The following is a review by Defector of Bad Movie – Bad Review. He’s fond of watching the worst films imaginable, and fist-smashing keyboards until this kind of thing happens.
You all know who he is (if not, keep repeating the first three lines of this review until you do), and we all love him. He forms the bottom left corner of the holy 90’s ass-kicking trinity that is Van Damme/Seagal/Lundgren, and he could smash your face in to mashed carrots if he wasn’t a lovely, kind-hearted super-genius.
Dolph Lundgren is awesome. And we all love him.
Except he hates himself, it would seem.
If you’re unsure if Dolph Lundgren does indeed sneer at his own reflection, then take one look at the downward spiral of steroid induced, bottom of the whiskey glass depression that is his career, and the vertical arrow facing the ground that it represents, and tell me he doesn’t sit on the stairs and cry.
(Note to anyone who cares. I am NOT accusing Dolph Lundgren of being a steroid user or an alcoholic. I’m certain he has never been either. Please don’t sue me!)
Yes, we’ve seen a slight resurgence from Dolph in recent times, most notably with The Expendables movies, but holy shit was there a LONG spell of him staring in some absolute dross. And this decent into low-budget oblivion is a little depressing, especially given how Dolph used to be an earlobe collecting lunatic, and enjoyed breaking people with his massive Russian fists.
Well that was then, and the sun has long since set on those glory days, and at the point in his career when Direct Action sulked its way miserably on to DVD, he may still have been awesome by virtue of being Dolph ‘I’m Dolph Lundgren’ Lundgren, but the movies he appeared in were cheap, stupid, and frankly…shit.
So now that I’ve set the tone of what to expect from this particular offering, we can take a closer look at…sigh…Direct Action.
Direct Action is a baffling 2004 effort, staring the man himself as a cop that gets on the wrong side of some action-packed shenanigans.
But before I begin to point out how this is the most stupid Dolph Lundgren movie imaginable, I would like to first explain how I came to own it. Normally this kind of detail is utterly redundant and a waste of your time and mine, but just once, hear me out.
I had been aware of the dip in Dolphgren’s career for a while, and whilst digging online for more Collection fodder, I decided to search for a list of the worst Dolph Lundgren movies. Such a thing wasn’t hard to find, and this movie featured prominently. So not only did I make it my mission to own it, but I was prepared for it to be terrible.
Except there is no preparing for Direct Action. Not unless your brain was ever on the wrong end of Ivan Drago’s regard for boxing etiquette.
God Almighty, this movie is awful. Seriously. Direct Action is a film so devoid of sense that it’s clearly the work of a screenwriter who was kidnapped as a baby, placed in someone’s cellar, denied access to the outside world, and then forced to write action movies on the walls and floor.
That Dolph Lundgren thought appearing in this film was worth his time speaks volumes about how much Dolph Lundgren really needs better industry contacts and a hug.
As the movie began, I was greeted by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company logo, and it’s angry lion, which is blatant animal cruelty. Did anyone consult the lion before associating it with Direct Action? Probably not. I’m fairly sure it would rather be slaughtering gazelles or licking its own balls, but like Dolph Lundren, it most likely thought a career in movies would pay more than sitting around looking scary.
Next I was given the Nu-Image logo, which was NOT a good sign. Why? Take a look for yourself. Their logo also features lots of triumphant music, but I knew to see through this deception, and was already frowning.
As the first shot presents itself, we are shown a series of jarring pans and fade-ins of a city at night, taken from a helicopter, which is the go-to opening for films and TV shows that don’t know what they’re doing.
The first actual shot that definitely isn’t stock footage appears on screen of a red lit hallway.
“Brothel!” I shout, and have my presumptions confirmed (I know my brothels) as a scantily clad lady-worker walks in to the hallway to answer a doorbell. The would-be customers are in fact Cyprus Hill, who evidently aren’t here to purchase genitals. Instead, they go on somewhat of a bender with guns, and start murdering everyone.
Someone, presumably important to the story, gets killed, as does everyone else. Apart from one lady who manages to sneak out.
So far so normal, so I guess it’s time for some…
A blur of cheaply pasted, black and white fast cuts of Dolph Lundgren slaughtering people began punching my eyeballs, and my God, this wasted no time. Seriously, we haven’t even been introduced to Dolph Lundgren yet, never mind anyone we think it’s okay to see destroyed. Is he some kind of mass murderer? Or are these just trimmed clips from events that occur later in the film? Considering that this movie was made as cheaply as possible, what do you think the answer might be?
