Friday, July 8, 2011

July 6 - One Tough Bastard (1996)

The cover of my VHS copy of One Tough Bastard

One Tough Bastard (1996)

Director: Kurt Wimmer
Format: VHS (Video Box Office)

In the late 1980s, Brian "Boz" Bosworth and MC Hammer were seemingly on top of the world. College football standout Bosworth signed what at the time was the biggest rookie contract to play in the NFL, and Hammer was a successful rapper on the verge of superstardom via U Can't Touch This.

Fast forward a few years to 1996 and both men had fallen from grace in a big way. Bosworth's NFL career ended after three years where he was more famous for his off-the-field antics than his playing and Hammer's chart success didn't stretch beyond the initial buzz.

But hey, it's a good thing for us that it turned out that way, because otherwise they wouldn't have ended up acting together in this direct-to-video action revenge flick!

Also known by its TV-friendly title of One Man's Justice, this is director Kurt Wimmer's debut (he has since helmed two more movies, the latest being the 2006 Milla Jovovich vehicle Ultraviolet).

Boz - trading in his trademark spikey mullet for a more conventional do - is Sergeant John North, an army drill sergeant and hand-to-hand combat expert whose wife and daughter are murdered after stumbling on a shady arms deal. North discovers the man who murdered them, Marcus (Jeff Kober, ALIEN NATION) is working for crooked FBI agent Karl Savak (Bruce Payne), who in turn is working for crime kingpin Dexter Kane (Hammer!).

North naturally wants to mete out some good ol' revenge, while Savak and Kane want a stolen shipment of special guns. Also thrown into the mix is a young streetsmart kid (DeJuan Guy, CANDYMAN) who is running drugs for the gang, but who North takes under his wing. North ends up in jail but busts out, the bad guys double and then triple cross each other, and naturally everything leads to a final showdown between North and the men who killed his family.

The plot, acting and action in One Tough Bastard is all pretty good, but what really makes it fun is the hammy performance of Payne, sporting a nose ring and a blonde mullet (perhaps Boz's missing locks migrated to Payne's scalp) and half-whispering his lines with sarcastic evil.

While Bosworth isn't very good at emoting, he's an above-average action star and handles his role well enough, including the fight scenes. The supporting cast is good - Kober always makes a good sleazy bad guy and even Hammer is enjoyable with his curse-riddled performance (I always thought he left music to become a minister - I guess not). Look out for familiar character actor MC Gainey (CON AIR) in the briefest of on-screen appearances early in the movie, and Neal McDonough (WALKING TALL) in an early movie role.

There are better action movies out there but this one's worth seeing to witness Bruce Payne's performance. And hey, it's not every day you get to watch a movie starring both Brian Bosworth and MC Hammer, right?

Previews on my VHS: SFW, Money Train, Mute Witness, Chicken, Devil in a Blue Dress, Death Machine, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Jumanji.

No comments: