Bullet Points: The Base 2: Guilty as Charged
For those of you who have been asking when we were going to review another Antonio Sabato Jr. movie, ask no more…
In this installment of Bullet Points, I’ll be taking a look at The Base 2: Guilty as Charged. As the title would indicate, this movie is a sequel. More specifically Guilty as Charged is a sequel to the 1999 movie, The Base that starred Mark Dacascos as U.S. Army Investigator Major John Murphy. In Guilty as Charged, the role of Murphy was taken over by Antonio Sabato Jr. Both the original and the sequel were directed by Mark L. Lester who also directed Commando, Showdown in Little Tokyo and Extreme Justice.
- The Premise: U.S. Army Investigator John Murphy, now a Lieutenant, goes undercover to investigate Lt. Col. Strauss. Under Strauss’ command, soldiers keep turning up dead. Murphy posing as Sgt. Hawks, manages to win the respect of Strauss and is invited to be a part of Strauss’ military tribunal. This tribunal passes judgment and carries out the punishment to soldiers they feel have dishonored the United States Army. It is vigilante justice, military style.
- REMARkable Performance: The real scene stealer in The Base 2, is veteran actor James Remar. While his hard nosed character may not be the most original character in cinematic history, Remar brings great intensity to the role of Lt. Col. Strauss and as you watch, you’ll believe that Strauss feels what he is doing is 100% justified. And that really is the mark of any great villain… a villain should truly believe that the path they have chosen is the right one. And with the level of passion that Strauss displays for his cause, it is easy to see how he could convince others to follow him on this crusade to clean up the Army.
- The Rank and File: Strauss’ tribunal includes four members… Goose, played by Duane Davis. Davis’ action credentials include roles in Under Siege and Universal Soldier. Then there’s Yuji Okumoto. Okumoto played opposite David Bradley in Hard Justice and was also in a ninja movie with Casper Van Dien. In The Base 2, Okumoto plays Davis. If this were an edition of 5 Questions, I would probably ask why they just didn’t have Duane Davis play the character Davis and Yuji Okumoto play the character Goose but this isn’t 5 Questions, so let’s move on… There’s Willetts, who eventually proves to be the weak link of the group after he no longer has the stomach for the sort of justice Strauss demands from his unit. Willetts is eliminated, which opens up the spot for Sgt. Hawks to get recruited. And nobody is happier about Hawks being a part of the tribunal than Lee, the female member of Strauss’ unit and really the only female in the entire movie. Lee and Hawks celebrate his inclusion in the group by doing it in the back of an Army truck… you’ve got to hand it to Murphy/Hawks for really committing to his undercover assignment like that.
- Lighten Up Francis: Many military purists have panned The Base 2: Guilty as Charged for its lack of authenticity. To a point I get where these military “scholars” are coming from, but I know as a civilian when I sit down to watch a movie like The Base 2: Guilty as Charged, I’m not watching so I get an understanding of what it must be like to serve as a member of one of the United States Armed Forces. I am watching for pure entertainment. And I believe it is a safe assumption that the producers of films like The Base 2: Guilty as Charged, a made for TV movie that is a sequel to a direct to video flick, were not overly concerned with all the intricacies and details of the United States Army and instead were looking to create as entertaining a 97 minutes for the audience as they could given their budget. So my message to the nitpickers comes from another military themed movie that didn’t take itself too seriously, “Lighten up Francis.”
After getting his initial fame in the soap opera world (and a Janet Jackson music video), Antonio Sabato Jr. looking to expand his acting horizons would eventually enter the world of action entertainment. Antonio had several action movies under his belt by the time he starred in Guilty as Charged. And while I doubt anyone would put Antonio at the very top of their favorite action stars list, the man looked the part and was able to pull off any of the physical challenges that action stars often have to endure.
Overall if I was rating The Base 2: Guilty as Charged on a scale of 1 to 10, it would be a solid 5. But even an average action film deserves some bonus Bullet Points…
- A True Classic: Any movie that works in the classic phrase “sh*t from Shinola” is ok with me. I wasn’t mad that they worked in a “bunch of yahoos” either.
- Know Your Role: The one and only Gary Carlos Cervantes has a small role in The Base 2: Guilty as Charged. You may remember Gary from movies like Commando, Death Warrant, Marked for Death, One Man Force and Extreme Prejudice.
- Homemade Jewelry: When Strauss goes overboard and starts cutting off ears I couldn’t help but think back to one of my favorite Dolph Lundgren performances in Universal Soldier and his necklace made of human ears.
- Memorable Quote: “A civilian can be as candy ass as he wants.” – Lt. Col. Strauss
- Murphy’s War: A future Movie Kumite between Mark Dacascos and The Base versus Antonio Sabato Jr. and The Base 2 seems inevitable.