What Not To Watch: Diplomatic Siege
I can’t recall another movie that suffered from an identity crisis quite the way Diplomatic Siege did. And I’m not just talking about the fact that it is another in the long line of direct to video action movies with an alternate title, in this case Enemy of My Enemy. In fact on the copy I have the cover art, the disc itself, and even the DVD’s menu screen all had the Diplomatic Siege title, but then I started the movie and the credits started to roll and the title of the movie read Enemy of My Enemy.
It has been said that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” but Diplomatic Siege is a friend to nobody watching.
- The Road to Nowhere: When the movie begins we see Steve Mitchell (Peter Weller) and his teenage son Chris (Jeremy Lelliott of Lady Jayne Killer fame) on a flight to Bucharest, Romania. There is some obvious friction between father and son and their relationship is in need of repair. Steve is hoping having his son tag along with him on this business trip will help bring the two of the together, not unlike the Sylvester Stallone film Over the Top. But when the Mitchells arrive at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, where his father has been sent to deactivate a nuclear bomb that the United States government had been hiding in the basement of the building since The Cold War, the movie turns into something much different when Steve Mitchell finds out his partner on this mission is Erica Long (Daryl Hannah). In a matter of minutes the two start banging right in the office. The audience quickly ascertains that these two either have a past or Peter Weller and Daryl Hannah started making Skinemax movies in the late 90’s. In another twist, the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest is under siege by a group of militants who are demanding the release of their leader Col. Peter Vojnovic. This sets the table for the movie to become Peter Weller’s Die Hard. And when you think about it why shouldn’t Weller have his own Die Hard inspired movie, just about everybody else has. They even had Tom Berenger in the role of hostage negotiator. Eventually the Die Hard angle dies off in favor of a good old fashioned spy flick, with Erica Long using a small mirror and her limber body to get past a laser grid security system and then she either double crosses Steve Mitchell or she was a triple agent or Steve accepts the double cross and goes rogue with her, it really depends on how you look at it. The whole movie felt like they threw a bunch of ideas against the wall and whatever stuck made it into the final script. I think there was even a Pizza Hut commercial in the middle of the whole thing.
- Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda: A wise man once told me you can’t buy groceries with potential. With the cast that Diplomatic Siege assembled the movie certainly had the potential to be a memorable actioner. Peter Weller (the only real Robocop) and Tom Berenger of Sniper and The Substitute fame, brought a great deal of action credibility and acting experience to the table. And if Weller and Berenger weren’t enough, Diplomatic Siege even had a small role for character actor Brion James, a man who flourished in the action entertainment industry for most of his career. And let’s not forget the limber Daryl Hannah. But with the plot being all over the place featuring a potluck of a movie cliches, pacing that left a lot to be desired and a cast of characters that inspired apathy, this movie could have cast nothing but unknown actors and still ended up with the same unwatchable results. And while potential can’t buy you groceries, paychecks from low budget direct to video fare sure can and I’m sure that’s the only reason we saw Weller and Berenger in this bore fest.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see a man get abducted while he unknowingly sat on a secret toilet elevator or the view from the knees down of Peter Weller and Daryl Hannah fornicating then this is the movie for you. But that all happens in the first act, so even you toilet elevator lovers or those of you with an ankle fetish won’t want to sit and watch Diplomatic Siege from start to finish. Maybe you are really into the music of Terry Plumeri, the composer of Diplomatic Siege. With all due respect to Mr. Plumeri, I’d still suggest skipping Diplomatic Siege and instead re-watching some other Plumeri composed films like Black Eagle, Angel Town or Death Wish V: The Face of Death… and that’s the weakest of the Death Wish franchise. Which means the worst Death Wish is still fair greater than the best Diplomatic Siege. In fact the only acceptable reason anyone should ever watch Diplomatic Siege is if a terrorist named Goran points a gun at your head and threatens to take away your Discman unless you watch it. Otherwise file this one under What Not To Watch!