- Darlanne Fluegel, not LQ Jones, though the latter would've been awesome--, and it's with her capture that Army intelligence recruits Busey back out of non-active duty to be a "one-man suicide squad" (his words, not mine) to get them and the tank out, and destroy the insurgents.

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This started off like it might be the best Busey film this side of Point Break, and then it did something unfathomable: it went away from Busey and stuck us with some boring developing story surrounding the prisoners. What? But I thought this was a too sweet Busey flick, how could you do that to me? On top of that, as the action got rolling again in the last 20 minutes or so, a good chunk of that was wasted by some crummy rigmarole about how Busey and his woman don't know how to use the tank. Come on guys, cut that shit out. It's Busey, he should just be able to drive it. Get on with things. It felt like watching a soccer game between Barcelona and Real Madrid, where I'm like "stop diving and pretending you're dead and play the damn game, you're annoying me!" This was annoying me too.

And that's a damn shame, because this had some too sweet Busey moments. First you have the opening scene. Busey up on a scaffolding telling Danny Trejo "I'm your worst nightmare butthorn!", and everything immediately after lives up to that line! The shootout, the chase, Danny Trejo throwing grenades out the back of an ice cream truck, then the explosion, and the angry police chief lecturing Busey. I was hooked. I wasn't expecting to get more LQ Jones and Darlanne Fluegel shackled in a dirty bombed out church plotting escapes and being defiant to baddie Henry Silva than I was more Gary Busey kicking ass. Then I thought we might be back in business around the hour mark, when Busey is roped to an enormous wooden cable spool, which Fluegel detonates a grenade next to, sending him rolling off into the sunset. Amazing! But then we're back to more silliness with the captured troops, followed by the annoying "we don't know how to run this thing!" when we know full well you're going to know how to run that thing. I'm sorry, but you can't give me that first scene and then mail it in for the rest. Come on Butthorn, let's get real here.

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They kind of snuck William Smith in here on us. He's listed in the opening credits as "Bill Smith". Sneaky bastards. Not only that, but in his first scene he plays a Mannix villain whose partner is none other than Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. It was so fantastic. Then, to make it more fantastic, he shows up in the end as a Russian military officer. Yes! How does someone make a movie with this level of awesome combined with such an enormous level of suck? I blame you, story writer Fred Olen Ray, I blame you.

I liked Henry Silva as the baddie, but they went too far and made his character too dark and realistic. I didn't get it. Load him up as a big time DTV baddie and let 'er rip. He was too obsessed with Darlanne Fluegel. He needed to be obsessed winning, like Charlie Sheen. I don't know what his ethnicity was supposed to be either. Arab? Italian? Korean? That part was good. Him raping Darlanne Fluegel, not so much.

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I had to wrap up with "I'm your worst nightmare Butthorn!" Utterly fantastic, but when a film maker tosses something like that in, that's a lot to live up to, especially when it's at the very beginning. They spent that nickel too soon, but because they spent it so freely, we thought they had all kinds of cash, only to find that that was it, and we were stuck paying the bill. But that should in no way diminish how great a scene that was-- if only they could've built on it, as opposed to forgotten about it completely.

If you can get this cheap-- and that's very cheap, like almost free--, I'd do it for the great opening scene, and a few other great Busey moments. Overall though, it's more blah than butthorn, which is a shame, because it could've been fantastic. You decide how much it's worth it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094813/

12 comments:

  1. I love Busey's manic performances.

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  2. Yeah, and I wonder if he was too crazy on set too, and that's why they had all that crap in the middle; but butthorn is vintage Busey.

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  3. Hilarious review. "Danny Trejo throwing grenades out the back of an ice cream truck" should sell any movie to me, and if I do find it in a dollar bin I'll pick it up.. but what a shame about all the blah in the middle.

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  4. Oh man, if only it lived up to all that. Probably one of the best action sequences I've seen, but it all goes downhill from there.

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  5. I feel the same way about this movie in single detail.

    (There was a "Bulletproof" with Adam Sandler? I learned something today!)

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  6. Yeah, it was some buddy picture with Damon Wayans, a bad rip-off of Midnight Run actually, with Wayans as a cop transporting Sandler. It came out in 1996, same year as Billy Madison II: Happy Gilmore.

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  7. Nice review! The middle did drag a bit, but thank goodness for Busey for keeping it afloat.

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  8. I actually didn't mind the middle section that much, it could've paced better yes, but overall it was still pretty fun. And call me crazy, but I actually sorta liked the other Bulletproof, it's certainly more tolerable then Sandler's other films anyways, Damon Wayans was mostly what made the film watchable as he was pretty funny and made up for Sandler's unconvincing performance.

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  9. Also, would you consider reviewing the Busey film-The Chain?

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  10. Well, I do love watching Busey go crazy, but I don't know if this is worth it. There are other, and more easily obtained, films where he lets out the full crazy.

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  11. I liked Wayans/Sandler Bulletproof. A good old-fashioned R-rated buddy-action-comedy. I really miss those. Now, this one? From Cinetel, usually reliable company at that time. Stars Busey and Silva with Trejo and Tagawa appearing briefly. Titled Bulletproof. The term "butthorn" is used. And Busey's character name is MCBAIN(!), for heaven's sake! This film could write and shoot itself and be brilliant. It was watchable and fun enough now, but honestly, this was no routine job. No, some REAL effort was definitely required to make something this average from these elements.

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  12. By the way, wasn't this also the film where the opening credits weren't just "Bulletproof starring Gary Busey" or "Gary Busey in Bulletproof" but which proudly stated "Gary Busey IS Bulletproof"? That should be worth an extra point! McBain is not bulletproof, but Gary Busey? Busey IS bulletproof! And motorcycle accident-proof! And brain damage-proof! And...well, come to think of it, might not be brain damage-proof...?

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