Again proving that college football stars are the closest things this planet has to superheroes, Brian “The Boz” Bosworth, former Oklahoma Sooner stud linebacker turned fourth-tier action star fights terrorists, flies a Concorde so expertly that he can avoid missiles launched by fighter pilots trying to shoot him down, and even manages to land the thing safely into a giant net! And he doesn’t even know how to freaking fly!
In fact, despite him being a captain in the Air Force, he was such a non-flying guy that his nickname was Washout! Good old Jack “Washout” Tyree! And he moans during one of his more convincing scenes that he always gets stuck with the shit jobs!
But what a shit job Mach 2 turns out to be! Just like the massive airliner the Boz has to take command of despite being so nervous his hands are shaking almost too badly to even grab the control stick, Mach 2 flies high and fast until it runs out of fuel toward the end and almost leaves a giant Boz-sized crater in a Parisian runway!
Still, we know by the sweat that’s been liberally sprayed onto the Boz between takes that he’s just the man to gulp, squint, and make double-entendres to ensure that everyone aboard that hasn’t already been shot, had their neck snapped or been pushed out of the plane makes it safely back to Earth!
Clearly, the Boz’s college football training is really paying off as he’s able to make a clumsy pass with predictable dirty talk while the sexy campaign aid/electronics expert (Shannon Whirry of innumerable erotic thrillers such as Animal Instincts and Animal Instincts II) is trying to fix the cockpit radio so they can advise the Navy not to shoot them down! It must have also been his years on the gridiron that gave him the smarts to figure out that a gal he saw was able to adjust the controls on a TV camera would also be able to fix an airline radio with a pocketknife! Any good football coach will tell you winning is all about spotting talent!
But why would the Air Force assign a guy to fly the Concorde who knows as much about flying as the Boz knows about acting? To understand this, you have to go all the way back to the beginning of the movie before we were traveling at twice the speed of sound! Back to a pointless sequence involving the Boz doing a one man commando mission to liberate a train that’s been taken over by terrorists!
The terrorists have planted a bomb on board and are going to ram it into Union Station! The ATF’s plan is to park a Trans Am loaded with C4 on the tracks at the next crossing and have the train ram into it, thus causing it to derail and blow up harmlessly in the wilderness! Harmless except to all the passengers on board! Thankfully, the Boz has an even less thought out plan!
Even though he doesn’t like flying, he gets into a chopper and has it drop him on top of the train! He only has twenty minutes before the ATF blows it up, so he kills some terrorists, accepts some applause from the passengers before actually defeating all the bad guys, thus placing everyone in the middle of a raging gun battle, defuses the bomb and still manages to get the train blown up by the ATF! Luckily, all that C4 did was just derail it, so the Boz was able to walk away from it and make a witty remark to the ATF guy about how the agent would get all the “credit” for the operation that placed passengers at risk and destroyed a train!
Washout’s next assignment is to provide security for a presidential candidate going to the Balkans to negotiate the release of some captured soldiers. So what did the train operation have to do with the rest of the movie? Why nothing of course, but it was the best part of Mach 2! It was sort of like watching Under Siege 2: Dark Territory in 10 minutes!
The Air Force One/Executive Decision/Passenger 57 airplane part of the movie though will have you moving about the cabin, looking for an airline magazine to read. The Boz gets taken prisoner early on in the hijacking so there’s none of that exciting cat and mouse stuff where the good guy is crawling around in the engine compartment cutting hydraulic cables or in the baggage area letting the lead terrorist’s dog loose.
Even worse though than the Boz not being let loose enough to kick ass is the reason for all this sky high terrorism. You see, there’s this computer disc…Yeah, I just dozed off, too. It purportedly proves that the Vice President is supplying arms to both sides of the Balkan conflict.
If that wasn’t bad enough from an entertainment perspective, there are some nosy reporters on the ground working on this story as well. Every time we go to one of their scenes or one with the Vice President (Cliff Robertson in dire need of an eyebrow trim) Mach 2 immediately drops to about 10 mph.
By the time, the Vice President has inexplicably agreed to be interviewed by these people and he stupidly says some incriminating stuff that one of the reporters captures on a hidden tape recorder, you’ll be praying that Washout will live up to his name and end it all for everyone.
Director Fred Olen Ray (Operation Cobra, Cyberzone) makes economical use of recycled footage including some exterior shots of Washington D.C. that were clearly filmed in the early 1970s judging by all the old ugly cars on the streets! There’s also a car chase that when I was watching it, I thought to myself “this looks like footage from some 70s flick!” only to learn later that it was from Charles Bronson’s The Mechanic made in 1972!
Despite having the longest “car crashing down a cliff” scene in history, the inclusion of this from a story standpoint didn’t really work. The terrorists jump out of the plane, get into a car in France and drive around until they get blown up by some other bad guys with a rocket launcher. Presumably, they were hired by the Vice President as an insurance policy, but from a dramatic standpoint, you were kind of left thinking, “huh?” Instead of seeing the Boz get to punch his fist through Michael (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Lt. Worf) Dorn’s head, all we get is him sitting in the cockpit steering and checking fuel gauges?
Mach 2 does feature one of the only acting roles that Lon Chaney, Jr.’s grandson Ron ever did making it required viewing for the Chaney family as well as us Boz fans.
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