Let’s kickoff a Rutger Hauer retrospective. Not that the flying Dutchman is dead or anything, still working steady at the tender age of sixty seven as of this writing, but this is a cat that during the late eighties and the mid nineties made a bunch of obscure, borderline coma inducing movies after setting the world on fire as Wulfgar in ‘Nighthawks’ and of course ‘Roy Batty’ in ‘Blade Runner’. Nothing but love for Roy Batty and all but Rutger will always be Wulfgar to me. So the plan is to track down the Rutger Hauer filmography during this time period, a task that will not be an easy one because between 1985 and say 1997 Hauer is listed as making somewhere around forty movies with very few of these movies actually turning out to be any good, and we will try to watch one a week. Today’s movie in 1991’s ‘Wedlock’. Yes my friends… this will indeed be a challenge.
This film opens by informing us that it takes place ‘Sometime In The Future’. This Future they speak of could very well be tomorrow or more than likely a half hour from now considering there is absolutely nothing futuristic in this movie. If anything it’s retro considering the police drive Ford Taurus automobiles from 1986 in this 1991 movie.
So say hello to jewel thieves Frank (Hauer), his girl Noelle (Joan Chen) and best friend Sam (James Remar). Not a bad trio of old school actors at all. They pull a heist, Sam The Hothead screws up, a spirited chase involving 1986 Ford Taurus Automobiles ensues, Frank gets away, meets up with his people and the double cross is on.
Fast forwarding a bit Frank is now sporting three bullet holes in his chest and is a fresh resident of Camp Holiday, a brand new experimental prison encampment with no fences and very few guards. As Warden Holiday (Stephen Toblowsky) informs us these things aren’t needed at Camp Holiday because of the Wedlock Collar. Each collar is mated to another unknown inmate and if you and this inmate are separated by 100 yards then your collar explodes blowing both of your heads clean off. And since you don’t know who your partner is, it’s best just to stay in close proximity to everybody. Makes sense to me.
Frank has some problems however with this twelve year stretch he’s about to pull. Apparently Frank hid the diamonds before his partners double crossed him and Warden Holiday wants these diamonds, determined to make Frank’s prison stay a living hell until he gets these diamonds. More pressing is that Frank has fallen out of favor with prison trustee Emerald played with overacting glee by Basil Wallace.
Fortunately for Frank inmate Tracy (Mimi Rogers) has a plan. Somehow she’s found out that she and Frank are wedlock partners and during a prison shank-fest they make a break for it. Naturally these two Wild One’s don’t get along all that well on their little road trip but they will come around to one another and love will bloom. As it turns out the Warden, Noelle and Sam are in cahoots with one another and are controlling this little trip of theirs hoping it will lead them to the twenty five million in diamonds. Bickering, more double crosses and eventually love will ensue.
Let’s see… what can we say that was good about this movie. Danny Trejo was in this movie as a much younger man, playing the same role he usually plays of course, but with a lot less fanfare. He gets shanked early on. Thus we can see the progression of a career for in 1991 Danny Trejo get’s shanked but in 2011 Danny Trejo does the shanking. I also enjoyed how the filmmakers attempted to force upon us that the decidedly effeminate character of Emerald, with his long diamond earring tight ass jeans and his tendency to sashay, was a badass. I would’ve been plenty intimidated by Emerald if I was in prison with him, but not because I thought he would beat me up. Also Grand L. Bush was in this movie. If you don’t know who he is I can’t help you but if you watched action flicks in the 80’s and 90’s you could always count on a Grand L. Bush or an Al Leong sighting for any scene requiring a stock African American or Asian American bad guy. In this movie however Grand L. was a hick brew master. Go figure.
That’s about if for anything good in this rather dull paced ‘futuristic’ movie. This is around the time when Rutger Hauer signed on to any project in which the check cleared. Ten years prior Rutger Hauer looked like a track star running through the streets on New York City in ‘Night Hawks’ while abusing Sly and Billy Dee. In this movie Rutger looked as if the only running he was interested in doing was to the nearest deli counter. There was a scene requiring a lot of running but they made Mimi do that. while Rutger rode all comfy on a bus. On top of being extremely irritating in this movie, Joan Chen was oddly not hot in this movie. How director Lewis Teague made that happen is a mystery because Joan Chen today is like fifty and still hot. Mimi wasn’t all that hot either in this movie and we saw ‘The Mighty Quinn’ so we know Mimi was pretty damned hot back in the day. We can understand why ‘Wedlock’ isn’t as well received as other ‘sci-fi’ themed movies from the early 90’s. Futuristic. Now that’s funny.
Next on the Rutger Hauer retrospective list is the 1996 classic ‘Omega Doom’ as crafted by one Albert Pyun. Wish me luck.