All of this twitchy editing is accompanied by some truly awful hip-hop. No, I’m serious, it is hideous.
“These cops be hanging, they be swinging off ma balls.”
Delightful. I hope they are unionised.
One aspect that stands out amongst all these fleeting images of Dolph shooting and punching, is that he looks absolutely sick of his job as an actor, and would rather be left alone in a quite corner of a library, researching how to build a time-machine.
Oh, and Dolph also has more than a passing resemblance to Anders Breivik, which might explain the mass-murdering.
As I wrote this observation in my notes, I looked up to see a shot of Dolph punching the camera, and therefore me…
…right in the face, which I probably deserve. But instead of being impressed, I looked at what would otherwise be something awesome, with disdain. If I had seen a shot like this back in the heyday of Dolph Lundgrens career, I probably would have fainted. But now, when we both are much older, it looks tired and sad.
And then a car explodes.
Once that rubbery excuse for an intro sequence is over we get to see Dolph in glorious technicolour, and driving a car. Holy shit, he’s getting old, I think to myself, still frowning.
Dolph is listening to the radio, and boy is it spewing some awful nonsense. It’s a broadcast about what it takes for men to be really awesome and, like, incredible heroes, and so-forth. Women callers are telling the radio host about what a real man is, and how they get girl-boners for hero-men. Obviously this is accompanied with close up shots of Dolph Lundgrens face, because in this movie we have to have it explained to us that he isn’t a dickhead.
The radio is also talking about what makes the perfect husband (hint: it’s Dolph Lundgren), but it’s fairly obvious that this hardened cop is married to the force lady, so please, close your legs and let him do his damn job.
I have already mentioned that he is a cop, but at this point in the film I wasn’t yet sure of that fact, and given that he really does resemble Anders Breivik, I was still debating whether or not he was a white supremacist. But no, he’s definitely a cop.
That said, neither Dolph (he looks like Anders Breivik) or any of the other cops in this film (they look like actors) actually look like cops. This in particular goes for the Chief of Police, who looks like…well, this…
After seeing an introduction to Dolph’s cop buddies, I thought I could make some predictions about what would occur. So here goes.
#1: Dolph’s black partner-cop will be killed (obvious, I know)
#2: A cop that has just retired will be killed (also obvious)
#3: Most of the rest of Dolph’s cop friends will be killed (obviously)
Would the film prove me wrong? We’ll see.
After meeting all of Dolph’s cop chums, a broadly sexist undertone is introduced in to the film in the form of a gorgeous bumbling female detective who is, quite naturally, paired up with Dolph in what is her first day on the job.
Why is it sexist? Well, because she is the only major female character in the film and she is as dumb as a wooden spoon. Two examples of this are given in quick succession immediately after she appears on screen. Ross (her name) shows up an hour late for work because she had a flat tyre (durr), and then gets in to the wrong car in front of everyone (also durr), and they all laugh.
She is fantastic at smiling however, even if it does make her look like an animatronic sex doll.
We learn that she is a ‘probationary detective’ and is here to be taught by Dolph in how to be a proper, for uber-realz, detective. But, because this movie is all about how amazing Dolph Lundgren is, she begins excitedly fawning all over him instead of actually behaving like a policewoman. It’s all “such an honour” this, and “I’m so proud” that. It’s any wonder they actually arrived at their destination without her taking off all her clothes, or grabbing the steering wheel in a menstrual panic.
It was at around this point that I started to notice some…inconsistencies…regarding the behaviour of the police in this film.
What is policeman?
Now I might know fuck all about being a cop, but I evidently know way more about the police than the writer and director of Direct Action.
How so? Well, these two ‘detectives’ drive around until a dispatch call comes through their police radio for cops to attend an incident.
Which they themselves do.
Yes, that’s right. In this reality, detectives busy themselves answering dispatch calls to domestic incidents instead of detecting things.
So, these two totally genuine and very believable detectives respond to the 911 dispatch call of an altercation involving a fat man in a leather waste-coat.
When they arrive, there is an assembled group of bystanders who inform these ‘detectives’ that there are bad guys inside a bar who are extorting money from its owners. The entrance to said bar is being guarded by said fat man who, knowing perfectly well that the police have just arrived, continues to stand there and play bouncer.
