(director: Joseph Zito; screenwriter: Arne Olsen; cinematographer: Joao Fernandes; editor: Daniel Loewenthal; music: Jay Chattaway; cast: Dolph Lundgren (Lt. Nikolai Rachenko), M. Emmet Walsh (Dewey Ferguson), Al White (Kallunda Kintash), T.P. McKenna (General Vortek), Carmen Argenziano (Zayas), Brion James (Sgt. Krasnov), Alex Colon (Mendez), Regopstaan (Bushman, Gao), Ruben Nthodi(Sundata); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Jack Abramoff; Shapiro Glickenhaus; 1988)

Good golly, this comic book action picture is a stinker.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Good golly, this comic book action picture is a stinker. In comparison it even makes Rambo look like a classic. It is languidly directed except for the decent battle scenes by Joseph Zito (“The Prowler”/”Invasion U.S.A.“), while the dated screenplay by Arne Olsen is the pits. The acting is wooden, especially by the star Dolph Lundgren. His only appeal is as beefcake. After the original failed in theaters but did surpringly well on video, a sequel was made that went direct-to-video. A Soviet special forces “killing machine,” Lt. Nikolai Rachenko (Dolph Lundgren) is sent by the Soviet army’s General Vortek (T.P. McKenna) to the Angola-like African nation (filmed in Swaziland) of Mombaka to assassinate the terrorist rebel leader Kallunda Kintash (Al White) to please the Cuban forces occupying the country. The intricate assassination plan, that includes a breakout from a Russian jail by Nikolai, a rebel and an American left-wing journalist, is botched. As a result Nikolai is turned over to the Cubans to be tortured but escapes in the desert. When stung by a scorpion he’s treated by the Bushman (Regopstaan), who tattoos a scorpion design on his chest. This prompts Nikolai to now join the rebels in defeating their communist oppressors.M. Emmet Walsh is a drag as he plays the ugly American helping the rebels. The stupid story is pointless as it takes us from one absurd scene of destruction to another. It doesn’t even have the conviction to say what it believes; that is. if it believes in anything.

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