REVIEW: Executive Target
Executive Target is a movie that has a high reputation for fans of Grade B action flicks. Indeed this is often considered one of PM's best titles, the action sequences (like all PM movies) are all spectactular and the cast features Michael Madsen, Roy Scheider, Angie Everhar,Keith David and Matthias Hues (Think of him as the European version of Bolo Yeung as MPM from City On Fire put it so well) So with all said and done why is this movie still a disappointment?
Cause Michael Madsen is just not a very good action hero. Sure the man was good in Reservoir Dogs, plays a great villain and can hold his own with hollywood greats but he just doesn't have the look of a hero, he's just too mean looking and thugish to really work in a role. The part needs someone like Van Damme or Chuck Norris, someone who's lack of acting ability actually passes as impassive charisma and screen presence. Indeed Michael Madsen is a decent actor he just approaches the role the way a good actor would, the problem with this is that it starts to feel as if he actually believes without any trace of humor that what he is doing is plausible and with no sense of irony or indeed humor, you have a guy who has the acting down but none of the charisma and indeed he feels invincible at times.
Then there's Keith David who is almost never a good bad guy, David is likewise a good actor who works best in sidekick or mentor roles, in fact he could probably play a good hero as well, but as a villain he just seems too nice of a guy. It's like the same problem Madsen has, except with David it's in reverse. The less said about Angie Everhart the better and Roy Scheider pretty much accomplishes the Ironside agenda without even trying. Seriously this guy barely talks, basically doesn't care about the movie and pretty much treats the whole project with contempt and still manages to outact his fellow cast members.
The movie itself has some good action, but the production values went only into these action sequences because the bad guy's main hide out is really cheeseball. And the story grows frequently more absurd as it goes along. The story is as cliched as it is routine, basically is about bad guys hiring a stock car racer (Madsen) to abduct the president (Scheider) and kill him, then blame the assassination on terrorists who will then increase military spending in anti-terror programs, keeping jobs safe and keeping the country safe in the process. Once again such a plot has been done to death and here the variation isn't much better than the usual output. Executive Target is basically routine movie without enough soul or indeed depth to fling it into the guilty pleasure section for bad movie fans, it is simply a string of admittedly good action sequences strung together with very boring plot elements which get in the way of the action. It's all obvious and stale material but done with no real sense of joy by the cast.
Outside of the director who stages some good car chases and lots of fireballs. In that regard it does its job but I personally wanted to see something more, at least something to laugh at. Just something other than the usual tired cliches.
Hamlin Grade: 4.5
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