Saturday, February 20, 2016


You don’t have to go back too far to discover the inspiration for this ludicrous action movie about a crazy white cop and his more cautious black partner who always wants to call for backup before the shooting starts. Yes, BULLETPROOF, written by T.L. Lankford (DEEP SPACE) and B.J. Goldman (TRIPWIRE) from a story by Lankford and Fred Olen Ray (CYCLONE), is another semi-comic LETHAL WEAPON clone, though it’s focused only on the white half of the partnership: a sax-playing, womanizing, wisecracking maverick cop named Frank McBain aka “Bulletproof.”

A former Special Forces officer, Bulletproof earned his nickname because of his uncanny ability to survive being shot 39 times (he removes the slugs from his body himself and keeps them in a Mason jar!). Played by the one and only Gary Busey (THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY), McBain is recruited by his old Army boss to parachute into Mexico and find an Arab dictator named Kartiff (Henry Silva), who has kidnapped some American soldiers and hijacked a top-secret nuclear-powered tank called Thunderblast. Wouldn’t you know that McBain’s old flame, Devon (Darlanne Fluegel), is among the captives.

Packed with intentional humor among the chases and explosions, BULLETPROOF comes darn close to parody on occasion. Dozens of bad guys, spraying the air with machine gun fire, are unable to hit their Busey-sized target, even at close range, while McBain can blast ‘em back with just a couple of shots. McBain also has the strange habit of calling people “butthorns,” a term the writers probably thought would become part of our daily vocabulary. For all the humor and over-the-top action, though, an off-screen rape seems out of place here.

Presumably meant as a directing project for Ray, BULLETPROOF was helmed by journeyman Steve Carver (AN EYE FOR AN EYE), who put the scenery-crunching supporting cast through the paces. In addition to hams Busey and Silva (MEGAFORCE), you get Thalmus Rasulala (BLACULA) as Bulletproof’s “Murtaugh,” Rene Enriquez (HILL STREET BLUES), R.G. Armstrong (RACE WITH THE DEVIL), L.Q. Jones (LONE WOLF MCQUADE), Luke Askew (THE WARRIOR AND THE SORCERESS), Lydie Denier (SATAN’S PRINCESS), Mills Watson (THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO), Lincoln Kilpatrick (HOLLYWOOD COP) as Bulletproof’s angry black superior officer, William Smith (RUN, ANGEL, RUN), and the rare sighting of Danny Trejo (SPY KIDS) wearing a suit.

1 comment:

Peter Collinson said...

Back in the day I used to have a Sunday-Monday weekend and adopted Sunday night as the night that I'd stay up late and watch a cheesy action movie on video cassette. I saw scads of the things, there are actually few from the video action era that I seem to have missed.
I remember this one very well, but not because of the film itself.
Because everyone else in the house had to get up early on Monday morning, while I watched I listened to the movie on headphones.
And there was a scene with the most blatant "subliminal" comments I've ever heard or heard about.

There is a scene where the characters take refuge in a church, which I believe comes under attack. In a lull in the action a voice whispered softly on the soundtrack- "There is no God." Happened a couple times.
This seemed blatant enough to me to qualify more as a prank than a genuine subliminal message, and I found it creepy as hell. It's not that the whisper had any effect on my religious faith or lack thereof, it was just disturbing to think of somebody taking the time to do such a thing.

As a lifelong devotee of late night movie watching, often using headphones, I've never bumped into anything like that before or since. I've never heard anyone say anything about noticing it, but then this may be the first time I've seen a write-up on the movie. It seems you didn't notice it, so I wonder if the 'subliminal' appeared only on the video cassette, or maybe even only on some the cassettes. I know it was there, however, as I went back the morning after watching the movie and listened to it again.