Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Ah… the dark days of Marvel Comic movies.  Way back before Iron Man and stuff, when Reb Brown was Captain America, or Albert Pyun was directing Captain America, or my main man Dolph as The Punisher.  Don't forget those TV Hulk movies featuring Rex Smith as the Daredevil and Erik Allen Kramer as Thor, not to mention that Spiderman TV show from the seventies starring Nicholas Hammond that I remember loving as a kid and of course that Fantastic Four movie that's was supposed to be so bad that it has been buried under a fifty feet of concrete for all time.  Of course we own that movie, as well as those others, except that Spiderman show which seems completely unavailable, and that makes me sad.  But we're here to speak of the darkest days, the year of 1998, years before Samuel L. Jackson would don the eye patch, but The Hoff… David Hasselhoff as the erstwhile chief of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury.  And while that might sound like a recipe for complete disaster to you,  the truth of the matter is that 'Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.' isn't really all that bad.  Uh… that is when taken in context.

The cold war is over and there's just no room for tall, grizzled, eye patched, hardcore soldiers like the good Colonel Nick Fury (Hasselhoff), that is until the crazed but hot Andrea Von Strucker (Sandra Hess), known in the villain world as Viper, kidnaps her dead, frozen father Baron Von Strucker out of some high security facility with low rent protection.  So what, right?  She kidnapped a dead dude, BFD.   Unfortunately this dead dude has the remnants of a killer virus in his system that Viper plans to harvest and unleash upon the world.  Not cool.  Now that things are looking pretty dark for the planet Earth, it's time to dust off Nick Fury and beg him to save us all.

Nick is down with this because planet saving is what he does, so he and his crack team of agents, which includes  green agent Neil Roberts (Alexander Goodwin Pierce) and his
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former love Valentina (Lisa Rina), the team is ready to take down the forces of HYDRA!  The whole former love thing does serve the purpose of introducing a healthy bit of melodrama into this tale, which it really didn't need, but we got it anyway. 

But this Viper… man, she's one sneaky chick.  She manages to give Nick the Kiss of Death, and the way she pulled that off, in of itself was super sneaky, but this means Nick has just a few hours to save the Earth before he dies of frog poison.  It's complicated.  Worst still is that Viper has cultivated this virus of hers, weaponized it and pointed it at Manhattan.  That means there's a clock on it.  And Nick has a clock on him.  That's two clocks counting down to triple zero and that's not a good thing.  Not that any of these cataclysmic events is doing anything to stop Valentina from whining about how Nick never really loved her.  Just shoot me now, or better yet, hopefully Viper's bomb will just bop me on the head and put me out of my misery.

One notable thing about 'Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.', as the box cover points out, is that it was written by one of the writers of 'Batman Begins'.  What does this mean, that David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay for this movie?  Well, if you're my friend Andre, that means that the fact this is a crap movie was unavoidable.  He hates David S. Goyer.  I think it has something to do with Blade Trinity, but to the rest of us however I think it means that this means that the 'Nick Fury' movie was probably off to about as good a launching point as one could hope for, all things considered. 

You see for the most part 'Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.' is a completely competent, if not also a completely run of the mill TV action movie.  It has a cast filled with solid TV character actors such as Ron Canada and Gary Chalk, Sandra Hess is some kind of pretty and gloriously overacted as the character of Viper, just as a role like this would call for, Goyer's narrative is logical and follows a very tried and true hero's arc, Rod Hardy's direction is solid and filled with all of the prerequisite action sequences and numerous triple zero countdowns… It's functional entertainment.

The problem, of course, and what makes this movie often the target of derision on the internets and whatnot is the inclusion of one David Michael Hasselhoff as Nick Fury.  Now we here at the FCU aren't the ones saying that The Hoff wasn't right for the role of Nick Fury, but we can admit that putting a eye patch, razor stubble and a stogie in the Hoff's mouth didn't necessarily transform him into a grizzled tough guy, and it did even less to remove the fact that this is the dude that we didn't used to watch on Baywatch.  This is what happens when you do something really well, then people always associate you with it.  This is why Sean Hayes from 'Will and Grace' will always be that gay dude on that show, no matter what he does, because he was so good at being that gay dude on that show. 

But I do think if you can somehow you can put Baywatch… not so much Michael Knight… out of your mind, then 'Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D' stays solid if not totally run of the mill entertainment.  We liked it well enough.  This is a failed pilot and I can't say we liked it well enough that we would've tuned in every week to watch it, but we did like it well enough to enjoy it this one time.
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