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  Bulletproof The Password To Thunderblast Is Thunderblast
Year: 1988
Director: Steve Carver
Stars: Gary Busey, Darlanne Fluegel, Henry Silva, Thalmus Rasulala, L.Q. Jones, René Enríquez, Mills Watson, James Andronica, R.G. Armstrong, William Smith, Luke Askew, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Lydie Denier, Ramón Franco, Juan Fernández, Danny Trejo
Genre: Action, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Detective Frank McBain (Gary Busey) is on a stakeout with his partner Dunbar (Thalmus Rasulala), wide awake and watching a dockside warehouse while his associate snoozes, until he decides to amuse himself and puts a cigarette in Dunbar's mouth, waking him with a start and a choke. Just as he is about to be admonished, the ice cream van they've been waiting for pulls up and McBain leaps into action, taking a vantage point to survey the scene. As expected, the bad guys are not dealing with ice cream but weaponry, and with wild abandon McBain jumps into the fray to stop them...

Causing many a viewer to wonder whether the writers of The Simpsons had seen this in light of their action hero spoof, this McBain did not have an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent because he was played by none other than Gary Goddamn Busey in one of his immediately pre-motorcycle crash without a helmet movies. Doctors told the star he had become mentally unbalanced because of the accident and blow to the noggin, but watching this you might have a hint that he was a handful even before that, because his character here is, shall we say, a tad eccentric. From the first time we hear him call an adversary "butthorn", we can tell McBain is not a normal man.

As if capitalising on Busey's personal mannerisms, director Steve Carver and his team of writers (which included producer and low budget exploitation impresario Fred Olen Ray) emphasised their leading man's unconventional methods, giving him a character who at one moment will be plucking bullets out of his chest to keep in a jar, the next soulfully playing the saxophone on the beach while gazing longingly at leading lady Darlanne Fluegel. That's before we reckon with McBain's capacity for violence, which he displays at every opportunity - well, in regard to the heavies he has to open fire, and since they are all terrible shots even when aiming machine guns at our hero, what's an action man to do?

On the subject of those baddies, this may start off looking like generic cop buddy movie business, but it doesn't finish that way as no sooner have you gotten used to McBain tackling gangsters than he is called up to his old Special Forces job where he has to head off south of the border, down Mexico way, to retrieve a super tank named after a intestinal complaint: ladies and gentlemen, be impressed at the high tech Thunderblast. Naturally, this being the movie it is, the tank falls into the wrong hands, and they happen to belong to an unusual sort of Arabic terrorist Communist Central American rogue army troublemaker, not simply a double whammy of eighties action clichés but veering way off the scale in ticking the baddie boxes.

As you can imagine, by overdoing the evils a tad Bulletproof is ridiculous even without the presence of Mr Busey, but there's even more to this as McBain suffers major guilt having accidentally killed Fluegel's husband and his partner in the line of duty - and wouldn't you know it, what are the chances, Fluegel is a soldier who has been captured by those Arab commie terrorist etc villains! What a to-do, but McBain is dropped into Mexico where all this kerfuffle is going on by parachute (not that we see a skydiving Busey, the budget wouldn't stretch to that) and proceeds to marmalise a bunch of swarthy-looking extras and the odd famous person. Famous in the context of an eighties action flick, that was, as the inevitable Henry Silva and William Smith put in an appearance and try out some accents - Smith seems to be Russian, so it's quite the melting pot, this bunch of adversaries. Ending exactly how you'd expect, with lots of explosions, it was Busey who distinguished this idiotic cheese with his patented brand of crazy. Music by Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Steve Carver  (1945 - )

American director B-movie director best known for the popular 1983 Chuck Norris vehicle Lone Wolf McQuade, and for the films he made for producer Roger Corman in the 1970s, Big Bad Mama, Capone and The Arena (co-directed with Aristide Massaccesi).

 
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