SWAT: Warhead One (2004)

A team of elite Russian mercenaries against a Navy Seal squad led by Luc Remy! At stake is Warhead One, only the most freaking awesome weapon prototype ever conceived by the most cut rate CGI imaginable!

Deployed to the ship carrying Warhead One a few hours after getting the call (How long does it take these mercs to crate the thing up? I’m guessing multiple vodka breaks were involved.), Remy’s squad is immediately beset by some bad luck when one of their helicopters blows up and throws its rotor into their other helicopter, turning the freighter into a raging inferno!

Remy’s mission just went from bad to worse and if he has any chance to prevent Warhead One from going onto the black market to the highest bidder, he’s going to have to go Warhead Ten on these terrorists! And he does, kicking and stabbing dudes, but ultimately the task at hand proves impossible even for him! And that’s mainly because all $150 of the special effects budget was just spent on having some guy’s teenage kid come up with those absurdly crude helicopter effects in the scenes before!

Now Remy has to battle the bad guys in a burning ship by fighting them in a room that has flashing red and yellow lights to simulate flames while shots of stuff really on fire somewhere else are laughably inserted during the fight to simulate something that doesn’t really approach entertainment. Clearly distracted by what a lackadaisical production he’s involved with, Remy fails to stop the Warhead One from being stolen!

Eight years pass and Warhead One disappears. It proves a difficult sell because it’s unstable which is understandable because who would want to pay all the money for it only to have it accidentally detonate when UPS leaves it on the front porch of your sleeper cell?

Time has not also been kind to Remy. Following his failure to stop the theft of Warhead One, he quit the SEALs and took a job leading up a SWAT team for the LAPD. But all thoughts of how he let his country down all those years ago are long forgotten because he is too busy letting his city down!

Proving that sometimes guys screw the pooch on the big play, not because they were double-crossed or made a wrong choice or tried to save a buddy, but just because they are your every day sucky choke artists, Remy immediately sets about fudging up again when it’s time to raid the hideout of the big counterfeiting ring they are trying to bust.

First Remy refuses to wait for back up. Then he has everyone on the team split up. And finally when one of his guys is being held at gunpoint, he doesn’t shot the bad guy as his comrade is pleading with him to, but instead puts his gun down only to watch as the bad guy shoots his pal. At one point during the mission, Remy comments that he thinks there’s a leak on the SWAT team sabotaging the mission. Yeah dude – we all took a vote on who it was and you won!

A lengthy scene at the hospital follows as Remy’s colleague takes forever to die. While it was no doubt supposed to be a quite sobering sequence, so many people showed up to blame and dump on Remy for getting the guy killed (guy’s pregnant wife, Remy’s boss, the pushy muckraking reporter) that you couldn’t help snickering at what a loser Remy was. Throw in the fact that the expert surgeon who couldn’t even save the guy was Remy’s surly ex-wife and you calling the suicide hotline for Remy between giggles.

Oddly enough, this was actually the last time the movie would make any sense as everything that followed involved some labyrinthine plot about a couple of Asian gangs at war with each other, an Asian arms dealer at war with his family, the counterfeit money being used to buy Warhead One, and Warhead One being used as a threat to force the police to turn over a bad guy to a different bad guy because that guy had put a computer virus on the counterfeiters’ computer. Making matters worse is that two of the main villains are named Chaing and Yang. I haven’t been so confused about who was who since I saw Siamese twins Chang and Eng back in the 1830s!

It’s understandable then that Remy does pretty much nothing the rest of the movie but just sit around listening to his new partner, reporter Dick Danvers (it’s a public relations effort to try and patch things up after Remy’s latest screw up), periodically tell him large chunks of the plot while black and white highlights of guys we don’t know fight and have clandestine meetings play over his narration. It’s a money saving device to be sure, but if you needed to save that much money to make your movie, you should’ve asked your mom for a loan or not bothered making it all.

After messing up for years, Remy finally gets to redeem himself, but only after being goaded into it by his ex-wife and his corrupt boss. Truly a loser from start to finish, this has to be the lamest character Olivier Gruner has ever played, even more so than his douche horse farmer from The White Pony.

And he sure didn’t get any help from either the confusing story elements (I still don’t know how many bad guys there were or whether they were all killed) or the pointless ones (his prior involvement with Warhead One had nothing to do with what happened when it was used during his SWAT career), let alone a budget that was so much vaporware that they couldn’t even film scenes of Remy going to different crime scenes, resorting to the same speeded up POV shot of someone driving on the freeway until it zooms in on Remy just sitting in a car and pretending to park.

Normally I wouldn’t hold a guy like Gruner responsible for any of this because his only job is find out which extra to kick in the head, but this is one instance where he should’ve known better because production company Cine Excel was the same one who also made the similarly execrable Power Elite a few years before!

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