Cinemax Friday: Blast (1997, directed by Albert Pyun)


Blast opens with a title card telling us that what we’re about to see is based on a true story except that it’s not.  In the days leading up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the FBI thwarted many potential terrorist plots.  Only one of the plots was a domestic terror plot.  Blast is the story of what would have happened if that plot had not been disrupted.

(What about Eric Rudolph and the Olympic Park bombing?  That’s not mentioned, probably because this film went into production before the Atlanta Olympics actually began.)

Omodo (Andrew Divoff of Wishmaster fame) is a terrorist who does evil things because he’s evil.  He and his group have taken the American Olympic swim team and their coach, Diane Colton (Kimberly Warren), hostage in an Atlanta gym.  They’re demanding money and an opportunity to escape.  The police (led by Tim Thomerson) don’t know what to do.  The FBI (represented by Rutger Hauer with braided hair) are not much help either.  Fortunately, the gym’s janitor, Jack Bryant (Linden Ashby), is a former Olympic gymnast who is a master of Tae Kwon Do!  Jack also happens to be Diane’s ex-husband!

Blast comes from us the time when every action movie was a blatant rip-off of Die Hard and we were all cool with that because Die Hard was so awesome that it deserved to be remade a thousand times.  Blast is more of the usual.  Jack sneaks around the facility, defuses bombs, and picks the terrorists off.  Omodo kills two hostages in cold blood.  Shannon Elizabeth of American Pie fame plays one of the hostages but she doesn’t get many lines beyond, “Help us!”  Why does Rutger Hauer have his hair in braids?  Because he was Rutger Hauer and everyone was probably so happy to have him on set for a few hours that they were willing to let him do whatever he wanted to do with his hair.  Rutger Hauer only gets about five minutes of screentime but he makes the most of them.

Lindsen Ashby is convincing in the fight scenes but I think the movie would have been better if he had just been an ordinary janitor, instead of a Tae Kwon Do supstar who has fallen on hard times.  That would have added some suspense to the story because, as it is, Jack is so obviously superior to his opponents that there’s never really any question as to whether or not he’s going to succeed.  Andrew Divoff is a good actor but his villain isn’t given any good lines and the people working for him are all pretty bland.  One of the best things about the first three Die Hard films was that the villains were just as interesting as the hero but the same cannot be said for Blast.

Blast is forgettable but still, five minutes of Rutger Hauer is better than no Rutger Hauer at all.

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