White Cargo (1996)

Someone is killing the most beautiful fashion models and all the great dart champions in the city are the prime suspects! And only one super rich arrogant prick of a cop can bring down the whole opium operation that has nothing to do with it!

But it’s going to take the combined commando assault talents of Mrs. Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed and former pro wrestler Tiny “Zeus” Lister to help scab American Ninja David Bradley bring things to an appropriately explosive climax!

A climax made possible because of David’s use of an advanced bit of mid-1990s tech called an online dictionary that allowed him to look up the definition of the word “nirvana” which provided a vital and utterly preposterous clue!

White Cargo is the sort of beautifully unfocused, unrealistic, and unrelenting mess a dude who had a fantasy about what it would be like to be a bad ass cop who was awesome at everything would puke forth during an all night bull session with his buddies. He would be saying stuff like “this cop would be really tough and take no crap because he knows some kung fu, but would also be respected by both the leaders of the local Tong and the Mafia! And he would drive a sports car! And have a filthy snitch named Greasy! And be hung up on his ex-wife! And be so haunted by her that when she’s trying to call him, he won’t answer because he’s too busy trying to heal his soul by wailing away on his electric guitar!”

The folks who fancy themselves as mature adults are no doubt rolling their eyes at this, the ridiculousness of it all already driving away most viewers. But if you actually stick with White Cargo for its entire 95 or so minutes of seemingly disconnected events, it’s really even more ridiculous than that!Because that bull session described above was surely just a dude’s first draft of a fantasy!

Remember the ex-wife our supercop is haunted by? She’s a freaking hot fashion model with an accent who went and turned lesbian! But you know what the perfect tonic is for a sudden case of Sapphic Syndrome? An highly concentrated dose of supercop!

Joe Hargatay (David Bradley) just walks into the lesbian bar, smacks around a male bouncer wearing a shirt that says “Homo” as well as a really butch gal trying to keep him from his lady, takes his ex home and pumps her until she’s good and straight again! And then rolls off to work to investigate the murder of another model, but not before making it rain, I mean thunderstorm, to the tune of a $10,000 check he leaves for her so she can pay some bills!

How does this guy drive a sports car and drop ten grand for the privilege of laying a lesbian on a supercop’s salary? He doesn’t! He just does supercop stuff for the fun of it! Hargatay owns a super sweet bar and bitching pad over top of it and makes tons of money gambling and playing the market!

Heck, he makes so much, he leaves envelopes full of cash to donate to the local church! And his bookie complains that he wins so much that the bookie goes ahead and pays his winnings before the results of the horse race are even known! And his bartender is Tiny Lister who doesn’t mind helping him kick ass when it’s time to take down the bad guys. (He uses his bartender instead of all his fellow cops because he’s on suspension when everything goes down! Duh!)

But what about all those dart murders that’s paralyzing the local fashion industry? Don’t worry, Joe’s all over that. He threatens and roughs up the photographer at the modelling agency where the girl worked. He checks in with the Tong to make sure they’re still not selling opium like they promised in exchange for the cops not hassling them on how they run Chinatown. He checks in with the local mob boss who swears he doesn’t sell drugs, but suspects the dead model is the illegitimate child of a senator’s wife. He threatens a fellow cop who is always being a douche to him (it goes without saying that any cop who doesn’t immediately recognize Joe’s greatness is dirty). He beats down a gang of rouge Tong members, and even gets shot and left for dead! None of it really gets him any closer to solving the murder, but at least he’s staying busy!

White Cargo firmly (and quite stupidly) puts everything on David Bradley’s shoulders, requiring him to deliver all manner of substandard tough guy dialogue, act alternately tough and sad, and convincingly handle the numerous lame situations he’s put in (like when he’s left for dead and he tells Tiny Lister that he’s going to let everyone think he’s dead so the bad guys will let their guard down and then in the next scene he gets captured and tortured by the very same bad guys!). Neither Bradley nor the film have it anywhere in them to carry any of this off. Bradley is more suited to roles where he says very little and either kicks or shoots a lot.

For his part, the writer/director of the movie is more suited to roles other than writing/directing. He has no grasp of storytelling as any number of characters and situations are introduced in the movie and seem to have very little to do with one another. Dart killer has some personal vendetta against the people killed though it wasn’t clear why the first victim was killed. The “evil” parts of the Tong and the Mafia team up to make opium and take Shannon Tweed prisoner for some reason. Shannon Tweed’s modelling agency is used to find girls for sex parties (I think), but what did that really have to do with Dart Killer or the opium ring?

In fact, the whole dart killer mystery is solved only through a completely tacked on ending when Joe notices how good at darts a guest in his house is! And also notices how well this person used a knife to cut up a lime! Next thing you know, Joe is reaching for the killing blade he keeps in his shoe and chucking it straight into this person’s chest before they can unleash their lime-stained knife on him!

Some more guitar playing, a flashback involving he and his ex-wife playing in the ocean surf and Joe providing some voice over about faith finish off an absurd David Bradley cop movie that will make you long for the simply silliness of a Thomas Ian Griffith cop movie like Excessive Force!

© 2017 MonsterHunter

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