Why didn’t he run away? He did see that the police just arrived. Was he going to tell the cops to leave because they weren’t invited?
So, Dolph takes off his jacket and begins to question the fat guy.
No, he walks over to the guy and, without doing anything remotely policeman-like, such as asking him why he is just standing there, he hands his fucking ass to him in a plastic bag.
He then enters the premises and…yeah, you know what happens next.
Dolph kicks every shade of shit out of everyone present without reading any sort of rights, or even attempting to arrest anyone. Oh, and he also completely destroys the establishment by throwing bad guys in to anything breakable.
Go Dolph! You so hero!
On his way out, he says that all the bad guys are free to go…as long as they apologise first…which they do.
For fuck sake, seriously?
Do you understand that you are supposed to be playing a policeman Dolph? Did you research this role at all? I’m pretty sure your character just broke way more laws than anyone else in this scene.
As the detectives make their way out of the bar, the owner, who is gushing with praise for having his place of business destroyed, then tries to offer payment for his heroic antics.
And that form of payment…
…offering up his clearly under-age niece for Dolph Lundgren to have sex with.
I had to pause the film at this point and question whether or not I had gone mad.
Am I actually seeing this? Is this a nightmare? Did Ivan Drago punch this film in to my mind back in the 80’s and I am now having some kind of gibberish relapse?
Side note: During the altercation, Ross attempted to actually do something police-womany by handcuffing one of the bad guys. Except she (durr) dropped her handcuffs on the ground (remember, she is supposed to be stupid). So, once back on patrol, she grovellingly apologises for screwing up so terribly, and Dolph grudgingly forgives her.
What a guy!
Story time with dolph lundgren!
So after driving around for a bit, Dolph decides to go for a meeting with the ‘Chief’ in the most disgusting looking cafe in America, and I tap my thumb impatiently waiting for Plot.
Ahh, there you are.
Class, attention! I’d like to introduce you all to ‘Plot’.
Plot may seem a bit nervous, and might occasionally scream if you pay attention to it, so please remain seated and do not make eye contact.
Say hi to everyone, Plot!
So, as Dolph and his boss sit and glare at each other, Plot does a fine job of describing how there is a court case that Dolph is going to give deposition at, in which he will reveal how all the police in his elite ‘Direct Action’ unit are in fact, bent as bananas…
…and holy shit, where did this come from?!
Chief offers a big bribe to Dolph, along with a thinly veiled threat that he should play ball and try not to behave like Dolph Lundgren.
Okay then. Plot’s contribution to the film may be pathetic, but it’s better than watching these two drive around all day.
Who Dolphicated on the floor?
Seeing as the movie has decided to do something, we are given lots of suspenseful music comprised of polyphonic ringtones from 1998, and I start to get agitated.
These ‘detectives’ (Dolph’s a sergeant, by the way), who are still just driving around aimlessly, respond to yet another dispatch call. The perp this time is considerate enough to keep a prostitute at knife point in the street until they arrive, which is thoughtful of Plot.
As they approach the scene, the perp, much like the fat guy from the bar, keeps on breaking the law in full view of the police, and it seems that criminals as well as the police themselves, never read the job description.
The prostitute waddles away slowly and escapes, as Dolph chases down the perp, and what follows caused me to yet again pause the film and rub my eyes in an attempt to wipe away the retardity that the movie then sprayed all over my face.
You see, the whole dispatch call (that literally ANY OTHER COP COULD HAVE ATTENDED) was just a ruse so that Dolph would find a piece of paper in his pocket while searching him, and that the perp and the prostitute were hired for this specific purpose.
I cannot begin to explain the multitude of ways this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Plot, you are a fucking imbecile. Go and stand in the hallway.
Dolph then lets the guy go without asking him anything, and takes a look at the note. It reads…
Why in God’s name was this necessary?
Couldn’t the Chief have handed Dolph that note himself? Or just said it to him? Why not send a letter to his house? Or text him?
And what the SHIT was it about this scenario that demonstrated that he isn’t untouchable?!
This stupid encounter, and it’s complete lack of any logic whatsoever, would have made way more sense if the perp was a bear or a crocodile, and it tried to eat Dolph Lundgren at exactly the same time a airplane painted the words ‘Don’t fuck with us, chomp chomp!’ in the sky.
