What is the deal with Films from the Basement? Its a pretty typical story actually. Since early 2000, I have been locked in the basement of what would eventually become The Nerd Mentality offices. I never saw sunlight or ate real food in that entire time, but I did have an allowance of $3 a week. I used this money to buy films to preserve my sanity. Unfortunately, with the budget being so low, I was only able to afford the cheapest, most terrible films and instructional videos available to mankind. The majority of people have never seen or even heard about these films. Now that I have been released from the basement, I will be able to unleash these monstrosities and take over the wor … er, I mean, I will be able to share them with the world by the power of the internet. Join me, won’t you, as we delve into Films from the Basement! This time we will be looking at the 1994 film First Action Hero!
First Action Hero (or in Europe as Il Burattinaio which loosely translates as the “Italian Action Burrito”) is an obvious ploy to market the movie after the success of the film Last Action Hero. Unfortunately it was made with a very low budget, with no script, and filmed in the dirtiest part of Florida. Fabio Testes is the “STAR” of the “film” and he plays the First Action Hero Mark Fierro. Nothing screams action hero like naming yourself after a poorly made 80’s car.
You will never guess this, but the “hero” is actually a loose cannon. He is an unconventional, off-the-rails cop. He doesn’t take any lip and he has an itchy trigger finger. He cannot be controlled! He is a maverick. He shoots first and never asks questions and this time, it’s personal. He’s getting too old for this shit. I really think that the screen writers cut slogans out of other movie’s posters and tried to write a screenplay with it. Yeah, it didn’t work so well.
We start the movie with Fierro being transferred back to Miami, his old stomping grounds. He is asked by the police force to single-handedly prevent a gang war. I mean, that makes sense, right? The whole police force can’t stop them but this one guy will. Good luck! It kinda makes you wonder why everyone didn’t call him before things got so out of hand if it is so easy for him to clean up the place?
I really found it strange that throughout the movie it becomes painfully obvious that the criminals would just completely defeat themselves if left alone. Literally, the cops could have just stayed at home and not tried to stop them and the whole operation would have simply fallen apart. The criminals are shown as either completely inept and bungle the job, or they just kill each other off. However, when the cops actually get to do their jobs it doesn’t change anything. One of the main bosses is arrested and taken in, but the cops only ask him a couple questions and then release him for no reason.
This should have been a fun action movie, and at parts it is. There are lots of scenes of guys in motorcycle helmets showing up in places with machine guns, and they shoot everyone. They break into funerals, restaurants, and even a hospital while a guy is having surgery. Once, Fierro even shoots a guy in the crotch after chasing him down. However these scenes are mixed with Fierro trying to juggle his cop duties with that of being a single father, dating an attorney, having relatives running the mob and not falling asleep. The movie has 4 subplots which is about 4 too many, and it really bogs down the enjoyment. As a side point, this movie also has what has to be the most boring and slow car chase scene in existence.
We find out that Fierro’s father in law is none other than a major Miami mob boss. Throughout the film, Fierro meets with him but never really thinks about bringing him to “justice”. I guess he is only interested in finding out who is behind all the recent killings, and not really about stopping the entire gang war he was specifically brought into town for. None of the character’s motivations make any sense, and the “evil plot” is way too complex and convoluted to really work. It’s like they make all these secret plans, but then at the end they say “Ha Ha forget the plan let’s just kill them all”. It’s all a pretty boring straightforward film.
The movie is pretty tame about the violence until about 20 minutes left in the film. There is a dockside shootout battle with mob henchmen. I guess something really pisses the bad guys off because now they are trying to kill off our beloved hero and his friends. After failing to kill them at the docks, the mob finds and shoots his partner in the kneecaps for revenge and leaves him to die. Additionally, they kidnap Fierro’s daughter and take her to a warehouse. Suddenly the 80’s TV show cop movie turns into Rambo. The result: Fierro turns on god mode and massacres tons of henchmen in notably hilarious ways. There are fights outside a construction yard with lots of guys falling to their death. Then there are gun battles at the warehouse, and fist fights in a quarry. Fierro uses the same giant Dirty Harry gun hundreds of times without reloading and even blows up a car. He sets a guy on fire and when that doesn’t kill him fast enough he shoots at him.
At the climax (of the movie) Fierro jumps into the most fast moving, testosterone exploding vehicle any writer could ever think of … a forklift. Yes, he shoots and kills people while moving 2 inches an hour on a forklift, and then uses it to blow stuff up. He eventually finds dynamite, and oddly enough decides to blow stuff up with it too. You would think by now that the 20 minutes would be up and it would be the end of movie, but they still managed to squeeze in a slow-motion fight sequence in the mud. That is right; slowly writhing in the mud is two of Miami’s sexiest middle aged men! Of course in the end Fierro wins, has a tearful reunion with his daughter and everything is great. Well except that he has to wheel around his crippled partner at a roller rink.
Things I learned from First Action Hero:
Someone named a character Hoagy O’Toole and it got left in the final cut of the movie.
No one can shoot you while you are in a forklift.
According to the back of the DVD case “Crime is spreading like a malignant tumor”.
People who can’t walk still love to go watch roller skating and don’t feel bad about losing the use of their legs.
Money generated by drugs in a single town threatens the security of the entire nation.
Dialog of note:
Crime Scene Officer: Who the fuck are you?
Fierro: Who the fuck are you, SIR.
You sentence them in your way; I’ll bring them in… in my way.
Hoagy: Perhaps a little surveillance?
Fierro: Perhaps a lot of surveillance.
You didn’t have to kill Santa.
Why do you need to ask? No, you shouldn’t watch this. If this sounds appealing to you, then you really need to ask yourself why it sounds that way and get some therapy. My suggestion is to eat bad pizza if you want indigestion because of Italians, and not watch some shitty spaghetti action movie.