Fifty/Fifty

1992
dir. Charles Martin Smith

Remember that dream you had where Peter Weller used a bazooka to save you from a school of sharks? You better start looking for a residual check, because they made it into a movie. A damn awesome one, too.

Weller plays a cold-as-ice mercenary named Jake who heads the security team of a brutal South East Asian dictator. When a former gun-for-hire buddy named Sam (Robert Hays) washes up on the beach after leading a failed invasion, the dictator becomes suspicious and orders the execution of both men. After a swift escape, Jake and Sam head to Singapore for some rest, but are interrupted by a wormy yet well-intentioned C.I.A. agent named Sprue (a greasy performance by director Smith) and blackmailed into turning around and taking out the dictator for good.

While hesitant at first, the buddy mercenaries soon befriend a small rebel village and a Seven Samurai-type situation arises as they protect the locals while also preparing them to do battle against the dictator. In a move generally atypical of Cannon action movies (or Cannon movies in general, really), some fairly palpable drama is thrown into the mix as Jake learns from the rebel leader’s niece that money isn’t the only thing worth fighting for.

That isn’t the biggest affront to Cannon values, however. One of the most striking aspects of Fifty/Fifty is that, unlike the company’s popular jingoistic meathead rallying calls Invasion U.S.A. or the Missing in Action series, it has something that approaches a sense of global justice. When the American president calls off the assassination in exchange for the dictator’s friendship, Jake and Sam decide to go rogue and take him down themselves. Missing in Action’s Braddock probably would have murdered the first local baby he could find and offered its blood to the dictator as a token of their alliance.

It’s got Robocop, Robert Hays in the only movie worth seeing him in that doesn’t include “Airplane” in its title, fun buddy-movie dynamics, one of the wackiest grenade-induced gore-splosions ever, and it may or may not have been ghostwritten by Noam Chomsky. It may be called Fifty/Fifty, but it doesn’t deal in halves. This one’s one hundred percent, dude.

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This entry was posted in "Fifty/Fifty", Action (genre), Adventure (genre), Comedy (genre). Bookmark the permalink.

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