At least there would’ve been some meaning behind why he looks so concerned, as Dolph is now suspicious of inanimate objects, and eyes a train, an articulated lorry, and a tree, with suspicion.
You dozey bell-end of a screenwriter. Seriously.
Once back in the car, I notice for the first time Ross’ police-regulation ear bangles, and my despair for everything sinks even further.
Thankfully, the films cheers us up with a visit to the graveyard, where Dolph’s proper partner utters the tried and tested cliché,
“He was a hell of a cop.”
Except I have no idea who he’s talking about.
Cyprus Hill 2.0 have now disguised themselves as detectives and are wandering freely around the police station looking for Dolph so they can shoot him. None of the dozens of other policemen notice these people apart from Ross, who is supposed to be a complete moron, and has never visited this police station before.
Cyprus Hill 2.0 spot Dolph and follow him to the car park, which makes their plan of disguising themselves as cops and wandering around the police station utterly pointless.
Plot, have you fallen asleep back there?
They also have placed what looks like an e-cig on the tyre of his car. This is of course, stupid. Is it a tracking device? If it is then why bother when you are already following him?
I continue to rub my temples and and try not to question why I shouldn’t just set fire to myself.
Oh, and the e-cig audibly beeps and flashes different colours.
Except the e-cig turns out to be not to be a tracking device, but a tiny explosive that bursts Dolph’s tyre, thereby allowing these ‘assassins’ to have a long and drawn out conversation with Dolph in the middle of the street, full of threatening innuendo in which nothing happens.
A completely different bunch of bad guys arrive instead, who then taze Dolph, bundle him in to a van, and drive away. Obviously Dolph is followed by Ross, and everyone heads to the beach. The bad guys try to kill Dolph, and they almost succeed as Dolph is dramatically shot in the stomach. Oh no! But Ross turns up just in the nick of time, and action happens.
I am struck by how no one present during this scene has have ever had any proper weapons training outside of watching the first ten minutes of Menace 2 Society.
Ross hip-fires an assault rifle, Dolph duel wields pistols, and a bad guy shoots out of the window of a van with an AK-47…whilst driving the van.
Again, all of this should be awesome.
With the would-be assassins now dead, Dolph finally remembers his kidneys are 50 feet away, and begins hobbling slightly. Eventually he succumbs to being almost dead and we have yet more black and white montage footage. Except this time, it’s of events that literally just took place.
Ross doesn’t take him to hospital however, as now they are on the run or something, so instead she takes him to Dolphs partners house, which as secret hideouts go, is about as obvious as it gets.
Fortunately, his partners wife is dressed in a nurses uniform (whilst in her own house) and we are reassuringly informed that the gaping hole in his sternum is “just a nick.”
Oh, and Dolph Lundgren wakes up to his own tiny nipples.
Once Dolph has completely recovered (ten minutes later), we are told that Internal Affairs and the DEA “didn’t want to know” about all the crooked cops running around everywhere, which yet again makes me wonder if job performance reviews exist inside Dolph Lundgren’s world.
We are now shown the mayor of wherever this place is, who is in his own disgusting cafe, and behaving not one bit how would expect a mayor to behave, which obviously means shenanigans, and etc.
Haven’t a clue
I’ve become certain by now that the person that wrote this crap has only ever been briefly introduced to the concept of mayors, cops, detectives, Grand Juries, the FBI, shootouts, and human people. But not to any extent that they can piece any of it together in a way that would be familiar to the rest of the world.
It’s a struggle.
The fugitives decide to drive to the Assistant Attorney General’s house, because why not? You have to drive somewhere I suppose, and the Assistant Attorney General has an Xbox, so lets make a day of it!
Plot wets himself slightly, as little bits of story belch and heave, and I question Plot’s commitment to handing in homework on time.
During what I assume is meant to be an exercise in character building, Ross explains that she wanted to be a cop because she was “good at cops and robbers as a child.”
How reassuring. There was me thinking you might have wanted to give back to the community or some other cliché, but no! You were good at running around going “pew pew pew!” and making pistol shapes out of your fingers. This does tie in with the stupidity of the rest of her character though, so fair play to Plot for not completely pissing itself.
Some more stupid action happens as the good guys try to kill the bad guys and the bad guys try to kill the good guys. It’s like that snake that’s constantly throwing up it’s own tail, except the snake is a movie studio fighting bankruptcy, and Dolph Lundgren is the vomit.
