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20 Action Movies [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Nightmare in Badham County
Originally made for television, this delightfully sordid women's prison film has a pair of co-eds (Deborah Raffin and Lynne Moody) traveling through a small town, where they are arrested by a sleazy sheriff (Chuck Connors) and sent to a work-farm. The usual sadistic goings-on result, including rape, murder, and white slavery, but this is a bit more interesting than most similar offerings just for the oddball cast. Ralph Bellamy appears as a judge, Brady Bunch dad Robert Reed is the warden, and Gilligan's Island star Tina Louise is a prison guard. A highpoint of a year in which television seemed almost like a Southern drive-in, Nightmare in Badham County is a must for fans of smarmy small-screen exploitation. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

Airline Disaster
When Domestic terrorists hijack a state-of-the-art airliner piloted by the President's brother, the Commander in Chief (Meredith Baxter) must weight her instinct to rescue her family against her responsibility to ensure the safety of the citizens on the ground. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Ruby Cairo
The owner of an aircraft salvage company (Viggo Mortensen) is reported killed in a crash. However, his wife (Andie MacDowell) knows better, and she decides to find him and his secret bank accounts. She travels around the world, and winding up in Cairo, she meets Liam Neeson, who helps her uncover her husband's smuggling scheme. ~ Deb Rainsbottom, Rovi

The Fall
Location filming in Budapest adds to the realism of this tense thriller. An expatriate American author (Craig Sheffer) is held hostage by a disturbed woman carrying a razor and willing to use it (Helen de Fougerolles). The wordsmith must quickly decide if the woman is a violent psychotic or if her claims of being threatened by a Communist stooge turned free-enterprise advocate (Jurgen Prochnow) could possibly be the truth. This international co-production was shown as part of the 1999 Hungarian Film Week Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The Rage
This silly, over-the-top action film has a great hammy performance by Gary Busey as the insane leader of a militia group intent on revenge against the government for doing psychotropic experiments on them after Vietnam. Busey also had his privates mutilated by a Viet-Cong prostitute, so he's a vicious razor-blade rapist, too. Lorenzo Lamas and Kristen Cloke are FBI "mindhunters" trying to stop him, but they lose their badges because of evil boss Roy Scheider, who still blames Lamas for his career troubles after a botched Ruby Ridge-type standoff. There are way too many plot threads dangling everywhere -- including the hesitant romance between Lamas and Cloke -- and the screenplay seems to reference every news item concerning the FBI in the last ten years to no good end. Still, those in search of mindless shootouts and hissable villains will find enough to enjoy over beer and pork rinds. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

Zero Tolerance
A vengeful FBI agent wages a one-man war against a powerful drug cartel that has kidnapped his family in this action thriller from producer/director Joseph Merhi. The White Hand is a feared drug cartel run by the five most powerful crime lords in the business. When The White Hand takes FBI agent Jeff Douglas' family hostage, they will face an army of one more powerful than any military force, who is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of his family. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Superdome
An upcoming Super Bowl provides the framework for this suspenseful thriller set in New Orleans. The trouble begins when a murderous stalker begins threatening assorted lovers, gamblers, and con artists who typically surround the big game. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Nightmare in Big Sky Country
Set in Montana, this fact-based drama recounts the actions taken by Judge Marty Bethel as she tries to protect herself and her children from a lawless member of a local militia group. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Family of Cops
In this made-for-TV thriller, Paul Fein (Charles Bronson) is a veteran police detective whose son Eddie (Sebastian Spence) is also a cop. Paul is assigned to investigate the murder of a prominent businessman, and he soon learns that the field of suspects has been narrowed down to two -- the victim's sexually freewheeling wife Anna (Lesley-Anne Down), and Paul's wild-child daughter Jackie (Angela Featherstone). Neither Paul nor Eddie believe that Jackie could have committed the murder, and soon Paul is using himself as a decoy in a bid to find out more about what Anna does and doesn't know about her husband's death. Family of Cops was followed by two sequels. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Running Delilah
A recently deceased lady spy is outfitted with robotic body parts and is revived to become a super secret agent in this made-for-television sci-fi thriller. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Ice
Don't worry: former porn queen Traci Lords was "of age" when she starred in Ice. Lords and Phillip Troy play a husband-and-wife team of thieves who steal a fortune in diamonds. Problem is, they've stolen it from a mob kingpin. Before the film's halfway point, Lords is going it alone, running helter-skelter across the country from the mob boss' gunmen with the "ice" in tow. Inasmuch as this is a chase film, it's altogether appropriate that the screenwriter of Ice is one Sean Dash. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Breach of Faith: A Family of Cops II
A priest has been murdered in the neighborhood of Inspector Paul Fein's youth, and it's up to the seasoned cop to crack the case in director David Greene's entry into the tense Family of Cops series. It's not going to be easy going back to the streets of his childhood, but despite the demons that linger in the shadows of every corner, this is one case he's not willing to let slip through the cracks. With all evidence pointing to the Russian Mafia as being responsible for the crime, Inspector Fein searches desperately for a witness who's willing to talk. As fear tightens its grip on the scared Russian community of Milwaukee, bodies continue to pile up and an unspoken code of silence threatens to stonewall the investigation. Now, with both his life and the lives of his family hanging in the balance, Inspector Fein must make the decision to pull back, or press forward and pray that the killer won't get to him before he gets to them. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

