Movie Review: McBain (1991) – Synapse Blu-ray

June 26, 2023

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Back in the final days of the Vietnam, a group of soldiers are shipping off for home make a pitstop to rescue some P.O.V.’s who’s ranks include the eponymous McBain (Christopher Walken, who I’m sure every single person reading this knows damn well who he is and what he’s been in… shit, it would have been quicker to just type a few titles… ).

Anyway, said McBain is currently in the middle of a cage match against a dude that could only be unbelievably described as “The Vietnamese Rambo” when he’s liberated by Santos (Chick Vennera) and his troops (who’s ranks include the American Ninja series’ Steve James, The Warriors/The Thing‘s Thomas G. Waites, and Scanners/Starship Troopers‘ Michael Ironside among their numbers).

Speaking of “Santos” and “liberation” in the same sentence; flash forward 18 years and the man is executed trying to lead a revolution to over throw a corrupt regime down Columbia way. So what does his sister, Christina ( Maria Conchita Alonso, The Running Man, Predator 2), do? Why look up ‘ol McBain to settle the score of course!

So McBain rounds up Santo’s old crew with one hold-out; Frank Bruce (the aforementioned Ironside), the team’s extraction man, who demands a fucking King’s ransom to participate in the fracas, so the gang decides to obtain the fee by shaking down (and in some cases brutally murdering) drug dealers and the mob.

Not to ruin anything, but McBain and co. do make it to Colombia… but will they have the fire power and chalones to complete the mission?

Writer/director James Glickenhaus’ (The Exterminator) McBain is many things, but if I had to pick one thing to focus on, it would be how absolutely batshit ridiculous it all is!

McBain and his middle-aged bad-asses are the most casual instruments of death you ever did see as they stroll on into Columbia decked out in the finest of Banana Republic togs, and commit multiple, MULTIPLE murders (the body count is unreasonably high), all in the name of Liberty!

And what murders they are boils n’ ghouls; with bullets, explosions, and a ceiling fan (not in the way you think… not in the way any rational human-being would think) all providing the means of expiry for anyone getting in the path of these khaki-clad macho muthas and their righteous mission!

Christ, even before the mission proper begins things are insane, what with Walken espousing on his character’s adventures at Woodstock (as a comparable experience to children being hooked on cocaine resulting from drug production in Columbia), some corny-as-all hell social commentary (featuring Wednesday‘s Luis Guzmán), that aforementioned cage match (which we, as an audience, can tell is important because the Vietcong C.O. overseeing the action has to put on his human ear necklace for the affair)… it’s all just too damn much, in the absolute best possible way!

Factor in the screaming guitar that thunders forth from the soundtrack during select action sequences, an inspirational rock ditty or two, some shitty opticals (which are really glaring in this solid transfer) and model planes with all of the above and you have an absolutely dizzying action picture that never fails to entertain!

As if the main event wasn’t enough, there are a small smattering of bonus materials on this Blu-ray release from Synapse Films which include the film’s trailer and an informative (if low-key) audio commentary featuring Glickenhaus and film historian Chris Poggiali which goes through the film’s production in detail.

McBain is one hell of an off-the-wall action flick, and contains all of the jaw-dropping cinematic lunacy one could desire from a film where Christopher Walken leads a casual South American coup… which is to say a whole hell of a lot!




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