Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In short: The Bad Pack (1997)

A small, mostly Mexican-populated Texan village is oppressed by the neighbouring right wing militia of one Lamont Sperry (Marshall R. Teague) who are robbing, stealing, and murdering. It’s a curious way to demonstrate one’s supposed superiority, but then moral superiority is something these types usually miss out on claiming, unless it’s about sex.

Anyway, of course the village sends out two of their own to hire themselves some mercenaries. After a bit of back and forth that surely comes cheaper than an actual action scene does, the guys stumble on Confederate cap wearing badass McQue (Robert Davi) whose politics seem rather confusing to me, seeing as he lets himself be hired by brown people and treats everyone politely. As this is another Seven Samurai variation (perhaps with a bit of the A-Team thrown in), McQue gets together a team of specialists consisting of a driver (Roddy Piper), the brawny one (Ralf Moeller), a sharpshooting woman (Shawn Hutt), the obligatory African American who won’t stop talking (Larry B. Scott), and some crazy explosives guy (Patrick Dollaghan, I think). Together, they’re going to kick militia ass, at least as much as the budget allows.

Which, I’m sad to say, doesn’t seem to be much. At least, Brent Huff’s kinda-sorta action movie prefers talk to actual action to a suspicious degree. Now, Seven Samurai variants are generally a bit more talky than their genre brethren, but that’s usually because they’re interested in actually doing a bit of character work, taking cliché types and letting them breathe a little. Unfortunately, The Bad Pack really doesn’t do much of interest in that direction, and doesn’t put the copious amount of dialogue scenes to good use, or, in fact, any use at all except prolonging the film, with little said I’d actually want to remember, or will in fact be remembering for more than an hour or so.

The action’s not much to write home about either. There’s not only too little of it but what there is doesn’t show much energy, or creativity. Huff’s (who also plays a perfectly forgettable role as an actor here) action direction reminds me in a bad way of how 80s TV shows more often than not handled these kinds of sense. In other words, the action is not horrible but neither exciting nor ridiculous in a fun way - it’s just there.

“It’s just there” seems to me the perfect description for the whole of The Bad Pack, and, at least tonight, that’s just not enough for me.

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