‘Shadows in Paradise’, ‘Ultimate Impact’, ‘Schatten Komando’… whatever you want to call it… just may very well be the worst movie ever made. I mean this movie is so gawdawful it feels like they made it just for me. When you put this many B-class superstars in a film this crappy… it brings a tear to my eye. The only regret there could possibly be in the creation of this crapterpiece is that somehow the filmmakers couldn’t convince Michael Madsen to make a cameo.
Dateline Iraq. Which looks suspiciously like The Valley, but they’re telling me it’s Iraq so it’s Iraq. Super tough marine Lt. Max Forester (Mark Dacascos) is on a mission to save some soldiers. Before he makes the big raid he taps his fellow marine Lt. Sasha Vilanoff (Sofya Skya) on the shoulder and softly tells her he loves her. This seemed to upset Sasha who doesn’t say she loves him back. Lt. Sasha is probably wondering, like I was wondering, why this weak punk is getting all ‘Guiding Light’ on her right before a firefight. Sure enough it jumps off, some of the weakest Valley Boy Iraqis are slaughtered but sadly Sasha ends up missing. I mean she was right there a second ago but now she’s missing. Capt. John ‘Ghost’ Santos (Armand Assante) grabs his boy and drags him out of there, leaving a woman behind. Personally we thought Capt. Santos could be the oldest Marine Captain ever. Dude needs to dedicate himself to his career a little more and get a promotion.
At least we thought he was the oldest marine captain until we met Capt. John Dyer (Bruce Boxleitner). After Lt. Forester sat on his bunk crying like a sissy and reliving the moments he experienced having sex with his assumed dead woman, two years have passed and Capt. Dyer gives Forester a call that his woman has been found alive and it looks like she works for al-Qaeda. This is where this movie loses all semblance of attempting to make sense. Capt Dyer, on the authority of no one, sends Sasha’s lover to bring her back. Colonel Bunker (Tom Sizemore) shows up at the ‘Iraqi’ base with a couple of CIA agents in tow, one of these agents being played by Steven Bauer. Also by Bunker’s side is the world’s oldest lieutenant played by Andrew Divoff. Col. Bunker assumes command with Capt. Dyer telling him that this is bullshit. This is how
the captain and the colonel talked to each other. At one point the Colonel called the Captain into the tent and the captain was like ‘Yeah, what do you want?’ Isn’t he supposed to salute or say ‘yes sir’ or something? ‘Yeah?’ I don’t know if that’s Marine Protocol.
Anyway, the CIA agents head to Paradise Island where Forester and Sasha are. Forester has found Sasha and she tells her man that’s she working on some secret stuff. His job is to bring her back. Instead he takes her to his hotel room and screws her. I don’t think that’s Marine Protocol either. The CIA agents then shows up to take Sasha back to the United States since Forrester has obviously forgotten that’s why he was sent there. Forester proceeds to shoot these agents, killing one of them not named Steven Bauer. These guys are just trying to do their job.
Meanwhile back in ‘Iraq’, Col. Bunker has dispatched Shadow Company, led by the previously mentioned Captain ‘Ghost’ Santos, to retrieve Sasha since Forrester forgot to do this and those CIA agents suck. One of his soldiers is played by Danny Trejo. This is outstanding, right? By the way, Danny Trejo… Worst Marine Sniper Ever. Sasha still isn’t telling us the secret stuff she’s working on ‘because the less we know the better’. That’s what she said. When she does finally tell us, we were curious why this idiot didn’t tell us this completely mundane shit earlier. Sasha also tells us why she was incommunicado for two years, and while her story doesn’t make a lick of sense, at least we got to see Sofya Skya in a wet t-shirt during her flashback. Also somebody on our side is trying to sell Stinger Missiles to al-Qaeda. I’m not going to tell you who it is, despite the fact it’s not really a secret. Lame shootouts shall ensue.
This movie is awful, but Armand Assante as the world’s second oldest Marine captain gives a speech in this movie that was really good. The magic of Armand Assante delivering your lines. There are many reasons this movie is awful, but the main reason is that it’s sloppy. Sometimes in a movie continuity is semi-important. If our blazing hot female lead has her long flowing brunette locks willowing in the wind while driving an open air jeep in one scene, chances are we will notice when we cut back to her in the jeep that her hair is in a thick French braid. Or that she was wearing a blue work shirt in one scene only to be sporting a tight white t-shirt in the next. Or that she’s hot but her stunt double is an ugly dude. Or that that she’s looking to the left in the close up and then looking to the right the following two-shot. These things are difficult not to notice.
Most of this movie felt like our filmmakers were making this up as they were going along because the narrative, as it were, was completely ridiculous, however this ridiculousness also had the byproduct of making it somewhat unpredictable. But there are things we have learned if we were ever to make a movie, just by watching this movie. For instance, if you cast Mark Dacascos in your movie, we should have Mr. Dacascos spending more time kicking people in the face and less time sitting on the edges of beds crying like a sissy. When one is cornered with the accusation that he is selling missiles to the enemy, do not confess immediately. This isn’t an episode of Matlock. When shooting a scene featuring a bazooka chasing down a speeding car, it helps the believability of said scene if that speeding car is actually moving. This has been my experience.
Trejo, Assante, Dacascos, Boxleitner, Divoff, Bauer and Sizemore. All in one spot. And while ‘Shadows in Paradise’ is awful, all seven of these legends have been in worse movies. I know, right? I’ll list those as I sign off. Good day and Good night.
Armand Assante – ‘Dead Lenny’ - worse than Shadows in Paradise
Andrew Divoff – ‘Magic Man’ - worse than Shadows in Paradise by far. Assante is in that too.
Steven Bauer – ‘Mutants’ or ‘Dead Lenny’ - worse than Shadows in Paradise
Tom Sizemore – ‘Toxic’ - worse than Shadows in Paradise
Bruce Boxleitner – Oops… this is his worst movie. ‘King of the Lost World’ was bad but…
Danny Trejo – ‘Necessary Evil’ or ‘Toxic’ - worse than Shadows in Paradise
Marc Dacoscos – Were going way back but ‘Double Dragon’ was worse than this. Damn.