Laser Mission Reviews
Laser Mission, while not particularly well known, is mostly shunned and scorned, and is often cited as the worst film of Brandon Lee's tragically short career. People only ever want to remember Brandon Lee for his legendary role in The Crow, while many fans of his want to keep this film buried and not want to talk about it.
Make no mistake, The Crow is a superb action film, and Brandon Lee delivered an amazing performance. His death was a tragic loss for Hollywood because they lost one of the next greats who would have gone on to do many other great performances. His role in The Crow made me want to check out his other less-revered works. As much as I love a good serious film, I am also a die hard B-movie fanatic, especially when it comes to the action genre which has provided me with many gloriously bad films.
My other experiences with his work have been Showdown In Little Tokyo and Rapid Fire (Sadly, his death prevented the making of Rapid Fire 2), both of which I also enjoyed and awarded 4-star ratings as well. Seeing The Crow, Showdown In Little Tokyo, and Rapid Fire made me even more curious to see his other films in his brief filmography. But, for whatever reason, I waited for quite some time before I obtained any of his other films. I was excited when I came across Laser Mission (Which was part of a 15-pack of action films), as I was already aware of its bad reputation and looking forward to glorious B-movie entertainment...and it sure delivered, as it is one of the greatest so-bad-it's-good films I've ever come across.
The film focuses on a mercenary named Michael Gold, who is sent to Cuba to rescue a scientist who the Soviets want to build a deadly laser weapon using diamonds.
Now he, along with a beautiful woman named Alissa, must rescue the scientist and kill a whole shitload of Soviets along the way to protect the world and put a stop to this developing weapon.
The story is completely and utterly tacky in every way imaginable. There is never a single believable moment, but that's okay, because this film embraces its gloriously low-budget, poorly made aspects to the fullest degree by putting the characters in the most ridiculous of scenarios and finding new ways to destroy stuff in over the top ways.
Brandon Lee was a great actor, but don't expect anything on par with his performance in The Crow. No, here he seems to be fully aware of how stupid and terrible this film is, and delivers a very cheesy performance, but thanks to his charisma as an actor he makes his character a lot of fun to watch. The other actors are also pretty cheesy, especially the actors who try to deliver hokey Spanish accents, which made the acting a real hoot at times. Though the acting as a whole is admittedly bad, the actors are having too good a time and delivering such campy performances that it became impossible for me to really ding their acting abilities because I had a lot of fun too.
The action is awesome in the best bad ways. There are car chases, gun battles galore, explosions, martial arts battles, cheesy romance, a cheesy sex scene, sci-fi hokum, ridiculous villains, over the top and hilarious humor, and so much more. The action scenes were always exciting and seemed to be constantly trying to find ways to up the ante in their stupidity. It's a B-movie lover's dream come true when it comes to bad action flicks.
I in no way have shame in awarding Laser Mission 4/5 stars. It's a gloriously stupid, fun, wacky, and ridiculously entertaining romp from start to finish. If you are a B-movie lover, there's plenty to love in Laser Mission.
Alissa: Some things come off very easily.
Michael Gold: Such as?
Alissa: Such as... your head if you don't stick to business.
Lee plays Michael Gold, a mercenary with -- in typical Hollywood fashion -- principles! He volunteers with the CIA to help a German laser expert (Ernest Borgnine, far from a career highpoint but still retaining more dignity as a German than Rod Steiger did as a Cuban) defect to the U.S. but is foiled at most turns by a bizarre alliance of incredibly organized but dismally incompetent Cubans and Russians.
You'll spend the first half of the movie trying to figure out where the hell this film takes place -- the first 10 minutes seem to cycle uneasily between Cuba; Sub-Saharan Africa; El Salvador (maybe); and a dismal, cloudy section of North Carolina -- and the majority hoping to escape from the by-the-numbers plot and the horrendous soft-metal theme song they tacked onto Michael Gold, complete with an unimpressive vocalist doing his best worst Lemmy croon.
At best, "Laser Mission" is a heavily botched ripoff of "The Living Daylights." However, that movie was released two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall; this film a year after. Nevermind the fact that director BJ Davis is no John Glen and Lee is no Timothy Dalton: "Mission" transparently lacks gravitas; it's just more embarrassing that it trades in on a threat that was diminishing at the time of release, and lacks impact worse now.
This movie is pretty dang cheesy, as can be expected from the late 1980's/early 1990's. But that's also part of the fun of this movie. The explosions are big, the action outrageous, and the characters exuberiant.
This movie is enjoyable as a popcorn movie, but you need to through logic- and geography out the window. Somehow Cuba, South Africa, and Germany share common borders, and the Soviet troops have no problems parading around causing trouble in uniform.
Cheesy, but fun for a single viewing.
I'm not endorsing "Laser Mission." From the opening credits I could tell that it was very cheaply done. And, at least on this DVD, the audio is about a full second behind the visual! The movie is about a maverick government agent named Michael Gold (played by Lee), who goes on a mission to save a scientist named Braun (Ernest Borgnine), who is being forced by the Soviets to build a nuclear weapon, combining a laser with a huge diamond. Great stuff! Brandon's acting is okay, as is Borgnine's. I like Brandon's sarcastic wit. But much of the rest of the acting is pretty amateur, especially that of his character's love interest, Alissa (Debi Monahan) who might pass for a decent porno actress.
The action scenes aren't bad for a low budget movie but the script is weak and loaded with '80s action movie cliches. And it's especially humorous to see Alissa - who looks and acts like a typical blonde, air headed bimbo - joining Michael in blowing away dozens of bad guys! She also does some pretty impressive driving - in a peace wagon, no less - while Michael blows away still more bad guys from the back seat!
But there are two things that make the movie worth the dollar for me. One is that parts of it are so bad that they're hilarious, including one time when Brandon and a guy who he's fighting both fall of of a building about 30 feet high and Brandon lands just gets up and walks away! The other guy wasn't so lucky, falling on the spikes of a fence and dying.
And the other thing I love about the movie is the music, done by none other than David Knopfler of Dire Straits. He has one straight ahead rocker that is played during the opening credits, closing credits and several times in between. I guess they were either on a tight budget so they could afford little music or they really loved that song! I think it's played six times during the movie!
I'm pretty sure that's the only vocal song in the movie. The instrumental stuff is great, too. I detect a little Pink Floyd influence in David's music.
One other note of unintentional humor from "Laser Mission," in the movie, Brandon's character wants the mission so bad that he's not doing it for the money. Yet the aforementioned song that's featured over and over is titled "Mercenary Man!"