If your first act in setting up your elite hit squad of ex-special forces guys is to shoot your special forces girlfriend in the head after she refuses to join up and you don’t make sure she’s dead, you’re pretty much doomed to failure. Something as elementary as double tapping your target is covered in about the first ten minutes of Special Ops 101.
While it’s the most egregious error made by Lydell during the idiotically titled Excessive Force 2: Force on Force, it is by no means his last. There’s the witness he unwittingly leaves alive after the big cemetery hit, the use of a druggie on the hit squad, the silly attack on the police station (even if you succeed, do you really think the authorities won’t stop hunting you down?) and of course the repeated failure to kill his ex-girlfriend, the efforts of which are chiefly marked by how many of his men end up dead instead.
In Lydell’s defense though, he does seem to try and make the most of an escalating bad situation, whether it’s bragging about banging would-be starlets in his ostentatious canyon home, tolerating the incessant bitching of his second in command, or snidely talking about “doing” his ex-girlfriend one more time before killing her for good. At the very least, he’s doing better than his ex who is dealing with her current doctor boyfriend dumping her, being wanted by the cops for murder and having that bullet still lodged in her head that is slowly killing her!
Following her breakup-by-gunfire, Harly Cordell recovers enough to become a military investigator who spends her entire job tracking down rumors of Lydell’s whereabouts. No one else is interested since Lydell and his crew are MIA and believed dead.
Like most spurned girlfriends and gun nuts, she spends her down time at the shooting range (using a picture of him as a target kind of ramps this whole thing up into creepy Fatal Attraction territory) and it is here that Harly gets a fax from L.A. about a reported hit whose only clue is that the witness described the shooter as having a special forces tattoo! Just like Lydell’s!
Next stop: the City of Angels! And you better believe that in addition to packing her gigantic gun with laser scope, Harly also packed a variety of trashy-looking crop tops!
Those of you gutter-minded types are no doubt thinking it’s just some cheesy way for her to show off her toned tummy. But if you didn’t sleep through Special Ops 102, you’d know it was to provide maximum flexibility for when she delivers her spectacularly unconvincing brand of kung fu on assorted bad guys!
Star Stacie Randall’s questionable martial skills wouldn’t really matter that much in a movie packed full of action, entertaining villains and compelling heroes you can cheer for. With the well documented dimwittedness of the villain, the perpetually blank stare and silly efforts to act tough by Randall, and long dull stretches of Randall’s character babbling with her boyfriend and searching for Lydell (to her credit she is savvy enough to search an underground strip club), the movie, perhaps not surprisingly has none of this.
What the movie does have is a script that’s almost as dopey as the camerwork during the confrontation between Lydell and Harly (every time there’s a change in close up, there’s a big swooshing sound and the camera whips to the other person). For instance, I never understood why after four years, this bullet in Harly’s head was suddenly a problem that could kill her at any moment. What they hell has her doctors been doing the last several years? And did anyone really think that her periodic collapsing wasn’t going to come in handy when a bad guy was trying to shoot her with a crossbow?
And what was the point of the crooked cop suddenly giving information on Harly’s whereabouts to the Lydell? Harly went to the police station voluntarily to warn them of the pending attack and then they attacked a few minutes later anyway. There was no need to make the cop a bad guy. It made even less sense from a story standpoint since he was the one that got Harly involved with the case in the first place and there was no indication he was dirty until the last minute. And what a coincidence that the dirty cop the mob has its hooks into just happens to be the only cop Harly is dealing with in all of Los Angeles!
To its credit, the film attempts to earn some respect with a final 15 minutes of unadulterated mayhem and carnage as Lydell and his crew first blow up the police station, then enter and shoot everyone, followed by his attempted getaway with Harly in hot pursuit, both in a pair of stolen police cars. Two slow motion rolls down a long, soft hill and some lame back and forth banter later, and it’s all over.
Still, despite sporadically looking like some effort went into shooting and scoring the film, it’s as forgettable as its star (Randall has numerous credits, but has anyone ever been in so many sequels with the number “4” in the title?) and you’ll find yourself sympathizing with the wooziness Harly’s head trauma causes her as you struggle through this one. It can’t even muster up the perverse entertainment of the the laughably bad Thomas Ian Griffith unrelated predecessor, Excessive Force.
© 2015 MonsterHunter