Bullet Points: Detonator (1993)
For a movie titled Detonator, there is an incredibly small amount of detonating going on. If you were to magically turn all of the scenes of things detonating into boxes which you then stacked on top of the others to form a ‘box castle’, your castle would look like shit and you wouldn’t even be able to ship out that birthday present to Chris the Brain that you forgot to mail him (btw, Happy Birthday Brain!).
What I’m trying and failing to say is that Detonator fails to live up to the one G-D word in its title. But…does that make it a total failure?
Synopsis: An old and angry Russian General (Christopher Lee) has a pair of nuclear weapons made and sends them through Europe to the wonderful nation of Iraq by using the slowest transportation method available; the railway. It’s up to the United Nations Anti Crime Organization to stop the American mercenary (Ted Levine) from delivering the bomb. Lucky for UNACO, James Bond, Professor Jean Luc Picard, and that flat-chested chick from Baywatch all team up to save the world.
- Reading is Fun-da-mental: Based on the novel “Death Train” by Allistair Maclean.
- Bring on the Bads: Detonator has a pretty amazing cast for not being an amazing movie. The bad guys are led by legendary badass Christopher Lee and creepy-ass Ted Levine. Of course Levine is surrounded by cannon fodder as well. Every bad guy needs a dozen or so nameless and expendable fellows to allow the hero to show off for the damsel in distress.
- Damsel in Distress: Psyche out! This movie doesn’t give a shit about your damsel in distress. There are only a few women in the entire movie and none of them so much as longingly stare into Pierce Brosnan’s eyes. Even I paused it once to gaze deeply into them and I’m the guy who writes weekly about all the chicks in movies that I want to bang. Alexandra Paul, of Baywatch fame, is our leading lady and she handles just as much, if not more, of the action than Pierce Brosnan.
- Pat Stewart’s face: Before watching Detonator I had assumed by the enlarged face of Patrick Stewart on the cover that he would be playing our bomb-wielding bad guy. Instead he’s just the guy in a suit calling the shots for UNACO. He has a paternal relationship with Alexandra Paul and he’s old pals with Brosnan but he spends most of the runtime on the phone or just standing around doing nothing.
- A Simpler Time: When Pierce first is introduced to Alexandra Paul’s character, he immediately attempts to guess why she’s there during “big boy time”. His two guesses are that she’s either Stewart’s secretary or he’s doing her. He would get a stern talking to for insinuating either of those things in 2016.
- He’s no James Bond: Yeah, Pierce Brosnan is the prototypical James Bond (sorry Connery) but in Detonator he’s nowhere near as cool. Yes, he rides a kickass motorcycle around with no shirt under his leather jacket. That’s obviously really cool but when it comes to kicking real ass he’s barely better than all of the other Europeans on his team. Between him and Alexandra Paul, I would say that she gets the lion’s share of heroic shit to do.
- I Blame Patrick Stewart: He’s in charge of this outfit so he gets the blame. The tactics the heroes use against the speeding train carrying the bomb makes for some of the most ridiculous maneuvers I’ve ever seen. They make several attempts to board the train and to stop it by blocking the tracks. I’m pretty sure there are other ways to stop a train guys.
- Yay or Nay: For being a TV movie Detonator has a decent amount of action. A helicopter explodes (a thank ya), some hostages are executed (show ’em who’s boss), and Pierce Brosnan’s chest glistening in the sun had to have been done using futuristic CGI. Christopher Lee is underused so much that you would think that he was already 100 years old at the time of filming. Ted Levine tries to play it like a badass. He uses a line from Rambo 3 and threatens to blow up the train multiple times but he’s a big pussycat (minus the cat) in the end. I see shades of glory for all involved but it’s nothing more than a Grit TV special on a Saturday afternoon.
If you’re still reading this then the bomb was defused. Defuser doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Detonator but it would have been a far more accurate title. That’s like re-naming Bloodsport something like “Surrender”. It just doesn’t fit with the film. Anyways, here are some more Bullet Points.
- There is a great scene where Brosnan is in a gunfight on the train and the guy who was shooting at him starts screaming that his gun is jammed. I mean, he screams it super loud. Way louder than you should ever scream when the guy you are shooting at is with pissing distance away. James Bond would have casually stood up and walked over there to punch the dudes lights out but Pierce just sits there like a jabroni.
- They keep having to stop themselves from saying ‘cameraman’ or ‘point man’ because she’s a woman. How progressive of them.
- Stewart asked Alexandra Paul if she knew the M203 grenade launcher to which she replied something like, “f*ckin’ A right!” Only to see in the next scene she has Nerf gun looking bazooka with a digital targeting system. This is the best way to piss me off in a movie. Another good way is to not have one single exposed nipple… c’mon guys, you’re better than that!