Happy Independence Day!
Happy Independence Day!
David Hasselhof appears to be having an existential moment of sorts in this video for his cover version of The Passenger. Of course, since he’s Hasselhoff, it’s still perhaps the most positive existential moment ever.
This is a moody video and I like the atmosphere of doom that it invokes. I would say that it’s actually probably about as effective as any video of the Hoff covering Iggy Pop ever will be.
Uh-oh, Hydra is up to something!
If you don’t know who Hydra is, they’re an international group of villainous superspies. The organization was founded by a Nazi war criminal named Baron Von Strucker and they’re always trying to take over the world or destroy it. Hydra hasn’t had much success on either front but it’s not for lack of trying. Fortunately, there’s another super secret organization that’s been founded to keep Hydra from reaching their goals. The name of this organization is S.H.I.E.L.D. and they are headquartered in a big flying helicarrier thing. So, if you work for S.H.I.E.L.D., you not only get to save the world but you also have a hell of a work commute.
Anyway, Hydra’s latest plan is to steal the body of their founder and somehow not only bring him back to life but to also spread a deadly virus across the world. S.H.I.E.L.D. knows that it’s going to take the world’s greatest secret agent to defeat this plot but, unfortunately, Nick Fury (David Hasselhoff) is retired and living in an abandoned mine shaft in the Yukon. Nick wears an eye patch, smokes a cigar, and speaks in a permanently annoyed tone of voice. Nick’s done with saving the world. Or, at least, that’s what he thinks. When S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Lina Rinna) informs him that Hydra killed an old friend of his while stealing the Baron’s body, Nick emerges from the Yukon in search of revenge!
Long before Samuel L. Jackson donned the iconic eye patch and brought Nick Fury to life as one of the mainstays of the MCU, David Hasselhoff played the character in this made-for-TV movie from 1998. The movie was meant to serve as the pilot for a Nick Fury television series. (Hasselhoff, by this point, was looking to move on from Baywatch.) Of course, it wasn’t picked up and today, whenever this early Marvel film is mentioned, it’s usually in a somewhat dismissive manner.
And, believe me, I can understand that instinct to preemptively dismiss Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I mean, it’s David Hasselhoff and its from the 90s and it was made for TV. I get it. But, having watched the movie on Saturday night, I have to say that it’s actually not that bad. It’s low budget. It’s campy. It’s thoroughly silly. The film is full of actors giving uncertain line readings. And yet, it’s also fast-paced and, when taken on its own admittedly “special” terms, rather entertaining. In the role of Nick Fury, Hasselhoff plays the role with just enough self-awareness to indicate that he’s in on the joke. He delivers his lines with just the right amount of deadpan humor and he chews on that cigar as if the fate of the world depends upon it. In short, as opposed to almost everyone else in the film, Hasselhoff appears to be having a good time. In fact, one could argue that David Hasselhoff is a good Nick Fury for the same reason that Samuel L. Jackson is a good Nick Fury. Both of them play the character as if he’s someone who secretly realizes that he’s a character in a comic book film and who is determined to have as much fun with the role as he can.
The film’s plot does occasionally border on being incoherent but, honestly, who cares? Are you really watching a film like this for the plot? There’s a lot of explosions and one-liners. Hasselhoff has fun with the lead role, as does Sandra Hess in the role of Strucker’s daughter. It’s a dumb but entertaining. It’s also only 90 minutes long so it’s not like you’re having to sacrifice a major part of your life to watch it. Explosions and a short running time, who can complain about that?
Jake Gorsky is a tough New York cop who flies a helicopter and who gets results …. HIS WAY! He’s also played by David Hasselhoff and, as a result, you never look at him and really buy the idea that he’s a tough New York cop who gets results …. HIS WAY! Instead, you just assume that he’s the Hoff, cheerfully making his way through yet another silly made-for-TV movie.
