Sunday, November 15, 2015

BAIL OUT (1989)

Here at B-Movie Memories, we enjoy poring over images of vibrant and colorful artwork for VHS covers. Part of the selling point of awesomely horrible films are their cover art. Let's face it: most of the genre films reviewed here would never have been rented back in the day if it hadn't been for the cover art. However, there seems to be a period where the cover art became less creative and downright lazy. It became harder to determine what movie to rent in the late 80's/early 90's. For example, take the cover art for our selection this week:

Oh man, it's David Hasselhoff's giant head! Fire! An overturned vehicle! Linda Blair bound and gagged! Unfortunately, the presentation is not very inventive. Sadly, this would be the norm for VHS heading into the 90's. I'm docking points from this film already without even having seen it. However, since it's the Hoff, I'm hoping we can turn this thing around and have a blast, am I right?? 

Bail Out is also known under it's original title, W.B., Blue & The Bean. That original title sounds like some C.B. radio trucker movie from the 70's, does it not? Maybe that's why the title was changed to "Bail Out". That sounds more like a title for a kick-ass action movie. Or maybe a boring true story drama about the financial crisis of 2008. You may ask "Would someone actually cast David Hasselhoff in a movie about the financial crisis of 2008?", and I would counter with "They should, because then someone may watch it!".

The director of the film is Max Kleven, who also gets writer and producer credits. Kleven has been behind other films such as Ruckus, The Night Stalker and Deadly Stranger. Most of his career in films has been as a stunt coordinator for films such as Hot Dog: The Movie. There may be some bigger films on that list but Hot Dog: The Movie jumps out at you. 

Front and center in the cast is David Hasselhoff as Roger "W.B. (White Bread)" Donaldson. Now I know some of you are ready to tell me that he recently changed his name to David Hoff; however, it is on record that it was all a part of some Australian promotion he is currently doing. Hasselhoff was three years removed from the final episode of Knight Rider and was just starting his run on Baywatch. His character, Donaldson, is a bounty hunter hired by a seedy bail bondsman to retrieve an heiress from the county lock up and make sure she makes it to court. Linda Blair plays the heiress, Nettie Ridgeway. Linda is no stranger to us, having appeared in Chained Heat, Savage Streets and Savage Island. There may have been a small role in The Exorcist. W.B. needs backup from his friends "Blue", played by Tony Brubaker, and "Bean", the stereotypical Hispanic, played by Tom Rosales. Brubaker has made a career out of playing characters with names like "Man" and "Cop" while Rosales has made a career out of characters such as "Man in Alley" and "Colombian Drug Dealer". These are breakout roles for these guys! The late great John Vernon plays the heiress' father. He doesn't have many scenes in this movie, but the last thing I saw him in was the Italian war/action film War Bus II and thank goodness he gets to use his own voice in this one. Finally, Gregory Scott Cummins plays Cesar Zalazar, the Colombian drug lord bad guy. You may remember him from such films as Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge and the women-in-prison flick Caged Fury. Or you may not.

So this pick up isn't as easy as it seems, as Nettie is nabbed by Colombians as soon as she gets out of jail. W.B. calls in his buddies, Blue and Bean, for the assist. The Colombians believe that Nettie's father is responsible for their loss of a multi-million dollar deal, and want him to pay up or his daughter gets it. W.B. and company concoct various plans to find out where the gang is holding her. These plans usually involve Bean posing as a Hispanic construction worker or a Hispanic gas repairman. W.B. manages to rescue Nettie from the gang's clutches, but she ditches him at a motel. She is eventually nabbed again and taken to the gang's compound. W.B. and the gang manage to find their way to the area, of course. It is at this point where the gang meets Felix, played by Wayne Montanio. This guy steals the movie, in my opinion. It's a small part, but he got the biggest laughs from me playing a stereotypical Mexican, dressed all out mariachi style. He recognizes Blue as a former football star. He asks Blue about the guy he hit hard "on TV that one time". Blue responds with "That was Archie Manning.". Felix quips: "Yeahhhh, that's the prick!". I mean, I feel bad for laughing at a guy that was playing up the stereotype, but it came off as legitimately funny. The film finally works it's way to the gang's compound and then the action-packed rescue.

The film runs a breezy 90 minutes and is never dull. There are plenty of one-liners and action scenes to hold one's attention. Some of the humor may be a little forced, but the cast had a collective charm about them that helped the humor work. The action scenes are in no way believable, but it was all done with a wink and a smile. The main villain, Zalazar, was dull, but that was not the fault of Cummins. He looked the part of a late 80's drug lord, complete with Miami Vice-style duds and five o'clock shadow. However, it's really the writing of the character that lets it down. There were not enough opportunities provided to Cummins to let him sink his teeth into the scenery. The direction by Kleven was standard point-and-shoot action, which is all I ask for in an action film at this level. 

I liked the film enough to recommend it. Score: 3/5

They forgot to add "THE" as my middle name.

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