31 January 2011

Virtual Assassin

Yay, It's a screener!

AKA – Cyberjack
United States – 1995
Director – Robert Lee
Turner Home Entertainment, 1995, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 39 minutes

Michael Dudikoff. Oh how the never that mighty have fallen into a pit of groaning serpents. Once the compressed essence of pure American everything-awesomeness in heart-throbbing, tendon strung Sgt. Armstrong; the unadulterated leathernecky can-do integrity in Lt. Knight, and now this desperate low of bitter and recalcitrant computer lab janitor? Were he to look forward a decade from those halcyon days of yore to the far distant future, what would Dudikiff think? What would he do differently?

The truth is, Michael Dudikoff is sorely misinterpreted, his detractors leaping to conclusions without really analyzing the facts. Is there really that much difference in the quality of American Ninja and Virtual Assassin? Let us see. The former has to its credit the undeniable presence of the late Steve James rugged and chiseled jawline and retina assaulting smile, surely not a thing to be taken lightly. It also has the contextually powerful and perennially effective catchword “ninja” in the title. Virtual Assassin, while not the recipient of that lofty and prestigious honor of franchisedom which blessed its predecessor, can still boast of a number of dubiously impressive merits of its own. First of course is the terminally sinister visage of the also late Brion James, his unmistakable dental arcade and remarkably-versatile-despite-its-severity widow’s peak (here miraculously styled into an attractive Euro-fro) which never fail to elicit a shudder of wary recognition. Like American Ninja it also sports an equally impressive and  contemporary moniker featuring the buzzword “virtual” And in case that didn’t impress you enough (perhaps you recently saw Lawnmower Man and are suspicious of the theme) it proffers a second, equally compelling alternate title prominently featuring the hip word “cyber”.

So I ask, is it really fair to heirarchically compare one period in Michael Dudikoff’s career to any other period? I would argue that he warrants a great deal of respect for having maintained a consistent quality, something many actors seem all to frequently to foul up. Mr. Dudikoff has not fallen, for never did he rise too high. His only misfortune has been merely to attract detractors, those slithering anklebiters whose ninja fogged optimism obscured their long-haul vision. No I say, Dudikoff never fell, for if his Nick James (whoa, creepy) character in Virtual Assassin tells us anything about his career, he has had the presence of mind to place himself always near the crest of popular trends, and in the company of equally persistent fellows. I urge you then to see this film as yet another manifestation of this cinematic Clydesdale, his proverbial cabled muscles steaming with effort as he consistently and tirelessly ploughs the infinite and fickle furrow of the popular consciousness.


Ty said...

Nice find on the screener! Always wanted to see this one.

Direct to Video Connoisseur said...

This is one of my all time favorites. You don't get much better than Brion James and Michael Dudikoff.