In Gridlock, criminals have blown up all of the bridges leading out of Manhattan! The entire borough is gridlocked! Why would they do this? Are they hoping to make a quasi-philosophical statement, like Bane in The Dark Knight Rises? No, of course not. (That, to be honest, didn’t even make sense when Bane did it.) Instead, it’s all a part of a plot to rob the Federal Reserve. How are they going to escape if they’ve blown up all the bridges out of town? That question is never really answered, or if it was, I was too blinded by the Hoffness of it all to notice. I assume that Mr. One (Miguel Ferandes) and Mr. Two (Gotz Otto) have a plan. I assume that there’s also a reason why almost all of the bad guys are bald. For that matter, many members of the police are bald as well. You know who isn’t bald? The Hoff.
Anyway, it turns out that the Hoff’s girlfriend, Michelle (Kathy Ireland), works in the Federal Reserve. She gives tours to tourists who presumably flock to New York to see “where they keep all the money.” Michelle is trapped in the building while the robbery is taking place. It’s up to the Hoff to sneak into the building, rescue Michelle, and prevent the robbery. This leads to a scene where the Hoff uses two bags of nickels to take out some henchmen. Woo hoo!
Of course, while watching this film, you have to wonder how the crooks possibly thought they could get away with robbing the Federal Reserve. I mean, let’s just ignore the fact that they blew up all the bridges out of town. How are you going to launder that much money? We’ve all seen Breaking Bad. We all know Walter White ended up with a pile of money that he essentially could never touch. It’s hard not to feel that it would have been smarter for these crooks to just rob an ordinary bank. It also seems like there should have been a simpler way to commit their crimes than to blow up every bridge in Manhattan. How can these criminals be so smart and so dumb at the same time?
That said, you’re not really watching a film like this for the criminals or even the plot. You’re watching it because it features David Hasselhoff doing his thing. I wouldn’t exactly describe David Hasselhoff as being an actor with a particularly wide range but, when it comes to projecting an odd combination of earnest sincerity and mocking self-awareness, it’s hard to think of anyone who does it better. Much like William Shatner, the Hoff always leaves you wondering whether or not he’s actually in on the joke. Did David Hasselhoff realize he was appearing in a silly Die Hard rip-off (“Die Hard in an office building …. wait a minute, that’s just Die Hard!”) or did he earnestly call his agent and say, “Baywatch isn’t challenging anymore. I want to play a copy who doesn’t always follow the rules!” One gets the feeling that both possibilities are true.
Anyway, Gridlock is a made-for-TV movie from the 90s, which means no blood and no cursing. A lot of guns are fired but hardly anyone gets shot. I’ll give it a 6 out of 10, just for the Hasselhoff of it all.
Earlier tonight, I watched the 1995 film Baywatch The Movie: Forbidden Paradise.
Why Was I Watching It?
The H&I network has been airing Baywatch every weekday at 5 and 6. I’ve been watching because the pure, unapologetic silliness of the show is a good way to unwind from whatever stress or annoyance I may have had to deal with during the day. Today, they aired Forbidden Paradise, which was originally released theatrically in Europe and straight-to-video in the United States. (To quote John Redcorn, “We are already straight-to-video. There is nowhere else left to go.”) A few months after its theatrical release, Forbidden Paradise was broadcast as a two-part episode of Baywatch, even though it featured characters who had since left the show. I imagine that was a bit confusing for some viewers.
(Or maybe it wasn’t. I doubt the majority Baywatch’s audience was particularly concerned with continuity.)
What Was It About?
The Baywatch team goes to Hawaii! Well, not all of them. Actually, it’s just Mitch (David Hasselhoff), CJ (Pamela Anderson), Stephanie (Alexandra Paul), Caroline (Yasmine Bleeth), Logan (Jaason Simmons), and Matt (David Charvet). They’re supposed to be taking part in a lifeguard exchange program but, as usual, it turns out that Stephanie is the only one who actually gives a damn about doing her job.