My old friend Adobe After Effects appears in the movie, drunk as usual…
…and Plot get distracted by a nearby ice cream van, causing me to break yet another orbital bone with my palm, as bad guys try to attack Dolph Lundgren from inside a car…being lifted by a forklift. This doesn’t end well for these dribbling idiots, as you might expect given how moronic an idea it was in the first place.
Meanwhile, Dolph’s partner is still at the Assistant Attorney General’s house and is trying to find some info on the bad guys. He is doing this on a laptop…in 2003…in a house that I’m absolutely certain has no WiFi. Eventually he decides to look up some police reports, which again, makes fuck all sense. But this is the world before Windows Firewall was a thing, so maybe it really was this easy to hack in to police department computer systems.
The nausea this movie made me feel compelled me (much like the power of Christ) to look up the screenwriter online, and hopefully exorcise him, but I realised it would be unfair to pick on a two year old who chewed off the corner of a boxed set of NCIS, and wrote the screenplay with his faecal matter all over his parents pine wardrobe.
Beside, I’m sure he was sent to bed early.
Oh, I did notice a bit of an easter egg in the movie…
During the steaming heap of laptop stupidity we can clearly see some kids in the background, who have already started work on the screenplay for Direct Action 2!
So Dolph, for some reason, goes back to the bar that was being extorted earlier, and we learn that the owners under-age niece is in fact the prostitute from the beginning of the movie, and is now an important device for Plot. However, Dolph still doesn’t want to have sex with her.
Congratulations, Plot! I knew you’d make sense eventually.
Oh wait, maybe not…
So now the CIA turns up wearing just as much jewellery as Ross, and because they were too busy eating donuts, they get kidnapped by Dolph (?!) But for some reason they decide to help him even though I’ve long since given up trying to make sense of anything.
Dolph’s partners wife is still walking about dressed as a nurse (maybe she’s a nurse?) and clearly the scriptwriter hadn’t been changed in a while and was now wet and crabby, hence everything.
Everyone meets up at a disused factory to kill each other and…
Do you know what?
I give up.
Action happens. Stupid, stupid action, and Dolph wins.
Done. That’s it. No more.
Holy bejezus, this film was terrible.
If I didn’t know better, I’d almost be convinced it was deliberately being as convoluted as possible in some occultic attempt at banishing reason.
Seriously, there is a TON of bat-shittery throughout this film that I never even touched upon.
Plot and his devices seem to duplicate and multiply all by themselves like some horrifying bio-weapon created in someone’s bathtub. If ISIS ever got their hands on the logic behind this movie, they would confuse us all to death.
So what’s the deal here Dolph? Are you just too stupid to figure out that you could easily make better movies with your eyes closed?
Well, no he’s not, as it’s a well known fact that Dolph has an IQ in the 140’s (and he was given a Fullbright scholarship to MIT, and has a masters degree in chemical-fucking-engineering…no, I’m not kidding).
So if we can rule out that Dolph Lundgren is just too dense to read the scripts he is given, then what else could be motivating The Great Lundgrenator to seemingly give up on his career and squeeze out these shameful turds?
Well, I have a theory.
That Dolph Lundgren is indeed a secret genius, and that he DOESN’T GIVE ONE FROZEN FUCK about what he appears in, because all he cares about are the smelly green dollars that are air-dropped on to his front lawn. Dolph knows full well that what he makes is so far removed from anything artistic that it should be buried on Mars, but he gets a big juicy paycheck simply because it has his specific name written on it, and it’s well known enough to keep his coffers stocked full of body lotion and anti-wrinkle cream.
I truly do not believe for one second that he is under any illusions about the shit he signs up to create. I mean, why would he if he genuinely wants to make quality films? He can read. He has a (very brilliant) brain of his own to use, and surely he is capable of watching the films he appears in. So you would think at some point he would say enough is enough and either quit for good, or hire an actual human being for a casting agent instead of a broken refrigerator.
So either he needs the money and is forced in to doing these things, like some kind of back-street Hollywood crack-whore, offering his ‘services’ for anyone with a camera and some blank-firing machine guns, or he is doing what he is doing through choice.
But guess what the answer to this riddle is…
…a net worth of 14 million dollars.
You know what Dolph? I’d do the same.
By the way, my predictions were spot on. The black guy, the retired cop, and a bunch of extras all died peacefully in their sleep.
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