Add your review
Avg. Rating: 2.5
on a desert trek with kristian alfonso . . .
Action star Dolph Lundgren is an escaped convict on a mission of revenge, in Army of One (1993), an entertaining comic book adventure, directed by stunt specialist Vic Armstrong, which features an abundance of nicely executed action sequences, car chases, gunfights, and pyrotechnics.
Things are not going well for ex-race car driver Wellman Anthony Santee (Lundgren), when his best friend is killed, and he is wrongfully convicted for killing a cop, in a deal gone bad. Santee escapes from custody in transit to prison, and flees into the southern California desert. In need of wheels, Santee grabs a truck, and kidnaps off duty sheriff Rita Marek (Kristian Alfonso), at a gas station. The innocent hostage dragged into danger has been overdone, but it works well here, as Alfonso is sassy, colorful, sexy, and does not lose her cool. She is always trying to figure things out, which helps the viewer, since there is a certain element of mystery about what is happening.
Lt. Franklin Severance (George Segal) and his partner Jack Rudisill (Beau Starr), the LA cops who originally arrested Santee, join the law enforcement posse, but they have a slightly different agenda. Santee's quest to get money owed to him, results in a crazy mad battle at a warehouse full of stolen sports cars. Santee is all over the place, blasting everything in sight. The mayhem is surreal, and quite amusing. Santee escapes with Rita in a sports coupe that does amazingly well off road, and the chase in the desert continues.
Santee goes through the adventure operating at less than full strength, getting shot at several different instances. Fortunately he heals quickly. The obnoxious Severance, and his partner, are able to hold their own in a fight, only because Santee is injured. Their fight scenes are hilarious, choreographed like a pro wrestling match, with Santee repeatedly getting hit in his wounded areas.
The storyline is a bit unpolished, and rough in places, but the fights and stunts are entertaining, making Army of One a mostly exciting ride, and one of Lundgren's better films. Soap star Kristian Alfonso (Days of Our Lives), who's career had mostly been in television, is quite good here. This 106 minute version is fullscreen, without subtitles or extras features.
Defeated Army, Tree of Woe
They say that this was Dolph Lundgren's finest movie. They say that Lion's Gate re-edited and cut everything from the film's content to its title upons it video release. They say that the film was an action extravaganza and had an impressive musical score. They say it was to Lundgren as First Blood was to Stallone and The Terminator was to Schwarzenegger. They say a lot of things; I'm not sure how much of it is true, but I know that I wanted to believe that I could find even the shadow of a good movie in "Army of One". Perhaps I did...but a shadow doesn't go a long way.
Wellman Santee (Lundgren, Universal Soldier) is a former racecar driver currently earning his wage by transporting stolen cars across the desert with his pal Eddie (Ken Foree, The Devil's Rejects), but when both his friend and a highway patrol officer are mysteriously murdered, Santee is convincted of the crime and bound for prison. After a daring escape, Santee kidnaps a female police officer (Kristian Alfonso, "Days Of Our Lives") en route to tracking down those who set him up.
Let me start by naming the movie's good points: Santee's attack on Jimmy Shoeshine's (Michael Chan, The Closer: The Complete Seasons 1-4) chop shop is cool - in a one-man-army kind of way - and the Ferrari/Lamborghini race is pretty good. That's it. Though I have not seen this "original cut" that everyone else is talking about, I'm convinced that the movie must have been re-edited in some way, because few action films can survive on this little actual action. The above-mentioned scenes are pretty much the only adrenaline-pumpers "Army of One" has to offer, with the exception of the comical showdown between Santee and antagonists George Segal (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and Beau Starr ("Due South"), during which Lundgren leaps 200 feet from a hilltop and decides at will when his gunshot wound hurts.
The rest of the movie, uninterrupted by thrills, covers Santee's relationship with Officer Marek...which is about as asinine as these things can get: aside from never having it explained to her why she was kidnapped, Marek falls for Santee by watching him yell at a boy and enduring being chained into bed with him. They eventually get in on underneath a train overpass in the desert while they rub plant juice all over eachother. Sound strange? Awkward? Forced? Well, that pretty much sums up the whole movie. Potentially intriguing relationships like those between Santee and Eddie's family and the crooks aren't explored at all, even though it's clear that there's more than just a casual connection involved. Some films manage to pull this "just accept it as it is" effectively, but "Army" is not one of them.
Without action or anything other than run-of-the-mill acting, the movie seems to drag on and on. The potentially dramatic setting of the desert becomes dull and monotonous, and whatever symbolism the film held regarding Joshua trees is lost to me. Again, I'm sure that sometime, somewhere, there used to be a good movie in here, but it seems thoroughly lost to time.
When dumb meets awesome
This is a hilarious action film in which Dolph Lundgren kills dozens, maybe hundreds, of henchmen while driving a Ferrari F40 through the desert dirt roads of the American Southwest. He battles the world's worst marksmen, who deserve an award for the most ineffectual fighting skills ever known. Meanwhile, Lundgren lands plunge after plunge of bullets into bad guys, causing them to dance in place as crimson clouds of blood erupt again and again. This is not just killing, it is a tongue-in- cheek ballet.
