August 19, 2018

BLAST (1997): Die Hard at the YMCA
Starring Linden Ashby, Andrew Divoff, Kimberly Warren, Rutger Hauer, Tim Thomerson, Yuki Okumoto, Jill Pierce, Sonya Eddy. Directed by Albert Pyun. (1997/105 min). 


Review by Tiger the Terrible😼

Unbelievably, Blast is a Die Hard knock-off.

That itself is nothing new, of course. We've been subjected to "Die Hard on a..." ever since the Holy Grail of action movies was released back in 1988. You know the drill: A heavily-armed group of elite terrorists/mercenaries, led by an arrogant, cold-blooded mastermind (either a rogue terrorist or disgruntled employee), lay siege upon a skyscraper/bus/plane/train/ship/stadium/government building. Unless their demands are met, they'll kill their hostages/launch a nuke/destroy a city. But they didn't count on ONE MAN...usually a disgraced or troubled cop/soldier/agent/ex-Navy Seal, who single-handedly takes on the bad guys to save his wife/kids/buddy/country/beloved housepet.

Here's the unbelievable part: Despite the Die Hard-inspired cover, the terrorists in Blast take over a swimming complex, the hostages are a team of five whiny teenagers and the ONE MAN is the facility's janitor.

Okay, does take place during the Olympics, but Jack (Linden Ashby) really is just a janitor, whose job consists of gathering towels from the locker room. He has the obligatory troubled past, of course. Jack once won a Bronze medal in gymnastics before an injury and hard living ruined his life. That's his entire background. Yet in an effort to save his estranged wife (Diane Colton, as the team's coach), Jack squares-off against this heavily-armed crew with the skills of supersoldier.

"I found who peed in the pool."
But I suppose if we can swallow a rotund Steven Seagal as a stealthy Navy Seal, maybe even brooding janitors deserve a shot at glory. However, the setting for Blast is as dull as it sounds. A swimming complex, no matter how many concrete hallways and basements it has, is just not all that cinematic, especially since none of the low-wattage action even requires a pool. Not helping matters is a hero with the personality of a vanilla cone and cookie-cutter villains who give no indication they're very formidable. Even the great Rutger Hauer is wasted as Leo, an anti-terrorism expert. He spends most of the movie in a dimly-lit room, barking orders while seated behind a control panel.

Unfortunately, Blast seldom sinks to the level of unintentionally funny (well, at least until the climax). The film is competently made for its budget, but so blandly executed that a little technical ineptitude would have boosted its entertainment value. This one is strictly for those who've seen every other Die Hard knock-off and still can't get enough.


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