Monday, 3 February 2014

Nick Fury - Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D (1998)

Saturday afternoon television lives again in the form of this pilot for a show that never was. Even if you’re as unfamiliar as I am with the Marvel universe from which Mr Fury apparently hails, that shouldn’t stop you having a good time with this, a film that feels like a (slightly) updated version of an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, or any number of similarly themed SF TV programmes from the 1970s.
A post KNIGHT RIDER, mid-BAYWATCH, pre-PIRANHA 3DD David Hasselhoff stars as eyepatch-wearing Nick, forced into retirement at the end of the Cold War. When the body of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker “last of the great global boogeymen” is stolen from a cryogenics facility, government representatives track Nick down to the disused mine in the Yukon where he spends his days merrily swinging his pickaxe, presumably as some sort of anger management therapy. It doesn’t seem to have worked, however, and neither has whatever treatment he may have received to reduce his ability to deliver appalling double entendres. At least I hope they’re double entendres, but with the quality of script writing (by David Goyer, of MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN BEGINS and DEMONIC TOYS no less) it’s actually quite difficult to tell.
It turns out the Baron’s body has been stolen by H.Y.D.R.A, a terrorist organisation currently led by von Strucker’s daughter Andrea, known to her friends as Viper (Sandra Hess in deliciously manic form). Viper wears the kind of over the top outfits we’ve not seen since the heyday of Jacqueline Pearce’s Servalan from BLAKE’S 7. She cackles away as she goes about her mad plan to destroy Manhattan with a virus called Death’s Head that “makes Ebola look like a case of the sniffles”. 
Will Nick be able to stop her in time? Will he get back together with former lover and rather heavily made up colleague Valentine de Allegro Fontaine (Lisa Rinna)? Will he give his pesky bureaucrat boss a punch in the face at the end? Should he be allowed to fly a plane when everyone knows Nick has been infected with the Kiss of Death from a Columbian tree frog? 
NICK FURY - AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D is actually a lot of silly fun. Director Rod Hardy will be best known to horror fans for the 1979 Australian pic THIRST, and he keeps things moving at such a clip that even children with short attention spans would find it hard to be bored by this. Hasselhoff camps it up in all the right ways, and even manages to pull off some of the more hilariously ridiculous dialogue with something approaching aplomb. I can’t honestly say I’ve heard of anyone else in the cast, although a quick trawl of the relevant websites reveals they’re all experienced TV actors.
101 Films presents the film on DVD in its original TV aspect ratio of 1.33:1. There are no extras. The running time claims to be 120 minutes but it actually just touches on 90. NICK FURY - AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D was far more entertaining than I was expecting - an excellent timewaster for those who yearn for the halcyon days of comic book-style American television.

101 Films released NICK FURY - AGENT OF S.H.E.I.L.D. on DVD on 27th January 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment