When the wife and the daughter of John North (Brian “The Boz” Bosworth) are gunned down by a mysterious gunman (Jeff Kober), North refuses to accept that they were just the victims of a robbery gone wrong. Working with a tough street kid (DeJuan Guy) who needs a mentor to show him that violence is not the solution to all of the world’s problem, North sets out to discover the truth and get revenge in the most violent ways possible. What North discovers is that the gunman who killed his family works for a corrupt FBI agent named Karl Slavak (Bruce Payne) and that Slavak is selling guns to a drug lord named Dexter Kane (played by … wait for it … MC HAMMER!)
You would think that any movie featuring M.C. Hammer as a drug lord would be worth seeing but the man who brainwashed a generation into making “U Can’t Touch This” jokes is actually pretty forgettable as Dexter. This movie was made when Hammer had dropped the M.C. from his name and he was trying to reinvent himself as a harder-edged rapper. That reinvention didn’t work because there’s absolutely nothing edgy about M.C. Hammer (much like Will Smith, he was the rapper whose music wouldn’t cause your parents to have an aneurysm) and One Tough Bastard proves it.
Instead, One Tough Bastard is worth seeing because of the epic meeting between two action stars who epitomized everything great about straight-to-video movies in the 90s, Brian Bosworth and Bruce Payne! The Boz may have been a bust as a football player but he was a good action star, delivering one-liners and viscous beat downs with aplomb and, unlike some action stars (*cough* Seagal *cough*), he could play the dramatic scenes without embarrassing himself. With his long hair and his nosering, Bruce Payne may be an unlikely FBI agent but he’s a great villain and he has no fear of shouting almost all of his dialogue. Add in Jeff Kober and you’ve got a dumb but fun movie that’s enlivened by three actors who know how to be convincingly tough on camera.
One Tough Bastard lives up to the promise of its title.