· December 13, 2004

McBain - Available For Coups, Revolutions etc.
If this cover was accurate it would contain more Hawaiian shirts.

Christopher Walken is in this movie. So is Michael Ironside. Its release caused the Simpsons to use Rainier Wolfcastle instead of McBain for a couple of seasons. It has possibly the most ludicrous plane to plane combat scene in cinema history. This movie should be taught in schools.

It starts, as most things do, in 'Nam. Christopher Walken is a POW, and is being forced to fight in some form of home made Tina Turner-less thunderdome. Just in the nick of time a passing chopper-full of troops, having just been told the war is over, decide to quickly assault the POW camp. McBain wants to say "thanks" to his rescuers, but instead a man by the name of Santos hands him half a hundred dollar bill, as part of a Pact Of Honour. If McBain receives the other half, he'll know he has to come and help Santos move, or feed his cats while he's on holiday.

Years later, McBain is mostly into welding, while over in Colombia Santos and his rag tag rebel band are trying to stage a coup against the corrupt government that is being run by German drug dealers named Hans (all german drug dealers are named Hans). Santos' rebellion does not succeed, and he is executed. His distraught girlfriend takes the only option she has left, and goes to America to find a iron worker. Moved by her story, and his debt, McBain then proceeds to round up his former unit, purchase some hardware, and take over the entire country.

What makes this film a classic is not the quality of the film making. The direction is rubbish, and cuts between many, many things you care not a jot about. Neither is it the quality of the plot, as it makes the average first person shooter game look like a masterpiece of shakespearean proportions. No, what makes this film a classic is the genius of scenes that it sets up. My top five from the movie follow, I wouldn't worry about spoiling them since I do not think mere words can truly convey there majesty.

5. Christopher Walken IS Mossad: McBain borrows $10 million off a new york gangster by hanging him of a roof and pretending to be an isreali agent. Walken gives the distinct, unshakable impression of being completely unhinged, which to be fair is probably an accurate reading. The scene finishes with a quick 1-2 of comedy gold; McBain tells the gangster that his brother in law is ripping him off, which the gangster is all too ready to believe. As they're leaving, one of the McBain Posse asks hims how he knew. He replies "Everyone's brother in law is ripping them off". Zing.

4. The Flashback: About fifteen minutes into the film it quickly flashes back to McBain's rescue in Vietnam, in case you were asleep, got in late, or were in the gents shooting up. The editor had no faith in his audience.

3. Not all drug dealers are bad: The boys need money, and since they're going to free a country from the grip of drug barons, where better to get the cash than from the people that push their products? One quick assault and about twenty dead dealers later, McBain and Co. demand some loot from head dealer Luis Guzman. He explains that he only deals to addicts, never kids (Mr. T would approve), and that he is providing minority employment. When they question as to where he got the army jacket he is wearing he replies "The same place as you". Deciding that Luis is a sound geezer, they decide to hit up the aforementioned local mafioso for ten million instead. OBVIOUSLY.

2. The best doctor in the world, ever: A little girl is dying, hit with a bullet during an exchange of gun fire between the government forces and our heroes. The doc proceeds to take the only chance he has, opening her up in the middle of a field, using a pen knife. He manages to reinflate her lung, fix her flux capacitor or whatever he was doing, and sews her up. Pretty much instantly she smiles, and sits up. Bupa have nothing on this.

1. Air to Air Combat: During their less than stealthy infiltration into SouthAmericanLand, McBain's plane is spotted by enemy radar, who quickly dispatch two elite pilots in their state of the art drug powered fighter jets. One is dealt with by the patritotic mercenary the guys have brought a long in a jet of their own, but the other quickly demonstrates it's superiority to McBain's passenger plane, and pulls up alongside. The pilot gestures, and calls for them to them to land. Faced with a tough situation, McBain pulls out a titchy little pistol and proceeds to shoot the enemy pilot in the head, through the window of McBain's cockpit, the canopy of the pilot's, and the pilot's helmet. This is approximately the second most unexpected thing to ever happen in a movie (the first of course being Ralph Fiennes eating the painting in Red Dragon).

"Pilot: Charlie Seven Zero Four, put the plane down! Do you read me? Charlie Seven Zero Four, put the plane dow... ARRGH!
McBain: We read you loud and clear. "

It's the little details that cement McBain's position in the heirarchy of crap movies. For example, while galavanting happily through their generic south american country, McBain and his crew wear... Hawaiian shirts! And stupid hats! The villian is known only (well, mostly) as El President?, which is about as much spanish as is spoken in the entire film. The south american extras are all Filipino's, most of whom seem to have no idea what on earth they're supposed to be doing. And, of course, an absolutely phenomenal number of people die, something like 240 accord to reputable sources*. I would seriously suggest no one ever tries to play a "drink every time some dies" type game with this film. It is up there with Commando as a film that trying such a game with is likely to put you in hospital.

This film is now in one of those two films on one disc that Hollywood DVD have been going for recently, and depending on your local pound shop you might be able to pick it up for 50p, which would work out as paying just 25p for McBain. To be honest though, I think this film is actually worth paying the full pound for, and I'm sure the people over on the McBain's House Of War forum agree.

* See McBain's House Of War
** McBain [1991] is on Amazon if you are pound shop deprived.