Chain of Command (1994)

Chain of Command DVD CoverWhile Chain of Command is truly abominable on every level, it’s really almost Italian-esque in the pleasingly effortless way it manages to get so many of the little things we take for granted in movies so wrong. Like hair.

In looking back on the hair situation in this one, I can only surmise that Michael Dudikoff used his pull as premiere third-rate straight to video action star to make sure his hair was the best in the movie by default.

You had guys with hair slicked back. You had a guy with hair thinning in not one, but two spots on his head. You had a guy wearing a Richard Marx wig. (I had forgotten that pop singer Richard Marx had ever existed until I watched head bad guy Rawlings strut into an oil company and take it over and I said to myself without thinking, “hey, the head bad guy named Rawlings is wearing a Richard Marx wig.”)

The Richard Marx wig would have been more than enough, but Rawlings was a character with more depth than just a guy with the pelt of some unidentified roadkill on his head. Sometimes, he even put it into a pony tail. And I have to say that whomever was in charge of wigs for this movie did an excellent job because when Dudikoff was throwing Rawlings around by it, the dang thing never came loose!

Just as hideously appealing as Rawlings’ headdress was Michael Dudikoff’s character. Or perhaps, I should call him Michael Dudikuss, because that’s pretty much all he did during this movie.

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Apparently one of the main things they teach in Green Beret School and what you learn on your way to becoming an antiterrorist expert who ends up as a consultant for Western Oil is how to use the F-word. A lot. He must have gone to F-Con 1 at least 100 times in this movie!

By the time we were in the last third of the movie, I couldn’t help but laugh whenever he ejaculated his four letter friend. I suppose it was all part of the gritty action persona that went along with smoking cigarettes throughout the proceedings.

Another point in this movie’s favor was its indiscriminate use of slow motion. Whenever there was an action sequence that needed that little something extra to distract us from the fact that it was really just Dudikuss ducking behind a counter while bottles smashed everywhere, the action would slow down so that we could appreciate its low wattage impact even more.

I especially liked during one fight scene how the action went into slow motion, but Rawlings continued to speak in normal motion. Oh, and if the first forty minutes of the movie felt like it was playing out in slow motion, that’s just your imagination.

Well, that and the warmed-over dog puke that passes for the story and the intensely irritating female character that Dudikuss is forced to bicker with inanely. It’s not like I was truly rooting for her to be violated by Rawlings’ switchblade and lit cigar when he had her tied to a pool table in an underground lair at the end of the movie, but I really wasn’t on the edge of my seat rooting for Dudikuss to get there any sooner than necessary either.

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The actual story behind all this foul-mouthed slow-mo mayhem makes as much sense as having the U.S. ambassador to the fictional middle east country involved be dressed in a sweat suit whenever he’s in his office.

The head of Western Oil is scheming to take over the country of Qumir and somehow Dudikuss gets mixed up in trying to stop him. There’s lots of talk about the CIA, some bogus Qumir rebel group, and Mossad, but it all boils down to Dudikuss copying a couple of Microsoft Excel files from a Western Oil Company’s computer onto a floppy disk which shows charts and graphs about how they’re going to take over Qumir.

All that’s just filler until he and Rawlings can have their showdown in the underground lair/bar that the head of Western Oil has in his headquarters.

Dudikuss is one of those he-men that likes his showdowns hand to hand so he ditches his automatic weapon and goes after Rawlings with just a bayonet knife! What follows is a lot of slashing, heaving of one another into various breakable objects, smashing chairs over Dudikuss, and Rawlings even manages to find an old battle axe to swing around!

Rawlings shows some spunk when he’s beating up Dudikuss and dumps him on the pool table by his still tied-up gal pal and starts to taunt her with lines like “what do you think of your boyfriend now!” I like a guy who can keep his head about him and remember the important things, even during a fight to the death!

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And a fight to the death it was! Even Rawlings’ fancy wig and witty banter can’t stop Dudikuss from running him through with a pool cue! But Rawlings has the last laugh when, with the pool cue sticking clear out of his back about a foot, he says “my mama said there’d be days like this!”

Okay, well I laughed anyway. But wait! Dudikuss returns fire with his own cutting witticism, “not like this!” Uh, yeah. I guess we’ll go ahead and give you that one, Dudikuss. You know, since you killed his ass and all. Sheesh.

I’d like to report that that was the end of the movie, but Dudikuss actually killed about 20 more guys as he, his girlfriend and their prisoner, the head of Western Oil, escaped in a helicopter.

You could tell by this time though that even the filmmakers had lost all interest in the story, because they just had the helicopter fly off into the sunset with three paragraphs of text explaining what happened to everyone. Except for Dudikuss and his girlfriend! As Dudikuss himself might have said, “what the F?”

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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