Bullet Points: Storm Trooper
There is no denying that director Jim Wynorski is B-Movie royalty. Jim may not be the king but he is damn sure “The Prince of the B-Movies” after he spent some quality time under the learning tree of the master himself, Roger Corman.
Jim Wynorski has over 100 directorial credits to his name, including fan favorites like Deathstalker II and Chopping Mall and the subject of this review, 1998’s Storm Trooper.
- Total Chaos: The movie begins with a chaotic situation at the Tannis Corporation headquarters (this appeared to be the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant that has appeared in many a movie over the years). In the bowels of the facility, we see a man and a woman trying to escape, but the Tannis security force led by a man named Kriegal (Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame) are hot on their trail. The woman does not make it out alive… but the man (John Laughlin of The Rock fame) gets out of the building, hijacks a motorcycle and escapes. This does not sit well with Kriegal or Kriegal’s superior, General Beckett.
- Country Living: We are then introduced to one of the major players of the film, a character named Grace (Carol Alt of Thunder in Paradise fame). Grace is an emotional wreck. We learn that her 8 year old son had died a year earlier and Grace is still having trouble coping with that grim reality. If that wasn’t bad enough, Grace finds herself in a loveless marriage with her highway patrolman husband Randal (Tim Abell of Instinct to Kill fame). Randal comes across as a real asshole, who is both verbally and emotionally abusive towards Grace. Things come to a head and the two have a heated argument that results in Randal striking his wife and Grace retaliating by shooting Randal in the back with his own gun. Now you may be thinking things couldn’t possibly get any worse for Grace, but as she is cleaning up her crime scene, she hears her beloved dog Rocky outside going crazy and attacking a mysterious man… the same mysterious man who escaped the Tannis Corporation at the start of the movie. Against her better judgment, Grace helps the mystery man. His memory is fuzzy to say the least, Grace refers to him as Starke, because that was the name on the uniform he was wearing (he stole the uniform during his escape) and does her best to nurse him back to health… although it is clear that there is something unusual about this man.
- Hot Pursuit: It should be noted that the mystery man only stumbled his way onto Grace’s property after narrowly escaping some of the men Kriegal sent after him. The Kriegal bounty hunters included the dynamic duo of John Terlesky (who worked with Wynorski on Deathstalker II and Chopping Mall) and rapper Kool Moe Dee (of “Wild Wild West” fame) and a trucker named McCleary (Ross Hagen of Avenging Angel fame) who has an explosive on the road confrontation with the mystery man and his stolen motorcycle.
- Soldiers of Fortune: With Kriegal’s attempts to bring the mystery man back to Tannis unsuccessful, General Beckett hits the panic button and brings in a group of mercenaries led by a man named Denton (Rick Hill, star of the original Deathstalker) to get the job done. Some of Denton’s soldiers included Mitchell (played by Melissa Brasselle aka Rocky DeMarco,a frequent co-worker of Jim Wynorski) and playing the role of Roth is an eye patch wearing Corey Feldman! Once Denton and his crew get inside Grace’s house, Denton provides Grace and the audience with some exposition… the mystery man is not a man at all, he is in fact a cyborg that was at first created to be the ultimate police officer, but then the scientists at Tannis got greedy and started messing with the programming, causing the cyborgs to freak out and in the case of “Starke” escape. Rick Hill’s performance was a real highlight and I thought it was pretty cool that the movie featured two different Deathstalkers in it.
Storm Trooper felt like it was all over the place at times. But the herky jerky plot and the blurring of the line between good and evil would lead to some developments in the final act of the movie that I don’t think anyone could have predicted. They even set things up for a Storm Trooper 2, although that never came to fruition.
I would not include Storm Trooper on the list of Jim Wynorski’s best work and the movie is far from perfect. But Storm Trooper is the type of action movie that is perfect for those lazy weekend mornings where you really don’t feel like parting ways with the couch just yet and instead you want to watch some things explode, vehicular mayhem and people shoot at each other.
A perfect way to end any review on this site is to throw in some Bonus Bullet Points…
- Disturbing Quote: “Well you really caught your dick in the wringer this time Kreigal.” – Denton
- Corey Hater: Melissa Brasselle’s Mitchell is all too eager to offer to kill Roth after Roth questions Denton’s orders. Brasselle would attempt to kill the other Corey, Corey Haim, in Demolition High.
- Familiar Faces: The two generals featured in Storm Trooper are both veteran character actors who you have no doubt seen in numerous projects over the years. Arthur Roberts, who played General Beckett, is probably best known by action fans for his turn as Braden in the best Sho Kosugi movie of them all, Revenge of the Ninja… John Henry Richardson (or Jay Richardson for short) played General Gardner. Richardson was in L.A. Heat, Demolition High and more recently Sniper: Special Ops.
- Composed By: The soundtrack for Storm Trooper was composed by longtime composer Terry Plumeri. Some of the other notable movies that Plumeri scored include Death Wish V: The Face of Death, Soldier Boyz and his very first film, Black Eagle.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Carol Alt shower while standing over Tim Abell’s dead body in a bath tub, then this is the movie for you. Shockingly despite Jim Wynorski’s insatiable appetite for bare breasts on film, this scene did not feature nudity.
- Cameo: And speaking of Wynorski, he has an uncredited role as one of the scientists at the Tannis Corporation.