Sunday, January 29, 2023

Only now does it occur to me... INTERCEPTOR FORCE (1999)

Only now does it occur to me...  that I would like to raise a toast to everyone involved in INTERCEPTOR FORCE (1999), a rock-bottom CGI-heavy PREDATOR rip-off, inflected with Robert Rodriguez-inspired panache. The vibe is very "if Full Moon Pictures did a Syfy Channel original movie," and the plot is "commandos find themselves fighting a fake Predator in a Mexican cartel town which is probably a recycled set from DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN."

My first toast is for the SFX team, whose N64 cut-scene-lookin' nonsense has been jerry-rigged with love. I mean, look at that alien. The movie's tag-line––no joke––is: "An Elite Force ... An Alien Enemy ... An Impossible Deadline." It is my belief that this tag-line, specifically the "impossible deadline" part, was written by the SFX team.

My next toast is to "Mad Bus." They did the music, and are credited only within the film itself and not on IMDb.

They offer an electronic soundtrack which was characterized as "some pretty tedious techno" by the startup screen to MORTAL KOMBAT 3.


The first actor I'd like to honor is William Zabka, best known as "Johnny Lawrence" in THE KARATE KID and COBRA KAI.

Zabka's simply a member of the commando team––technically, the lead is seated there on his left: a poor man's Daniel Bernhardt named Olivier Gruner. I'd say he's "no Olivier," but in fact, his first name is Olivier. But anyway, back to Zabka: he's the "hacker" of the outfit, which means he often wears a headset, types feverishly into a laptop, and then exclaims words like "Jackpot!"


He's having a lot of fun here, and for all you KARATE KID/COBRA KAI diehards, I think you should definitely watch the following clip, which I have entitled "Hey, buddy, what was that for?" and is best enjoyed out of context.


I would be remiss if I didn't toast a... Diet Coke to Glenn Plummer––a talented character actor best known to me for his turns in SHOWGIRLS and ER––

who seems a little depressed to be in this movie, or at least a little depressed that his scene partner is a can of Diet Coke. Anyway, he's a member of the commando team here as well, and would later go on to get top billing in SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN.


My next toast is for Ernie Hudson (GHOSTBUSTERS, THE CROW, TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN, GRACE & FRANKIE) who plays "The Major," a generic air force commander who spends 97% of his time on the phone. It's an insult to underwritten characters to call "The Major" underwritten, cause he's not really written at all. It's just Ernie Hudson wearing a commercial airline pilot costume speaking words into a telephone.

I would say the producers may have tricked him into believing he was appearing on the X-FILES, but something tells me that when he arrived on set at what the script called a "high-tech military HQ"


but was actually a "telemarketing firm which gave permission to shoot on the weekends," he sized things up pretty quickly.

Regardless, it is Hudson's agent who snagged the coveted "and Ernie Hudson as" credit, and not his fellow character-acting heavyweight who's standing beside him in the above photo.

Oh, don't you recognize who that is? Is the issue that his head is facing the floor and you can't see his face? Well, allow me to offer a theory along with my toast.

This toast is for... Brad Dourif (!), who attempts to maintain his dignity as "Weber," some kind of Project Blue Book/Cigarette Smoking Man-type personality. His main character trait is that his head is always aimed downward, his eyes seemingly reading something off-screen:

If I didn't know better

I might jump to the conclusion

that Brad Dourif didn't think it was worth

going off-book

or even memorizing

a single line of the script to INTERCEPTOR FORCE, really.

My final toast is for Phillip Roth, writer and director.

Sadly, it's Z-movie maven Phillip Roth (ROBOSHARK, LAKE PLACID VS. ANACONDA) and not PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT/PLOT AGAINST AMERICA/AMERICAN PASTORAL Philip Roth. Regardless, I'll leave you all to contemplate the film along with this hastily Photoshopped  book cover:

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