Falcon Down
Director: Phillip J. Roth

Director: Buzz Kulik

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Falcon DownIn the lame-brain airborne adventure Falcon Down (2000), a squad of scrawny nerdy mercenary commandos break into a high security base to steal the most advanced airplane ever made, a plane armed with an icky people-cookin' microwave weapon.

The advanced plane was alleged by promotional material to have been based on an actual top secret spy plane. But it looks very much like a crackerjack prize, or at best a cute toy patched together from two plastic models, the Concord Supersonic Transport, & a Romulan bird of prey, spray-painted black.

The pilot Captain Hank (Dale Midkiff) was the only member of the gang who didn't know they were all working for evil scoundrels, being as he is thick as a brick. When the "duhhh, uh-oh" light goes on over his head, he does all he can to muck up the plan to sell America's most advanced airplane to those disgusting Chinese for a gazillion smackeroos.

Captain Hank's heroics provide screwy excuses for gunplay inside the airplane, not the only unlikely behaviors witnessed. There's also a bit of kung fu boxing & lots of racket on the soundtrack. Yet there's no real action to speak of, unless you count close-ups of the seated pilot's worried expression & lots of shouting.

The leader of the plan to sell military secrets to the commy bastards is the traitorous Major Bob played by William Shatner in little more than framing cameo appearances. Probably he did his bits in one day of shooting, without the rest of the cast handy, so he had to be on the intercom a lot. He's the best thing in the film, which is as condemning a remark as any. I'd've replaced the entire cast except for him.

When there are no characters at all on the screen, the digital anime-like FX of scenes in the air & under water are only half bad & kind of fun.

Falcon Down provides low level James Bond 007 style entertainment. Crash landing on an ice field then falling through the ice was the show's biggest FX, & even that was no great shakes. By the end, just about everyone is dead except the good guy. it remains emptyheaded throughout.

Incident on a Dark StreetThe presence of William Shatner, without regard for whether he's good or bad in his performance, is doubtless what keeps Incident on a Dark Street (1973) from being kicked to the curb & utterly forgotten. In fact his role of complete villain is interesting for him, despite the film's overall mediocrity.

We're thrown immediately into a poor excuse for action, a foot-chase somewhere in Los Angeles, through parking lots & over fences.

Vinny (Tony Giorgio) in terror for his life finds his way to a pay phone making a mysterious call. Then he's captured. Off-screen he'll be killed & dumped in the bay. That's pretty much the sum total of the incident on a dark street promised in the title.

So what's going on? Something generically gangsterish, can't you tell by the name "Vinny"? It's not the sort of film that needs more specifics than that.

Incident on a Dark StreetShatner & Gilbert Roland play organized crime bosses in the construction industry. These two actors, plus Richard S. Castellano as the repugnant mobster turning state's evidence, provide the only reasons to watch this turd, & those are darned lightweight reasons. But hey, three lightweight reasons is better than one.

There's one brief gory shower of blood along the way, but for the majority of the film the story consists only of talking heads.

The heroes of the tale leave much less interesting impressions than the villains. David Canary from Bonanza, & Robert Prine later to star in Chips, play federal attorneys out to prosecute organized crime.

There's also a subplot about a drug dealer that doesn't seem to connect to the main story at all, unless I blinked somewhere, & I admit I may have blinked several times, maybe even snored.

You'll recognize many television stars from 70s in the cast, for even though this is now in circulation as an old crime movie, in reality it's not merely a telefilm, but a pilot movie for a quite rightly unsold series.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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