Gnarled guts, bones sticking out, and blood-showers are the order of the day during the incorrigibly violent battle at the boss's headquarters. In it, Dolph Lundgren murders almost every living thing within miles. This movie has some of the most cartoonish simulated violence ever put to film. It also contains baffling sexism and racism (Chinese portrayals). The female lead is completely illogical and has no motives other to escort the un-charismatic Lundgren as he circles the desert aimlessly. Overall this is a highly watchable film that nonetheless is campy and dated enough that no one today could take it seriously.
As always, Lungren delivers an outstanding movie!!!
At this point, Dolph can do no wrong! Every movie that I have seen has been amazing. His confidence, even in the face of danger is inspiring. His self control and never give up attitude is what makes Dolph such a phenomenal actor!
Of course, this is a five star movie!!
Don't miss this classic!!
Synopsis of a fun chase n' shooter (less fun on DVD though)
This is one of those films where you know what you're gonna get by simply looking at the cover of the DVD or tape. Dolph Lundgren looking tan and buff, purportedly standing in front of an explosion out in the desert, with the big block letters of the title. Luckily for me, I enjoy a lot of these B-grade action movies. Army of One is actually better than most such efforts; sure, its predictable and has some goofy moments, but the cast is pretty decent and there is plenty of action. Anyone looking for some car chases, bad guys getting shot up, and explosions shouldn't be disappointed as the filmmakers do an outstanding job where it counts.
The movie starts with Dolph driving a big truck out on a California desert highway with his buddy along for the ride. Luckily, they don't run onto the set of any other B-action movie, this being the region where about a billion such films get made. Their truck gets pulled over by a cop and the men look nervous, as they are hauling something vaguely illegal. Dolph's buddy gets out to fulfill his role as the slain buddy who will drive our hero in his quest for revenge. Dolph also gets shot in the melee and is sent to prison for apparently killing the cop in their gun battle.
Some dirty cops try to kill Dolph while he's being transported to prison, but he gets away, albeit after getting shot again. He runs out through the desert, showing relatively little ill effect from the bullet wound in his abdomen. We can already tell that Dolph can take care of himself, he must be one of those ex-something or others that all action heroes are.
The next day, we meet lovely Kristian Alfonso as she argues with her boyfriend in a diner. She leaves in a huff and heads out to her 4-wheel drive pickup truck. Dolph shows up and forces her over to the passenger side and takes off like a banshee through desert trails; for the next few minutes, we get treated to what seems like a Toyota truck commercial as we see it twist and turn all over the place. It may have been a bit more prudent to slow it down a bit, as all the dust clouds the truck is kicking up would make this wanted man fairly easy to find. He isn't found, though, and winds up at his estranged dad's out-of-the-way place. Thankfully, this family stuff doesn't turn out to be a subplot, just 2 minutes of character development.
We spend some time seeing George Segal! as the lead detective out to get Dolph, now wanted for kidnapping as well as escaping prison; George should be out to get the costumer who told him to wear that silly hat. Geoffrey Lewis is also around as a level-headed sheriff. We learn that Kristian is really a hard-nosed cop who is expert in hand-to-hand combat; she must be another one of those ex-something or others.
The plot thickens a bit as we learn more about the people Dolph is out to get and Kristian becomes more sympathetic to his cause, after the predictable cute arguing between hero and tough chick. There's a little more running and chasing and arguing, and they stop one night at a motel, where we get the mandatory shower scene for Kristian, though don't get too excited as its obviously a body-double's bazongas we get to view.
Jumping later on, we get a big shoot-em-up in a warehouse between Dolph and some Oriental gang that did him wrong. We see about 15 or so of these guys enter, though it seems that Dolph wasted about 40 of `em. We see the usual action movie traits here, guns that seemingly never run out of bullets, dumb bad guys who jump out into the open, firing their weapons out into space, conveniently placed props and guns, and guys jumping or falling through lots of crap. Don't get me wrong, it's all still very cool!
Lots of exotic-looking (though clearly replica) cars get shot up too. I was actually pleased that they weren't shooting up true exotic cars, as I would go nuts thinking about what a waste it would be. For a B-movie, this was actually a pretty cool action scene, they really made an effort in this one.
Eventually we find out who the main bad guy of the movie is (not exactly a big surprise) and we see a cool car chase between a Ferrari replica and a Lamborghini replica; things get kinda wrapped up and sorted out; I guess it turns out that you go free the moment the cops find out you were innocent of the crimes you were convicted and imprisoned for, no court stuff required. Then again, this film does benefit from its brevity; they give us just enough information that we need, not too much fluff. "Army of One", though sometimes goofy, it at least knows what its audience wants, always a good thing.
Unfortunately, Artisan often has no idea what its audience wants, the DVD is mercilessly cut down to pan and scan and the sound and colors seem rather muted, giving this film (which had excellent photography and choreography) the look of a hack TV pilot. Hopefully, someone will bring out a newer widescreen, competent DVD of this fun actioner (though I doubt that someone will be Artisan)
Movie - four stars
DVD - two stars
Review this book