What Not To Watch: Blackjack
The year is 1998, John Woo and Dolph Lundgren are joining forces to create a new action TV show. This has got to be good! Right?
Coming just a year after Woo’s most successful American produced film Face/Off, John Woo proved he could make money in Hollywood and the man definitely knows his action.
At this point it was evident that Dolph Lundgren was never going to be the next Arnold or Stallone, but he had built himself a strong fan base with the movies he had done and following the success of Chuck Norris and Lorenzo Lamas’ forays into the world of action TV, it certainly seemed feasible that Dolph could get a piece of that pie too.
So what went wrong? In my estimation pretty much everything…
- TV Series or Mini-Series: The run time on this movie is incredibly long, 112 minutes?! I assume if this actually aired on TV as a two hour premiere of the brand new hit TV show Blackjack, they would have chopped it down to about 80 or 90 minutes for commercials and that may have actually helped make this one more tolerable. The DVD version feels like it is never ending. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II can get away with being long movies, Blackjack can not.
- Keep It Simple: This show was trying to do too much in my opinion. Dolph becomes a foster parent, so he’s got the whole suddenly he had to raise a kid deal while fighting crime conflict. But that wasn’t enough so he also has a phobia of the color white and has to see a therapist. Pick one or the other. I’m sure the kid concept was there to soften him a bit and the therapist was being set up to be a potential love interest, but it all seemed too much for this type of show.
- Saul Rubinek: I’m not the President of the Saul Rubinek Fan Club, but I also don’t wake up every morning cursing the man’s existence. I’ve seen his work in Death Wish V, The Equalizer and Psych and had no issues with him. But then I watched Blackjack. He plays Alfred to Lundgren’s Bruce Wayne and does so with an eye patch and a stupid accent that he seems to lose in scenes where he’s talking on the telephone. Maybe my ears were playing tricks on me, but I’m not about to sit through it again to confirm.
The only positive I can say about this movie is at least it wasn’t Retrograde. I feel a great deal of shame in the fact that I own this movie and not awesome Dolph movies like Army of One, Showdown in Little Tokyo and Men of War.