Bullet Points: Laser Mission
There was one movie in the tragically short career of Brandon Lee that I had heard about and knew existed but never actually saw it… that movie was Laser Mission.
The DVD I found in a bargain bin does not have the cover you see above. The DVD I have clearly shows a laser shooting down a helicopter on it… but you will not see that laser in the movie Laser Mission. You know what else you won’t see in Laser Mission? A good movie.
But with that said, I enjoyed Laser Mission, if for no other reason that I get the sense that everyone involved knew they were making a bad movie and just went with it.
- The Premise: The United States of America wants Professor Braun (Ernest Borgnine) on their side, so they send agent Michael Gold (Brandon Lee) to get the laser expert before the KGB can use the Professor’s knowledge for evil.
- Coming to America?: After an opening segment where some masked men steal the largest diamond to ever come out of Africa, we get our first taste of agent Michael Gold as he arrives in Cuba to meet up with Professor Braun. When the two meet we learn that Gold was not the must studious student of all-time (he specialized in recess and girls!) and we also learn that Ernest Borgnine can not do accents very well. Before the two could come to terms they are both shot with darts that knock them out. If a single dart was powerful enough to knock out Professor Braun at his ample size in this movie, it really should have killed Michael Gold or at least put him in a six month coma.
- Mission Not Accomplished: Gold’s superiors are not happy that Gold failed the mission (you will see missions in this movie, just not lasers). But they are going to give him another chance, but this time they want Gold to reach out to Braun’s daughter, Alissa (Debi Monahan).
- Like Father, Like Son: Much like his father Bruce Lee posed as a telephone repair man in The Chinese Connection, Brandon Lee poses as a soldier and hunched over beggar. At one point Brandon has a fake mustache and it instantly reminded me of when David Hasselhoff would portray the character, Garthe Knight, Michael Knight’s evil twin with facial hair on Knight Rider. Ironically, Hasselhoff was originally considered for the role of Michael Gold in Laser Mission. In another bit of irony, after all the sneaking around and disguises, Michael Gold has dinner in a very public restaurant with Alissa where they hatch a plan to save Professor Braun… I guess it is the whole hiding in plain sight deal.
- Don’t Believe The Hype: At one point in the film they build up one of the bad guys in the movie, Eckhardt (Werner Pochath) as a real bad ass. Everyone is afraid of him. He has a room where he keeps human heads and he’s also the guy who has Professor Braun captive. Well after the hype, we get a rooftop fight between Gold and Eckhardt that ends with Eckhardt falling off the roof and impaling himself on a fence below,,, much like Paul Kersey’s daughter in the Cannon classic, Death Wish 2. Not since Boba Fett died in the Sarlacc Pit has a villain with such a big reputation had such an unceremonious death.But don’t worry our heroes still have Col. Kalishnakov (played by Graham Clarke of Space Mutiny infamy) to deal with.
- B Story: Through out the movie you’ll get a lot of scenes of Sgt. Roberta and the bumbling Manuel. They are used for comic relief.(Although a great deal of this movie will make you laugh) At one point we learn that Manuel wasn’t just calling Sgt. Roberta “sir” out of respect and military protocol, he actually thought Roberta was a man… that is until her t-shirt gets wet.
- The Director: If you hung director BJ Davis (credited as Beau Davis in this movie) for making a quality movie, you would be hanging an innocent man. It is not surprising that bulk of Davis’ work in Hollywood was as a stunt man. And he did stunts in some true action classics including Universal Soldier, The Delta Force, American Ninja 2: The Confrontation and yes, even the movie he directed, Laser Mission. Martin Scorsese can’t make a claim like that.
Have I mentioned that this movie is in no way good? But if movies that aren’t good are your thing, then I recommend this one without hesitation.
Here are few more things to look for while watching Laser Mission…
- Fruit Stands: While no animals were harmed during the filming of Laser Mission, several fruit stands were.
- No Water, No Problem: Some how Michael Gold and Alissa trek across the African desert for miles and miles and don’t need water. I don’t even think they make mention that they are thirsty.
- Guy on a Horse: At one point in their time in the desert, Gold and Alissa encounter a man on a horse. Since this horse was never referred to by a name, I assume that the guy had been through the dessert on a horse with no name.
- Witty Banter: Michael Gold and Alissa have several colorful exchanges including this one. Alissa: “What do you want me to do? Get on my knees?” Gold: “That would be nice.”