Saturday, January 31, 2009

Film Review: HELLBOUND (1994, Aaron Norris)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 95 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Chuck Norris, Calvin Levels (JOHNNY SUEDE, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING), Christopher Neame, Sheree J. Wilson (CRIMEWAVE, WALKER: TEXAS RANGER).
Tag-lines: " Mess with this Chicago cop and there's hell to pay."
Best one-liner(s): See review.

"The Captain has taken some chunks out my ass before, but this time, she left nothin' but bone." Imagine GHOSTBUSTERS II meets BEVERLY HILLS COP in Israel, starring Chuck Norris, and you got a pretty good idea of what this is like.

We follow Chuck as 'Shatter' and his Tony-nominated partner Calvin Levels as 'Jackson,' as they traverse the globe in search of Satan's proto-Satan (a classic Vigo from GHOSTBUSTERS II knock-off), aptly named Prosatanos.

There's medieval flashbacks, foolish treasure seekers, archeologists, rabbis, heart-rippings-out, and all manner of things of that nature. But at it's heart this is a goofy 80's movie, and it even looks it, despite being made in '94 (a fact that lends further credence to my theory that the 1980's actually spanned from 1982-1994).

Chuck's partner is over-the-top and a pretty good counterbalance to his epic stoicism. He says lines like "Say...WHAT?!" and "Why don't you cut my nuts off with a dull butter knife!" with completely committed elan. He takes more shit from Chuck than any character in film history. There's a running gag where Chuck won't let him eat anything until the case is solved. By day 5, it's getting ridiculous. "Shatter! When we gonna get something to EAT?!"

George S. Clinton's score is spot on. I bet he thought 'Shatter's Theme,' with its funky bass riffs, was gonna be the next 'Axel F.' He's got some whacky Israeli themes, too. In fact, there's a lot of whacky goings-on in Israel: a microcosm of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out between two rambunctious boys and there's some zany driving where a man gets smacked by a car... right in the tight jeans.

There's an oddly out-of-place Ross Perot endorsement, too. And if you need to make a drinking game of it, try drinking every time director Aaron Norris shows a shaft of light. By the film's end, all you'll remember is the whirl of a whacky Israeli night on the town with Prosatanos as your wingman. Oh yeah, and it ends on a freeze frame.

Damn! Alright, Chuck. Just cause it's you, four stars.

-Sean Gill

No comments: