Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It’s around Christmastime in this movie ‘Deadly Impact’, a title recklessly spat out by the Action Movie Title Generator, and Albuquerque New Mexico top cop Tom Armstrong (Sean Patrick Flannery) is chilling with his partner Ryan (Greg Serano) and Ryan’s daughter Amy (Julianne Flores). Everybody is so happy right now because Ryan has gotten the lights to work, Amy is excited about going to college and Tom is just giddy that his lovely wife Kelly (Michelle Greathouse), who is supposed to be on her way home, is thinking about taking some time off so this beautiful couple can start a family. So because of the joy that is permeating through this room we know damn well that this family thing is not going to happen.

Then they get the call. The international terrorist that Tom has been chasing for the last couple of years known as The Lion has finally been cornered, so the top cops have to run out to snag the fiend. Thing is in the basement of this little house is the wife tied to a pole strapped to a bunch of bombs. Tom’s choice, as delivered to him via cell phone by The Lion (Joe Pantoliano), is simple. Shoot his wife in the heart which will defuse the bombs or simply let the time tick down, mere seconds left mind you, and allow the team of about a dozen fathers and husbands to die a fiery painful death. Personally I would’ve chose option B because I’d be dead too and wouldn’t care what had happened but Tom is much more honorable than yours truly.

Years later a drunken Tom is minding his own business investigating the bottom of a liquor bottle in a Mexican Cantina when he gets a visit from FBI agent Isabel Ordonez (Carmen Serano). For whatever reason Ordonez is dressed like a prostitute playing ‘undercover’ which makes no sense when all she wanted Tom to do is listen to a voice recording. Regardless, The Lion has resurfaced and Tom is the only person who knows what he sounds like. It’s kind of funny because when we heard The Lion we all knew it was Joe Pantoliano’s voice even without seeing him. Now it’s time for Tom to dust off those liquor cobwebs and head on back to Albuquerque and get his revenge!

But that Lion is one clever ass bastard and is always one step ahead of these completely incompetent FBI agents. In the course of the FBI chasing this clown, who happens to be a ‘master of disguise’, The Lion will kidnap poor Amy TWICE, blackmail Agent Ryan, blow up a luxury hotel, blow up the FBI central office, murder state senators, blow up BMW’s while buying most of his blow-up stuff off the shelf at the local Home Depot. Still, they can’t get him. Because he’s way to smart. Until it’s time for him to get real stupid and for this movie to resolve itself.

While we will readily admit that we were not expecting ‘Deadly Impact’ to be the second coming of ‘Die Hard’ or anything, still I was a little disappointed by what I got from director Robert Kurtzman’s film. The last movie I saw from effects wizard Robert Kurtzman was the horror flick ‘The Rage’, which save for some horrific acting performances from some mighty attractive young adults, that movie was a pretty effective horror film. Thus with Pantoliano and Flannery headlining and the tried and true formula of Revenge Action, I did expect this one to be even better. The opening scene set the stage just about perfectly but unfortunately things just would not get better from there.

The main problem I had with the movie is that it got bogged down in FBI procedural nonsense and FBI type fancy tactical talk which might’ve worked I guess if these FBI agents actually looked like they knew what they were doing. Instead it brought the movies action to a screeching halt as the audience was just stuck watching these actors talk back and forth to each other about much of nothing, and even Pantoliano’s character of The Lion spent the majority of his time talking smack instead of doing stuff. None of this dialog was particularly well written and it didn’t to seem to add anything of substance to a story that had little substance to begin with.

It appears to me that the primary mistake was the filmmakers trying to be a little too clever and smart with story, considering The Lion’s overly complicated FBI runaround, while still doing the typical stupid action movie required plot points. When agent Ordonez gets a tip on The Lion’s location, noting this cat already killed like a couple of hundred people and is Public Enemy Number One, why is she the only agent that goes to this location? Because she has to be kidnapped and held hostage, that’s why. I guess this is also why agents Ordonez and Armstrong had fully clothed sex on her desk in between eating donuts, completely out of the blue, despite the fact the two seemed to have no attraction to each other, to give this kidnapping some emotional impact. And to be as smart as he was, The Lion’s end game was something out of Romper Room. Come on genius, you can do better than that.

After watching ‘Deadly Impact’ I saw the completely obscure early nineties completely brain dead action movie ‘Zero Tolerance’. That move was better than this movie because that movie knew what it was and didn’t try to play smart. This movie would’ve been so much better if they had just played dumb, kept the explosions high, the action more plentiful and the attempts at cleverness to a bare minimum. Oh well.

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