Instead, CJ considered whether or not she wants to model for a dorky photographer. Logan becomes obsessed with winning a surfing competition while Caroline obsesses on why Logan is always obsessing on stuff. Mitch and Matt end up getting lost in the jungle and briefly taken prisoner by a bunch of native villagers. It all leads to a chase through the jungle and an engagement on the beach. Stephanie helps that Hawaiian lifeguards save someone from drowning. At least Stephanie takes her job seriously.
Baywatch The Movie: Forbidden Paradise was actually filmed on location in Hawaii so the scenery was gorgeous. It was also apparently shot in approximately the same location as Lost so, whenever I got bored with the plot, I could think about Sawyer and the Others. This was especially true while David Hasselhoff and David Charvet were being chased through the jungle by all of the angry villagers. I felt like the Smoke Monster was going to pop out at any moment.
As with anything involving Baywatch, it could be argued that the whole film was so ludicrous that it worked as a self-parody. I’m certainly tempted to make that argument but I’m not really sure if any of the self-parody was intentional. That’s the great mystery when it comes to Baywatch.
What Did Not Work?
If you consider this movie to be a self-aware parody, than it all worked.
If you consider it to be an actual movie, with a plot and characters that you’re supposed to care about and interesting dialogue, than none of it worked. I mean, it’s Baywatch. It’s the adult version of Saved By The Bell. It’s entertainingly shallow but it’s never exactly good.
Probably the film’s biggest flaw is that the pacing is totally off. It seems to take forever for the film’s plot to actually get started and then, once it does, it keeps going off on these strange detours. For some reason, a lot of screen time is devoted to a model named Holly (Hedi Mark) and a remarkably unlucky photographer named Carlton Edwards (Ricky Dean Logan).
Myself, I was disappointed that David Chokachi (who played Cody, the lifeguard best-known for wearing a speedo in the opening credits) wasn’t even in the film.
“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments
I’ve been to Hawaii! Seriously, I had a great time and I look forward to returning soon.
I refuse to learn anything from Baywatch.
For tonight’s journey into the world of televised horror, we present to you the last ever episode of Baywatch Nights. In this episode, David Hasselhoff and Angie Harmon investigate a haunted restraunt. Then Angie disappears and the Hoff has to rescue her!
I have to say that Baywatch Nights was a silly show but I kind of liked it. I mean, you’ve got David Hasselhoff doing the full Hoff in every episode and I think that he and Angie Harmon had kind of a fun chemistry. I’m kind of sad that this is the last episode. Tomorrow, we’ll start a new show. Hopefully, I can find one. YouTube is so weird nowadays.
But, anyway, here’s the final episode of Baywatch Nights!
On tonight’s horror on TV, we present the next-to-last episode of Baywatch Nights. In this episode, David Hasselhoff and Angie Harmon visit a Native American fortune teller (Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman) and end up entering a vortex that sends them into the future. They then watch as their future selves investigate something weird that happened on a ship that’s just arrived from the Amazon.
This is a very weird episode and it originally aired on May 9th. 1997.
On tonight’s episode of Baywatch Nights, the wind is making people in California go insane! Could it because the wind is hot and annoying? Or is it that there’s a Satanist doing something evil out in the desert?
Don’t worry, California! David Hasselhoff and Angie Harmon are on the case!
This episode originally aired on May 3rd, 1997.
The 17th episode of Baywatch Nights was called The Servant and it featured Mitch and Ryan fighting a mummy! Unfortunately, it’s also one of the few episodes to not be available on YouTube, or at least not in watchable form. (There’s a sped-up version where the image is so oddly cropped that it’s basically unwatchable but that’s about it.)
So, we’ll have to skip The Servant and instead move onto Symbol of Death which features an apparent alien abduction. If nothing else, this episode shows what a debt Baywatch Nights owed to The X-Files.
This episode originally aired on April 19th, 1997!