Beyond Kilimanjaro, Across the River of Blood (1990)

Beyond Kilimanjaro German VHS CoverAs he proved in Pierluigi Ciriaci’s Delta Force Commando II: Priority Red One, erstwhile Battlestar Galactica icon Richard Hatch again proves what a dumb ass I was back in the third grade when I always played Starbuck on the playground instead Hatch’s Apollo.

I realized as I watched Hatch in Beyond Kilimanjaro, Across the River of Blood run through every emotion he had (happy, sad, horny, tortured, cussing), that a guy who had to take a gig in a Sergio Martino movie no one has ever heard of, but still worked his craft like he was doing Shakespeare in front of the Queen even as he was having his faced repeatedly rammed into a dirt pile by the inexplicably prolific Daniel Greene, was someone to be admired.

Hatch plays Tony, a guy working with his conservationist pal in Kenya helping to ward off poachers and fix up animals wounded by them. It’s a peaceful existence where a man can forget his past. As one character moronically states “Africa is a big country.”

But whether you think Africa is a really big country or is actually a continent as most left-wing Democrat scientists claim, it isn’t near big enough when you get into a fight outside the local nightclub with the local poacher over the local nightclub singer.

Hatch clearly has done his homework, easily recognizing the cadaverous-faced David Brandon who plays Jagger from his roles in Beyond Darkness, Prince Of Terror, and Mean Tricks as the evil poacher he is. As is common practice for big time local poachers, Jagger is traveling with a retinue of thugs who find out the hard way that all those years fighting Cylons has turned Hatch into some sort of kung fu Marlin Perkins!

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Despite being embarrassed in this initial confrontation, anyone who has ever watched a movie, TV show, read a book, or beat up a kid at school knows we haven’t seen the last of Jagger. Though it would be understandable if you guessed that Jagger might hire some local toughs to give Tony’s head a tattoo with a machete or accidentally let a lion lose in Tony’s bathroom while he was showering, Jagger has a much more improbable scheme in mind.

Thanks to a futuristic technology called a “fax” Jagger’s friends back in the United States are able to get him a news article about how Tony is wanted back home for the murder of a mob boss. Jagger attempts to extort $50,000 from Tony’s girlfriend, but also wants her so he squeals on Tony anyway.

Meanwhile Tony is forced into flashback mode to explain what happened that drove him into hiding. While the killing is explained, the flashback’s real highlights include a completely gratuitous use of a few minutes of New York City location footage (There’s the Brooklyn Bridge! They must be in New York!) as well as the completely pleasing use of a porn mustache on Richard Hatch!

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It really helps develop his character because it shows the lengths he’ll go to in order to escape the Mob life! Moving halfway across the world to a country no one can even find on a map? That’s deep cover! Moving halfway across the world to country no one can even find on a map AND shaving off your pornstache? That’s freaking going native!

One of things that Sergio Martino (The Opponent, American Rickshaw) does so well in this film is to slather on the unnecessary scenes and lazy coincidences to move things along.

For instance, after Tony destroys Jagger and his men outside the nightclub, a group of tranny hookers steal the contents of his girlfriend’s purse. The way it was shot, the missing stuff appeared to be important. The incident was never referred to again.

Then there was Tony’s first trip to Rome. He goes there to visit his old mob buddy Frank (played by one of Robert Mitchum’s sons!) to get advice on what to do about Jagger. He’s told to waste him! Thanks guys! I could have probably just called you on the phone and gotten that advice and not paid thousands of dollars on airfare!

How about when Mafia goon Jake (Daniel Greene) makes fun of Tony’s cigarette lighter that’s built to look like a hand grenade? Seems like a really odd exchange when it happens. Until Tony pulls out a grenade later which Jake thinks is just the lighter, but it turns out to be real! Good thing Tony had both a fake and real grenade laying around his house!

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Though Jake’s involvement barely makes any sense, it’s quite welcome due to his stubble and massive sunglasses as well as his general mean-spiritedness. Jake is some mob muscle sent to get Tony after Jagger narcs him out. What’s weird is that Jake comes not to kill Tony for offing the mob boss, but to make Tony kill his pal Frank over in Rome.

It’s weird in a good way though because Jake proceeds to terrorize all of Africa in an effort to cajole Tony into flying to Rome again. Jake tortures and causes the suicide of one of Tony’s close friends, holds a leper colony hostage, kills some more of Tony’s friends, and even uses a racist term to describe Tony’s orphan kid!

Then there’s the big fight at the rock quarry where Jake and Tony call each other pussies, Jake tries to dump a load of dirt onto Tony, and they ride up a conveyor belt before Jake finally ends up buried beneath tons of rock.

When you toss in the girlfriend with the ex-boyfriend who died at the foot of Kilimanjaro in a car race, a crooked croupier named Johnny Five, the brief appearance of a guide who is searching for some mythical leopard on Kilimanjaro, some sex underneath a mosquito net, the strangely catchy opening and closing theme song, and the routinely heinous nightclub song sung by the girlfriend, Beyond Kilimanjaro, Across the River of Blood is as wonderfully horrid as you desire, while Richard Hatch admirably and blindly busts his ass traveling, acting, and brawling in spite of it all. Commander Adama would no doubt have approved.

© 2015 MonsterHunter

One thought on “Beyond Kilimanjaro, Across the River of Blood (1990)

  1. Boyd

    While Hatch has never been a great actor, it always saddens me to see someone who had the chance to work in real projects being reduced to crap z-class movies. Not to mention that I loved the original Galactica when I was a kid. At least Hatch was able to regain some dignity playing a role in the re-imagining of Galactica, a few years ago.

    Reply

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