After an overseas U.S. army base is bombed by terrorists, L.A. Times reporter Mike Anderson (Dolph Lundgren) is sent to Israel to get the story. Before he became a reporter, Mike was a Marine and he has connections within the U.S. intelligence services. Mike quickly figures out that CIA honcho Lou Jackson (Lou Gossett, Jr.) is covering something up about the bombing. The terrorists who bombed the base have also stolen an experimental nerve gas. Mike is ordered to stay out of the investigation but after Mike’s best friend, Jeff Cooper (John Finn), is blown up by a car bomb, Mike is determined to get justice. He’s also determined to sleep with his dead best friend’s girlfriend (Lisa Berkley), who is also Mike’s ex. It turns out that it’s a lot easier to betray a friend’s confidence than to stop terrorists from stealing nerve gas.
When it came to the second-tier action stars of the 90s, Jean-Claude Van Damme was the one who could actually do everything that he did on screen in real life, Steven Seagal was the one who never seemed to get the joke, and Dolph Lundgren was the one who could actually act. Even in a film that was pure schlock, like Cover-Up, Lundgren usually gave a good performance. Unfortunately, Lundgren’s performance couldn’t make up for Cover-Up‘s anemic action scenes and incoherent plot. No one seems to be sure what they’re supposed to be doing in this movie. Lou Gossett, Jr. survives by playing his role as being pissed off all the time. Lundgren survives by playing Mike as being even more confused than Gossett. There’s a weak car chase and a weak shower scene. Mike really doesn’t waste any time when it comes to hooking up with his best friend’s girl.
Cover-Up was filmed on location in Israel and it does work as a travelogue. Towards the end of the film, Lundgren runs through a mass of people who are reenacting the Twelve Stations of Christ. The people were actually in Israel to celebrate Easter and no one informed them that they were about to become a part of a movie. When Lundgren comes barreling through the crowd, their shock is authentic. It’s the best part of the movie, even if it did lead to Lundgren being temporarily detained by security. Fortunately, production was able to clear-up the misunderstanding and Lundgren was freed so that he could go on to star in Universal Soldier and reprise Ivan Drago in Creed II. I’m glad the Lundgren survived filming but Cover-Up is otherwise forgettable.