No Code of Conduct
Martin Sheen and his son Charlie Sheen play father and son, appropriately enough, in this tense crime thriller. Bill Patterson (Martin Sheen) is a veteran police detective who works side by side with his son Jake (Charlie Sheen) in the vice squad. Both Bill and Jake share a dedication to their work that often gets in the way of their relationships with others. The job has put a wedge between Jake and his wife Rebecca (Meredith Salenger), and Jake also feels that he's starting to burn out, tired of living in the shadow of his better-respected dad. When a fellow vice detective is killed trying to crack a drug ring, Bill and Jake make it their personal responsibility to bring in the killers and take the drugs off the street. However, they quickly discover that they've severely underestimated the ruthlessness and brutality of the dealers (played by Tina Nguyen, Joe Lando, Courtney Gains, and Bruce Nelson) and that their lives are in great danger. No Code of Conduct was the first feature written and directed by Bret Michaels, who rose to fame in the 1980s as the lead singer with the popular rock band Poison. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Ordinary Decent Criminal
Ordinary Decent Criminal is a classic gangster movie in modern-day Ireland. It follows the extraordinary adventures of a Robin Hood character, Michael Lynch, a thief, bigamist, liar, and criminal genius who robs from the rich to give to the poor. Michael is suave, sardonic, and sexy. When his leather-clad figure weaves its way through the Dublin traffic on a powerful motorbike, people stare in awe. He loves his two wives (who happen to be sisters), his wild kids, his gang, and, most of all, his way of life. He has two fundamental beliefs: be loyal to your own and the hell with the establishment. As his ego gets bigger and bigger, he enjoys his notoriety more than the cash it brings. Determined to break him, the police increases its harassment of the whole gang, as Michael makes a mistake that could threaten his good name with the public and his reliability as a bread-winner. But he recovers his equilibrium in time to dream up a final grand scheme to survive the trap set for him. The story is reminiscent of John Boorman's The General about a similar real-life character, Martin Cahill, also a Robin Hood married to two sisters. The impressive cast includes Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, and Peter Mullan, the tragic hero of My Name is Joe. ~ Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Rovi

The Life Before This
Exploring concepts of fate and free will, Jerry Ciccoritti's contemplative drama shows the lives of a handful of random people during the 12 hours leading up to a bloody shooting spree in a posh coffee shop. Maggie (Emily Hampshire) is a waitress in the café whose acting career is going nowhere fast. Her co-worker Connie (Sarah Polley), who is learning to love her lawyer boyfriend, is supposed to have the day off. Sheena (Catherine O'Hara), who frequents the shop, is a lovelorn bridal consultant looking for a decent man. And Brian (Stephen Rea), an exterminator/philosopher, is still mourning the death of his daughter, who died a year ago. Their petty, everyday problems gain ironic resonance when juxtaposed with the day's bloody ending. This film was screened at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

Crash Landing
The President's Plane Is Missing
A crisis ensues when Air Force One crashes while on a flight out west, apparently killing all those aboard, including President Jeremy Haines (Tod Andrews). The United States is in the midst of a confrontation with China that could lead to a nuclear war between the two countries, and the government is now in the hands of Vice President Kermit Madigan (Buddy Ebsen), a not too intelligent or sophisticated man, who was deliberately kept out of the loop. His confidence on foreign policy issues virtually nil, Madigan seeks to carry out Haines's intended policy in confronting the Chinese but gets two completely different accounts of what that policy was to be. Secretary of State Freeman Sharkey (Raymond Massey), a career diplomat, claims that Haines was pursuing firm but peaceful containment of the problem, while National Security advisor George Oldenburg (Rip Torn) says that Haines was ready to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the Chinese and go to war if necessary -- and Oldenburg quickly picks up on how to gain Madigan's confidence. As if Madigan doesn't have enough problems, the stunned Washington community cannot help but openly doubt his competence, while his ambitious wife (Mercedes McCambridge) sees this unfolding tragedy as a way for herself and her husband to finally get some respect and settle a few scores with those who belittled the Second Couple. Even more troubling, as the search teams comb the wreckage, another mystery ensues -- they can't seem to find the president's body. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Street Killing
In this detective drama, a prosecutor investigates a murder and finds that it is connected to a recent mugging. In the end, he is led to convict a high-ranking crime lord. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Adrenalin: Fear the Rush
In 2007 AD, a virus sweeps across Europe. Many flee to the United States where they are held in quarantine camps. At the Boston camp, police officer Delon (Natasha Henstridge), hoping to leave with her son, has used black-market contacts to acquire a passport. Delon's partner is decapitated while they are investigating a killing, and another officer, Lemieux (Christopher Lambert) arrives with back-up. They move in on the killer, a psychotic who could infect the entire city within six hours. The pursuit intensifies after troops headed by CIA operative Phillip Stearns (Andrew Divoff) arrive. Why does the Boston seen here look so East European? Because the film was actually shot in Bratislava. In particular, notice the police cars with European markings. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

The Day the Earth Moved
Jackie Cooper and Cleavon Little star as aerial photographers who spot a few threatening cracks in the San Andreas fault. Will anyone listen? No. Do they suffer in the subsequent quake? Yes, but not as expensively as the all-star cast in Earthquake. Still, The Day the Earth Moved doesn't aspire to be anything more than a modest made-for-TV disaster flick, and within its own limits it succeeds. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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