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Film Review: Day of the Warrior (1996)

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SYNOPSIS:

The Agency’s computer database is compromised by a powerful criminal named “The Warrior”. Now, with the list of all the undercover agents’ identities in hand, he is going after them, one by one.

REVIEW:

There was once a director that many a teenaged boy in the 1990s with a penchant for staying up late at nights watching movies on premium channels may have loved, even if said adolescent guys didn’t know his name. His name was Andy Sidaris, and he made low budget action movies that starred many former Playboy Playmates and Penthouse Pets. The movies were never particularly good, but they did have almost all of it’s female cast end up naked at least once during its runtime. His movies did have plots and some action scenes, but that was never really the point. They were really there to just provide titillation without being outright pornography, and they all offered that titillation in spades.

In Day of the Warrior, the secret law enforcement agency L.E.T.H.A.L. (Legion to Ensure Total Harmony and Law) finds itself in trouble when their computer system is hacked. Now a crime lord who also operates as a professional wrestler (not making that up) has the identity of some of the agency’s undercover operatives who are located in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Dallas. Now some of L.E.T.H.A.L.’s remaining members must race against time before The Warrior’s own people has the agents killed.

Like a lot of the films Sidaris produced or directed, the story isn’t exactly a strong point. It doesn’t have much of the way in logic, tension, or character development or anything else that a better flick would have. The movie just seems to pile on plots and subplots so that action scenes will happen (which are normally followed by love scenes). The dialogue is so lazily written that it actually recycles the same joke three different times throughout the movie. The action is sloppily done and only sporadically shows any kind of intensity.

Another thing Day of the Warrior has in common with the rest of Sidaris’s contribution to celluloid is that it looks like they chose their cast with an “acting talent not required” mentality. Almost everyone was chosen because they look good, are affordable, and not afraid to show skin. To give you a few examples, actress Raye Hollitt shows absolutely no emoting abilities throughout the film’s run time. She just ears the same exact expression on her face with absolutely no variation at all. It’s almost eerie to behold. Julie K. Smith, Shae Marks, and Tammy Parks barely do any better. The only time they show any kind of energy is when they have a love scene, and ironically, that’s usually the only time when their male counterparts seem to show any enthusiasm as well. Julie Strain and Marcus “Buff” Bagwell at least has enough charisma and personality that they’re fairly fun to watch. The only decent performance, however, comes from Gerald Okamura, the asian Elvis impersonator (again, not making this stuff up).

Despite all the flaws that this movie has, and honestly, there’s enough to fill a dump truck, Day of the Warrior has a particular charm that just goes beyond seeing beautiful women showing off their silicon-enhanced talents. No one working on this flick had any illusions what they were doing, so everyone seemed to just have fun with it. It’s purposefully silly with a tongue-in-cheek approach to everything it does that doesn’t involve nudity. You have a couple of hitmen that are also surfers and hackers. You have a villain who dresses like a Native American stereotype and prefers to kill people by using wrestling movies on them in an actual wrestling ring. One of the more entertaining characters is Okumura’s Fu character whose ethnicity is played up mainly for laughs. It relies on humor that’s funny only because you can’t believe Sidaris got away with it. It’s the kind of thing that filmmakers today could never get away with today without dozens of activist groups losing their proverbial crap.

Day of the Warrior is an exploitative movie that’s pretty blatant about what its intentions are. However, it still manages to have its own charm in not only in embracing the ridiculous, but also how openly un-PC it is. It’s the kind of film that could have only been made in the halcyon days of the 1990s. Check it out.

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