Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998) DVD

You should never hassle the hoff.
Rating:  2 out of 5 Humanoid Robots Clearly Used As A Plot Point

Plot Synopsis:  David Hasselhoff is Nick Fury.  That’s pretty much it.

The Good:

-Got to give it up for Von Strucker making an appearance.  Pretty much the only appearance of him in the Marvel cinematic universe with the exception of rumors that he will be in Avengers 2.

-Hydra gets a shout out in the opening as well.  Perhaps the first time Hydra is named in a movie.

-I don’t hate Hasselhoff as Nick Fury.  He’s got a look and an attitude, he’s got a physicality.  He doesn’t have subtly, not even a little bit, his performance is incredibly broad but in the context of THIS movie it fits right in.

-A mention of the “SHIELD Kirby Academy”.  Nice Kirby reference, when they nod to Stan Lee with a cameo in nearly every movie it’s nice when Kirby gets thrown a bone since early Marvel was not the “Stan Lee Show” but rather a collaboration or many great talents (including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) but Stan the Man gets the bears share of credit.

-The Helicarrier doesn’t look that bad when you consider this is a made for TV movie with probably a pretty limited budget.

-Shout out to Clay Quatermain another rarely mentioned member of SHIELD.

-There almost isn’t a sentence spoken that isn’t a one liner.

-They show off the needle gun, one of my favorite Marvel weapons.

-The reveal of the Life Model Decoy is awesome and disturbing.

-A Life Model Decoy of Nick Fury, why whatever could they do with that?


-That’s a big ass ring.

-Arnim Zola makes an appearance.

-“Don’t you dare cut me off you comic book coward!” so bad it’s good.

-There is a brief but interesting throwaway line where Nick wonders if Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. are keeping each other in business.  It’s always interesting, to me at least, the chicken and egg scenario presented by super-heroes/super-villains.  It’s frequently mentioned but I haven’t seen it taken really seriously.  It’s interesting to think if it’s true, are Hydra and SHIELD in a constant cycle of action and reaction?  Does one feed the other?  How do you stop the cycle?  If SHIELD stops doesn’t it just leave the world vulnerable to Hydra?  If there was no SHIELD would an entity like HYRDA just swoop in and subjugate everyone in a bid for world domination?

-Strucker returns!  After spending most of the movie in a frozen canister he comes back!

The Bad:

-“Let us rock… and let us roll!”

-Nick Fury is up in the Yukon where he’s apparently trying to mine a concrete bunker.  What he’s mining, why he’s mining isn’t really important enough to talk about but I can tell you there aren’t many minerals to be found in a concrete bunker.

-Did they think they were re-making Commando?  Cause they weren’t.  And if that is what they were trying for they failed.

-Dum Dum Duggan is in this, that’s cool, he’s a dumpy paper pusher, that’s less cool.

-Wait, wait, wait, the poorly dubbed guy in the opening is Clay Quartermain?  That is much less cool.  I preferred it when he was just a name spoken by some tech guy.

-Oh, Sandra, Sandra, Sandra, oh honey, what accent are you trying to do?

-More bad dubbing.

-“Beauty truth and truth beauty.” “Why are you saying that?” “I just felt like saying it and wasting screen time being uncharacteristically wacky.”

-“I can’t read him, he’s, he’s thinking in stock footage.  My god, the stock footage.”

-Oh snap, Sandra Hess is playing Viper pre The Wolverine using her and changing her completely.

-“Listen carefully to the giant spinning head!”

-The movie descends into cliché pretty quick.  I mean almost immediately it falls into cliché but it goes from entertaining cliché to boring cliché at about the half-way point.

-Hitting that LMD note pretty hard aren’t we?

-Hydra agents are, apparently, pale, bald and suited.  They also all stick out like sore thumbs due to their glow in the dark pallor.

-I’m pretty sure the “HYDRA bunker” set is the same as the “Fury’s Concrete Mine” set from before.

-“It’s all been too easy.” “Are you sure that isn’t lazy writing?”

-So, if you have a fever, one that’s bad enough that it’s messing up your cognitive function, you just need to go into a freezer.  Then everything will be fine.  I don’t think fevers work that way.

-The action is a bit flaccid.  Much of their gun effects consist of a flashing white screen, off screen shooting and no squibs.

-It’s Hydra but there isn’t a lick of green.  They use red and black, probably to invoke a more 3rd Reich-y feel.

The Ugly:

-In the opening there is terrible lip synching.  Did they not hire English speaking actors?  Did they try to do all the audio in post and just fucked it up?  It’s all possible in the world of low budget Marvel movies!

-There are points where this movie appears shot on shiteo.  I realize it’s a made for TV movie, which will affect production values, but there are points where this dips sub soap opera levels.

-Ugh, the green screen.

-Movie, you clearly spent all your money on the Helicarrrier, everything else isn’t great.

-Lasers, apparently, look like a yellow waterfall.

Final Thoughts:  The movie feels over long for its content and quality.  If it were higher quality the movie wouldn’t feel so weirdly paced although I’m sure part of the pacing issue are due to the fact that it was a made for TV movie.  If it just had a higher budget the writing might be a bit more competent, the acting a bit better and the action a bit more exciting.  As it is the movie gets boring and overstays its welcome by the mid-point. 

I’m pretty sure this was meant to be a pilot to a show that never got picked up, which is both good and bad.  It’s bad that we never got to see where they wanted to go with it but good in that it would have probably killed any chance of the current, and awesome, Agents of SHIELD TV series from happening.

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