Friday, August 18, 2017

Deadly Takeover aka Deadly Outbreak

One of many DIE HARD-influenced thrillers to flood the direct-to-video market during the 1990s, DEADLY TAKEOVER (also seen in some markets as DEADLY OUTBREAK) is a strong showcase for Jeff Speakman.

The kenpo expert dropped down to DTV after his two theatrical vehicles, THE PERFECT WEAPON and STREET KNIGHT, failed to light a spark under action audiences. He made THE EXPERT and this back to back for stuntman-turned-director Rick Avery, and there’s no doubt DEADLY TAKEOVER is the superior.

Terrorists led by calm-but-dangerous Ron Silver (REVERSAL OF FORTUNE) invade a scientific facility in Tel Aviv, massacre everyone, and demand a canister of deadly toxin they can ransom for half a billion bucks. Unfortunately for Silver, the only survivors — scientist Rochelle Swanson (who receives a special Introducing credit, even though she had already appeared in several films like INDECENT BEHAVIOR II and SECRET GAMES 3), nerdy security man Idan Alterman, and U.S. embassy guard Speakman — have the canister. Now it’s DIE HARD with Speakman crawling around, picking off Silver’s men one at a time and talking smack to their boss over a stolen walkie-talkie.

Derivative for sure, but DEADLY TAKEOVER is also entertaining for unassuming action fans who enjoy humor with their broken glass, car explosions, gun battles, and kung fu. There’s also a lengthy car chase inside a building, which you don’t see every day. Speakman is pretty quick with a quip while dispatching the bad guys (“Your party stinks,” he tells Silver. “Not enough ice cream and way too many clowns.”), and would you believe Avery recycles GET SMART’s old “You’re leaning on my chest” gag? He also has a weird obsession with violence against testicles. After directing two 1995 releases, Avery went back to stunts on A-level films like THE DARK KNIGHT and AMERICAN SNIPER.

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