The entertainment industry is an infinitely strange place. For yearsI've heard crew on The Simpsons commentaries complain about howthey were temporarily forced to stop using the name of their actionhero McBain after an action movie was released under the same title.
What was this titan of film that could wrestle a TV show as huge asThe Simpsons into submission? Surely it must have the strengthof ten mortal men, and if you fertilize your garden with the clippingsfrom its haircuts your pumpkins will grow huge enough to break aflatbed truck. Turns out 1991's McBain, subject of the year'sfirst Big Awful Friday, is so obscure those commentators don't evenknow who its lead is, and my search for it took me to an ex-rental VHSonline seller from upstate New York.
Following the death of her brother in a failed revolution, MariaConchita Alonso travels to New York to seek the help of his oldVietnam war buddy Christopher Walken. With the aid of his old crew,some financial backers, and Alonso's rebels, they head to Colombia tooverthrow the corrupt dictator and restore the freedom of theirpeople.
The insurrectionist strategy in McBain is without doubt one ofthe oddest I've ever seen, and I'm a student of every revolution fromthe industrial to the Dance Dance. The process goes like this: 1)recruit four heavy-drinking fellow vets, 2) bully a millionaire intobacking you by dangling him off a rooftop, 3) establish a beachhead,4) win.
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It's also one of the laziest revolutions out there. When Walken isn'trelating anecdote after anecdote, he's looking on as peasants die bythe dozens. Not that you can blame him for that--I hope they have moreideas for nationbuilding than for sloganeering, because they spend thewhole damn movie chanting "libertad" until you have to think thatbrutal dictator should have given outright genocide a try.
Not that their plan goes off without a hitch. Early on, when they'relooking for funding, they carelessly slaughter NYC drug dealer LuisGuzman's operation over pocket change, an act he rightly shames themfor.
Yet if you can get past all that, and the atrociously unsubtlesoundtrack, McBain has a certain charm. Its hopeful message isthat you can accomplish good just so long as you're willing to dreambig and explode even bigger. It's comforting to know there's noproblem so insurmountable it can't be overcome with popular supportand a crate of Stinger missiles.