What Not To Watch: Spoiler
Gary Daniels has had one helluva run in the action movie game. Daniels burst upon the scene in the late 80’s and really came into his own in the 90’s. Daniels had one entertaining movie after the other from White Tiger to Hawk’s Vengeance and Riot to Bloodmoon. Gary Daniels was the United Kingdom’s gift to action long before Scott Adkins started kicking ass on screen.
But in recent years, I have not been as entertained by Gary’s work. Movies like Forced to Fight and Misfire both fell flat in my opinion. So when exactly did Gary Daniels’ movies start becoming hit or miss? When did the guarantee that a Gary Daniels movie was going to be entertaining end?
- SPOILER ALERT: I think we can pinpoint the decline in Gary’s filmography to one movie in particular, 1998’s Spoiler.
Spoiler is a futuristic prison movie, that sees Daniels’ character, Roger Mason, imprisoned for a crime he may or may not have committed. Now for some reason in the future, convicted felons are put in a state of suspended animation for the bulk of their sentence, then they are reanimated and serve the rest of their time in an actual prison. Why does the United States go to this system? Who knows? Does this system really make any sense? Not at all. But it does serve as punishment for Mason (and the audience) as the one thing Mason wants more than anything else in life is to see his daughter. She was 10 when Mason was first convicted, she is in her mid-30’s when he is reanimated the first time. Yes, I said first time because Spoiler’s plot is a continuous loop of Mason breaking out of prison, only to get caught just before he is about to be reunited with his daughter and then the whole process starts over again and each time Mason’s daughter is older and older, while Mason looks the same age as when he first went in.
The creative minds behind Spoiler may have decided to go an unconventional route with their prison movie instead of using some of the tried and true tropes of the sub-genre, but at least we get to see Gary Daniels fighting skills on full display, right?
- SPOILER ALERT: Not really, I don’t think I’ve seen Daniels fight any less than I did while watching Spoiler.
After reading about the ridiculous premise of the film and the minimal amount of Gary Daniels fighting action that was Spoiler, you probably look as dumbfounded as Gary Daniels does in the picture above. But there may be a silver lining in all of this… Spoiler does have some familiar faces serving as supporting players. Meg Foster (Masters of the Universe and They Live) is on the prison review board and interviews Roger Mason the first time he was reanimated. Arye Gross (Exterminator 2 and Minority Report) plays the doctor that does the reanimating. Bruce Glover (Diamonds Are Forever and Walking Tall) plays a priest. Bryan Genesse (Cyborg Cop III and The Circuit) and Willard E. Pugh (Robocop 2 and Traxx) play bounty hunters.
Pugh’s scene is probably the highlight of the film as he happens upon an escaped Roger Mason getting a massage at a topless massage parlor along side Tony Cox. This scene is the highlight because it features boobs, a midget and Gary’s biggest fight scene. But does the appearance by the former Mayor of Detroit and the other familiar faces really make Spoiler worth watching?
- SPOILER ALERT: If you are relying on Bryan Genesse to make your movie worth watching you are f*%#ed!
If I had to describe Spoiler with only two words those two words would be terribly boring. Spoiler felt like a movie that wanted to be different so badly that it just did the opposite of what the audience would expect from your typical action movie. Unfortunately it also did the opposite of what a any movie should do… entertain. The pacing of the movie makes you feel like you’ve aged 70+ years while watching, kind of like Mason’s daughter does in the movie.
- SPOILER ALERT: Mason finally gets to reunite with his daughter Jillian as she is on her death bed in the hospital. She believes she is meeting her father at the gates of heaven as she leaves this mortal coil.
And I’ll leave you as I always do, with some Bonus Bullet Points…
- Worst Cover Contest: Which of these two Spoiler DVD covers do you think is worse? Here’s a hint, there’s no wrong answer to this question.
- If You Ever: …wanted to watch another man watch Gary Daniels while Gary sat on the toilet, then you may be the only person I’d suggest watch Spoiler. But you’d probably get upset when you found out the guy was only watching a hologram that looked like Gary Daniels sitting on a toilet. So don’t watch Spoiler.
- Disturbing Quote: “I can’t feel my nuts.”
- Glory Hole: At one point in this cinematic monstrosity, Roger Mason is arrested and put in a jail cell, he talks to a woman in the cell next to his through a hole in the wall. The woman’s name is China Vagina. That is some quality writing Michael Kalesniko.
- Uneven Trade: While Daniels’ fighting skills aren’t on display, Spoiler does allow Daniels to show off his sewing skills.