I think I must be suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. Chronic fatigue? Yep. Muscle pain? That’s a roger on that, too. Jock itch? I’m typing with one hand, aren’t I? The weird thing though is that I didn’t catch it digging Charlie or whomever out of their grody spider holes. Nope, I picked me up dose of GWS from Michael Dudikoff’s virulently bad film, The Human Shield!
But hold up on that court martial for the Dude (Avenging Force, Strategic Command) because you can’t really blame him. He’s in there punching and shooting guys whenever the story gives him a chance. He’s stealing jeeps, causing entire families of friends of his to get gunned down on his account, breaking out of jail, and blowing up chemical plants just like he supposed to.
It’s just that he’s saddled with co-stars who are the cinematic equivalent of weapons of mass destruction – non-existent. Whether it’s his pansy brother, his mousy and whiny sister-in-law, his exotically ugly ex-girlfriend or the cartoonish nemesis he battles throughout, every time the movie shifts to scenes with them and no Dude, you’re wishing that the ghost of Sadaam would roll into your house with some poison gas to put you out of your misery.
The year is 1985 and the Dude is in Iraq teaching military strategy to the Iraqis that would get their ass whupped by America not once, but twice in ten years! General Ali Dallal is the guy he’s involved with and when Ali puts his new book learning to use on a bunch of pesky villagers including one old hag holding a dead baby, the Dude steps in since that’s not how Uncle Sam does things.
Despite being surrounded by a bunch of Iraqi soldiers, the Dude has no compunction about laying a beat down on Ali and just for good measure carves a nice big groove on the slime’s face with Ali’s own knife!
Flash forward five years and everyone is fleeing Iraq in anticipation of problems resulting from Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait. Obviously, they knew that America wasn’t going to stand idly by while Iraq was oppressing the freedom loving people of Kuwait. (Or at least the 15% or so that could actually vote at the time of the invasion.)
One of the people trying to leave was the Dude’s wimpy, diabetic teacher brother, Ben. Ali has him detained in an effort to lure the Dude back to Iraq for some payback.
The plan seems a little self-indulgent, what with the war against the toughest and greatest country in the world just about to start, but then the Dude is just the sort of guy to indulge Ali in his fiendish revenge plot!
So how is the Dude going to get to Iraq from America? First he stops by the Pentagon gym where he’s told by an old buddy that the government won’t help him. Whatever. I’m pretty sure that the Dude was just extending a little professional courtesy. You don’t get “one man war” status by having battleships, air support, and thousands of ground troops at your disposal.
So he just flies to Jordan and takes a cab to the Iraqi border where there’s a refugee camp. While standing around next to the only arms dealer in the camp, the Dude manages to purchase some guns and grenades. He ducks into a tent to avoid being seen by soldiers where he lays eyes on Lila again!
It’s during this scene that the Dude breaks out the crinkly, slightly moist eyes and I’ve got to tell you that they’re just as devastating as when he kicks a guy in the balls later on!
Lila is the woman he loves (in spite of the eyebrows that look like something out of a H.P. Lovecraft story), but who left him all those years ago to marry another! Guess who she married? Ali!
Oh my God! Lila! How could you? The Dude’s most mortal enemy on this entire dang planet and you go and marry him and then have a kid with him? Luckily, the Dude has a brother being held hostage to take his mind off this heart-wrenching situation.
Lila later reveals that she did it to save the Dude because if she didn’t, Ali would have killed the Dude! It’s all quite stupid, but surprisingly provides the best moments in the movie, especially when Ali and Lila have it out over her love for the Dude.
You would think that a guy who forced a woman to marry him under these circumstances would understand that she probably doesn’t really love him. Somehow, Ali is outraged that Lila has been helping the Dude and still loves him!
Lila then goes for some shock and awe by saying her favorite thing about Ali is his scar – since the Dude gave it to him! Ali responds with a scud where he announces she will no longer be known as the mother of his child, but that she will known as a cheap whore!
He also beats and rapes her for good measure. The Dude is not going to appreciate that!
Ali and the Dude square off at a chemical factory which means there’s a lot of the Dude running around areas with scores of pipes, stairways, and steam valves.
When the Dude has trouble locating Ali, he uses his specialized training to draw him out – he shoots up the chemical plant’s control panel and starts turning knobs furiously! It works and Ali shows up to stab the Dude in the leg.
The Dude gets his shots in as well by tipping a bookcase over on him and throwing a chair at him before finally setting him on fire! The Dude limps out as the plant explodes in a shower of unconvincing cinder blocks that look they were set up just for that scene.
Enormously boring since we don’t care about the sissy brother, the homely chick and because the Dude doesn’t get much in the way of decent stunt scenes or dialogue. I actually had to watch the last third of the movie standing up so I wouldn’t fall asleep in my recliner.
I can’t understand how this movie failed so utterly since there were all those other really super great action movies about human shields in Iraq. Thanks, Sadaam. This is just one more atrocity we can hope you’re roasting in hell for.
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