Bullet Points: The Force
There are two sure fire ways for an action movie to instantly earn my respect. One, come up with a premise that has never been done before. Two, cast Jason Gedrick of Iron Eagle fame.
The 1994 film The Force met both of my criteria. The creative minds behind The Force conjured up a story that intertwined the supernatural into some solid police action and they also wisely made the extremely likable Jason Gedrick the hero of the film.
- The Set Up: Action movie veteran Gary Hudson (Road House and Martial Outlaw) plays Detective Des Flynn. Flynn is a top notch cop, father and husband. A man with a big heart, Des is doing his best to help a young prostitute named Coral get her life together. When Coral ends up dead and Des starts investigating her murder on his own, he is set up by Coral’s killer and becomes the murderer’s next victim. The murderer kills Des in the old city jail building, bludgeoning him with a tire iron. The murderer then takes Des’ body out of the building and makes it appear he died in a motorcycle accident… but while he took Des’ body, he didn’t take Des’ spirit.
- Rookie Sensation: Jason Gedrick plays Cal Warner, a book smart cop (he aced the police academy exam) but a cop that is sorely lacking in street smarts and experience. When Cal and his partner Erin (Cyndi Pass of Mission of Justice fame) chase a couple of car thieves into the old city jail building and Cal gets shot, the spirit of Des Flynn enters Cal’s body… saving Cal’s life and giving Des a chance to solve his own murder. I do not remember something like this happening in any other action movie I have ever seen. The closest match I can think of is when Lucinda Dickey’s character is possessed by a ninja in Ninja III: The Domination. But a cop seeking justice AFTER he is dead!?!? That was a new one for me.
- That’s the Spirit: Cal begins having visions of Des’ last memories in his dreams and when he bumps into Des’ widow Sarah at the police station (played by TV’s Kim Delaney), the spirit of Des takes over and Cal starts talking to Sarah like they are old friends and she just thinks he is a nut job. But with Des guiding him from beyond the grave, Cal is eventually able to prove to Sarah that he has made an otherworldly connection with Des. Sarah takes him to Des’ spiritual advisor Dr. Shin (played by Aki Aleong of Pound of Flesh and Braddock fame), Shin confirms there are two spirits in Cal’s body and the only way to get the spirit of Des to its final destination is to bring to justice the person that murdered Des Flynn.
Not only did The Force earn my respect, I also enjoyed the film. Jason Gedrick was really in his element in this one. A young man with a lot of promise that gets some help from a wiser mentor. That formula worked for him in The Heavenly Kid, it worked for him in Iron Eagle and by God it works for him in The Force too. I also enjoyed seeing Gary Hudson in a protagonist role and not one of the seedy characters he’s played in movies like Martial Law and Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story. Aki Aleong maximized his minutes in his small supporting role. Kim Delaney was perfect in her role as the grieving widow who never believed her husband’s death was an accident. There is an annoying child actor but fortunately he doesn’t reach Rocky IV levels of kid annoyance.
If the spirit compels you, check out these Bonus Bullet Points…
- If You Ever: …wanted to see a cop subdue a perp by throwing a ginseng root at him, then this is the movie for you.
- Babe Watch: Yasmine Bleeth of Baywatch fame, played the role of prostitute Coral Wilson. I don’t think her character lasted five minutes.
- One Question: I found myself wondering if Cal and Sarah were going to get freaky so Des could vicariously screw his wife one last time.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Jason Gedrick dressed up like a bum, then this is the movie for you.
- Total Recall: Speaking of the bum scene, the booking officer in the hallway that questions Erin about the bum she’s bringing in sounded and looked vaguely familiar to me. The actor who played him is named Frank Novak. After a few moments of thought, I realized Frank played Captain Novak on a special on location edition of WWF Prime Time Wrestling back in November 1988. After remembering this, I realized just how scary (and useless) my gift of recall is.