A damaged homicide detective (Johnny Messner) must prevent a grieving father from unleashing a “robotic virus” that he believes will destroy the terrorist cell that murdered his son, but at an unimaginable cost.
A great rift has separated the glory days of the VHS era of sci-fi action movies with clunky robots and unending streams of ammunition to the stuff we’re getting now. Back when gloriously pulpy movies like Prototype X29A and APEX were stocking video store shelves, there was something definably special about them. They were shot on film and they had interesting atmospheres, and they amazingly entertained their audience without even flashing an above-the-title name actor at you. While watching the brand new, shot on digital video dreck Weaponized, I longed and yearned for the perfectly palatable and enjoyable days of shot on film sci-fi clunk busters.
Weaponized wants to grab your attention because it’s got a few above-the-title names to sell it: Mickey Rourke has a couple of pitiable scenes, but he adds nothing to the plot and acts like he’s half dead. Johnny Messner, that action guy wannabe who was in several theatrical releases like Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid and Tears of the Sun, has been in some goodness graciously bad movies since then like last year’s 4Got10, which deserves the worst title of any movie since Half Past Dead 2. Genuine action star and martial artist John Foo, who has just taken Jackie Chan’s place in the reboot of Rush Hour is completely and utterly relegated to a lame supporting role as a computer geek in this, and Tom Sizemore probably has the film’s most lines and the best moments, which is saying a lot. If Sizemore is the best thing about a movie, then you might be in some deep water with that movie. The cover box art of the movie features a hulking robot soldier that fills half the poster, and you’re sitting there watching the movie, waiting for the robot guy to show up, and in the last ten minutes of the movie there it comes, but too late, too little.
The plot is vaguely interesting: there’s a host of sleeper agents who’ve been programmed to kill at a moment’s whim when a trigger is flipped, and Messner is a detective on the case of a seemingly random mass shooting. Rourke is a conspiracy-type nut who clues him into the plot, and Sizemore is the man behind the programming and brainwashing. The robot figures into the movie, but since it’s not used until the final moments, it’s a cheat and hardly worth watching the movie for.
As I said, I used to love movies that Weaponized seems to be modeled from. It has faint whispers and echoes of good schlock like Prototype X29A and APEX, but the movie is woefully lackluster, unimaginative, and too lame and boring to recommend to anyone who’s ever enjoyed halfway decent direct-to-video fare. Director Timothy Woodward Jr. (who did Dolph Lundgren’s worst movie 4Got10) has no style or distinction as a filmmaker, and Sean Ryan, who wrote this, clearly has a love of Walker, Texas Ranger, as several characters in this film are named for characters and actors from that show. Now I’ll say something else: If Albert Pyun or Phillip J. Roth had made this movie it would ROCK. Take that to the bank.