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Death Squad

89 minutes
action, sci-fi, thriller

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This entry created 23 April 2021. Last revised on 23 April 2021.

1,483 hits since 23 Apr 2021
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Death Squad

Rating: gold star gold star gold star no star no star no star no star no star no star no star (3.00)

You know it's bad when they've changed the name; this was originally titled 2047: Sights of Death (which at least told us how far in the future it's set...).

Looking at the DVD cover, you might think this is an Expendables clone – Danny Glover, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, Michael Madsen and Stephen Baldwin lined up together, above the title Death Squad. Which would be also kind of repugnant, if the heroes were part of a death squad! But no, it's not that kind of movie…

The movie starts with a montage of disaster scenes, while Sponge (played by Danny Glover) mumbles some kind of history lesson from his handwritten journal. Somehow, Wikileaks and Wikipedia have led to a terrible future world.

Next, we've got a confusing scene of three helicopters, then suddenly there's fighting, and Ryan Wilburn (played by Stephen Baldwin) is in the wreckage with a rotor blade that should have decapitated him. He bravely staples his wounds together, takes a pain shot, and goes off on his mission in the contaminated zone.

Apparently, Sponge is the leader of Green War, an underground movement trying to overthrow the Confederacy. Sponge spends the entire movie in a dingy apartment with a computer. The Confederacy must be evil because, well, it's called the Confederacy! (But apparently, not racist, as some of its troops are black. Go figure.)

And Wilburn is a Green War agent. With a helicopter. And a rank. And a uniform. Crazy way to run a rebellion.

So we find out that Wilburn is after a memory chip on a Confederation satellite which Green War overrode and then crashed into a ruined, radioactive city. Fortunately, he's got meds for the radiation. Despite the lethal radiation levels, he's unsurprized to find, fight, and then team up with Tuag (played by Neva Leoni), some kind of mute warrior woman of the radioactive wastes. Together, they find a heap of bodies – evidence of a recent Confederation atrocity!

Tuag leads Wilburn to a recently abandoned Confederation base (who knew they were still using reel-to-reel computer tapes in 2047!). Seeking revenge on behalf of Sponge, whose family was killed by the Confederation, and who is like a father to Wilburn, Wilburn knowingly sends out a transmission in a broken code, hoping the infamous Confederation death squad and its leader, Colonel Asimov (played by Rutger Hauer in his final role), will come to battle.

That basically sets up the rest of the movie: Asimov wants the satellite chip, Wilburn wants Asimov dead, and Asimov wants no witnesses of his atrocity.

Colonel Asimov must be close at hand, as he moves from his government headquarters to the radioactive zone seemingly in hours, in trucks! Coming along are soldiers and medical personnel, including his by-the-rules protogee, Major Anderson (played by Daryl Hannah), who is supposedly the daughter of Colonel Asimov's old war buddy, and somehow hasn't noticed she's part of a death squad! (In fact, it's never clear if Colonel Asimov is a rogue agent or acting under orders from the Confederacy!)

Colonel Asimov also calls in help from Lobo (played by Michael Madsen), a mercenary leader and former Green War member. Lobo is the kind of guy who has a prostitute give him oral sex, then shoots her because she might know his secrets. Apparently, that's supposed to be funny.

So now the fighting begins. Will Wilburn find and keep the chip? Will Asimov fall into Wilburn's trap? Whose side is Lobo really on? What will Major Anderson do if she learns the truth about Colonel Asimov?

Meanwhile, it turns out that this zone is also contaminated with toxic materials that cause hallucinations. Soldiers see monsters. Wilburn has psychedelic dreams. People that get shot in the head don't stay dead. Is any of this real?

The special effects are adequate for the movie, except for the lame way Tuag first attacks Wilburn (obviously just speeded up).

This movie has an appallingly bad plot, matched by really bad taste. None of it makes sense. The only redeeming quality is that the actors are having fun with it. Rutger Hauer in particular is a hoot, and Michael Madsen is a wiseguy. Stephen Baldwin is doggedly heroic, Daryl Hannah is vulnerable but tough, and even the minor roles are played well (with the exception of Danny Glover, given nothing to do but mumble on the radio for the entire movie).

Can you game it? Bad movies make good games. You could easily have a campaign with three factions fighting over the computer chip: the Confederate death squad, the Green War agent, and the mercenaries. Throw in rules for radiation and toxin-inspired delusions.

Note that, due to the violence, sex and bad language, this is not suitable for younger viewers.

The DVD I viewed including a 'making of' feature. It was depressing to see the effort put into this turkey.

Don't see this mess of a movie unless you enjoy bad movies, or want to see Rutger Hauer ham it up. Sad to see so much acting talent wasted.