Really Bad Video:

The Painful Saga Continues

by Elmo (Two Big Thumbs Down) Spludd

In the past month, I must confess, I've seen more bad films than good. But, I'm pleased to report, the bad were mostly just that-- bad. These are the kinds of flicks that you watch once, all the way through, and then say to yourself, "Well, that wasn't all THAT bad, considering I could've spent the last couple of hours doing my taxes, or paying bills."

But lurking in the shadows, just waiting to entice me into its nightmarish world, there always seems to be a ready supply these days of Really Bad Videos.

This month's showcase woofer is a paramilitary action flick called "Most Wanted," starring Keenan Ivory Wayans (good guy) and Jon Voight (evil mastermind).

For the love of Bogart, don't watch this movie. Just let me tell you about it.

"Most Wanted" involves the standard "hero unwittingly thrown into a world of doo-doo by scheming villains" action plot. In this case, Wayans, who is sitting on death row in a military prison for killing his superior officer (he really didn't mean it), is offered a pardon by a mysterious Army general, played by Jon Voigt. All Wayans has to do, of course, is to participate in a nefarious conspiracy to assassinate a prominent biotechnology magnate (Robert Culp), who has been selling nasty germ warfare stuff to terrorists, and who also happens to be really chummy with the First Lady.

Now Wayans, who wrote the screenplay, appears to have a fascination with computer technology, and this produces a lot of unintentional screamers. One of the funniest scenes in the movie occurs when Voigt, having assembled his secret hit squad in the usual abandoned warehouse, instructs his charges to "consult your Power Books," and, in perfect unison, they all slip little laptops out of their packs, set them on the table, flip them open, and begin reviewing the details of the plot, which have been conveniently summarized by some unnamed presentation software.

Needless to say, something goes wrong, and instead of snuffing out the greedy biotech dude, Voight's team "accidentally" blows away the First Lady. This does not go over well with the general public, but I kinda liked it because the First Lady in this film bears an uncanny resemblance to the real-life version, Hillary Rodman.

You know by now, of course, that the whole thing was planned in advance and Wayans is the fall guy. From here it's all pretty much a routine "expose the real killers before they catch me and spank my pee-pee" chase-fest for Wayans. A few extra features are thrown in for humorous effect. Wayans is a Marine, and the guys who want him dead are Army, which means that Voigt and his underlings can call Keenan "jarhead" and Keenan, in an especially tight spot, can throw off lines like, "I'm a Marine. We don't plan, we improvise."

The extent of Wayans' improvisation is somewhat limited, and ludicrously implausible. Space does not permit me a thorough enumeration of the ridiculous ways in which the conspiracy is finally exposed and Wayans is redeemed, but a couple of examples may suffice:
Documentary proof of the motive behind the plot to snuff the First Lady is discovered by Wayans while he's on the lam. How? He visits a public library, gets on the Internet, and finds a website that pretty much explains the whole thing. I'm not kidding. When Voigt discovers this, he stares increduously at the computer monitor and bellows, "What is THAT still doing out there?" Oops, someone forgot to take the incriminating files off the web server. So much for the motive. How does Keenan get the proof he needs to link Voigt and his cronies to the horrible crime? Remember those Power Books? He just sneaks into Voigt's headquarters, jimmies Voigt's desk drawer, and grabs Voigt's Power Book. But wait: You've heard of "key encryption"?

Well, now Keenan has to get the "key" from Voigt. And believe it or not, this is an actual KEY. Really.

Maybe this is a good place to stop, since I'm still laughing so hard I can barely type. There are lots of other weird and amusing things I could tell you about this video. Just one more comment, though, regarding Jon Voigt. The man is a good actor, but he hasn't aged well. I look at him and think, "Gawd, twenty years ago this man was giving an on-screen mustache-ride to JANE FONDA."

I wonder if he and Jane still keep in touch.


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