United States - 1989
Director- H. Kaye Dyal
Southgate Entertainment, 1991, VHS
Run Time – 1 hour, 29 minutes
It is here where we join our friend Slade, portrayed with steely emotion by a well tanned and sparklingly groomed Frank Zagarino (Barbarian Queen's Argan), as he blows into a dusty northern New Mexico town called Rio Puerco like a tumbleweed with abs. Slade himself is too young to be a product of Vietnam, but that war produced a variety of bitter and misanthropic veteran stereotypes to choose from. Oh the tragic torment of the survivors to know the banality of peace; it was the lucky ones that died.
Brett Baxter Clark of Deathstalker 4) is not interested in such cute bullshit and is instead bent on extracting the aircraft plans from Markson’s grey-matter and selling them to… well, somebody evil will probably want them.
David Carradine.) Typically, traumatized veterans who return to the States are unable to cope with the slow pace and low tension of civilian life until they meet up with an old war buddy and pull one last mission together for old times sake. It is then, and only then, after employing their unique skills to prove his goodness, that the civilian scumbag will realize that the government-issue killer is really just misunderstood. In fact, as Markson’s vulnerable and succulent daughter Jackie quickly discovers, Slade is misunderstood and H-O-T. Who wouldn’t be instantly seduced by that golden mullet cascading over bronze and supple chest. She’s in his arms quicker than you can say Great American Metaphor.
Packin' a rod.
Within minutes however, Markson and his daughter are kidnapped by Elias’s inept goons and taken to a decrepit dust farm on the edge of the bosque. There Elias’ plan is to maliciously interrogate them while cackling and elaborating his entire evil (lack of) plan. Of course, as soon as the safety of the effeminate intellectual civilian is threatened, Slade’s unique skill-set regains its currency, (oh the irony that they’re the ones who made him learn those skills in the first place!) Shooting off in hot pursuit like well armed denim ejaculate, Slade guns his dirt-bike into the desert to redeem himself in the ultimate archetype showdown. After a brief premature battle climax with the henchmen, he literally gets in a fistfight with the degenerate wacko- vet stereotype captured so eloquently in Baxter-Clark’s Elias. With liberal use of disbelief suspension, I could hear the eagles of freedom screeching victoriously as Slade re-legitimized the masculine hero-warrior myth, putting some muscle firmly back into the USA's collective pants.
That's for all those years of making me look bad!