Looking Back at Deadly Heroes (1993)

Plot: Ex-Navy SEAL Brad Cartowski is injured during an attack at Athens airport by terrorists who kidnap his wife and fly her on a hijacked plane to North Africa. Cartowski goes in pursuit, aided by another ex-SEAL, Cody Grant. Cartowski soon finds the terrorists’ hide-out but is captured and electro-tortured before he manages to escape. He soon returns with reinforcements to rescue his wife and to wreak vengeance on Carlos, head of the terrorist ring.

Directed by Menahem Golan, Deadly Heroes stars Michael Paré and Jan Michael Vincent with the always excellent Billy Drago stealing the movie as the despicable villain Jose Maria Carlos.

Any movie that opens with a group of terrorists using guns that look like water pistols is sure to be of the highest quality and Deadly Heroes doesn’t disappoint. Our hero Brad Cartowski (Paré) is at Athens airport with his wife and son when terrorists attack and kidnap Brad’s wife Marcy (Claudette Mink). They hold her and several others hostage until their leader Carlos (Billy Drago) is released  and then they fly off to another country.

During the stand off Brad is injured where he is shot in the legs and shoulder and yet he seems to heal within a short period of time. He vows to bring back his wife and teams up with his old military buddy Cody Grant (Jan Michael Vincent) and the pair fly off to save the day. Everything doesn’t go as planned and Brad ends up getting captured but he ends up eventually getting rescued by Marcy (which is a nice touch) and it all leads to an explosive finale at Carlos’ compound.

The story goes in some different directions and isn’t your typical predictable actioner. The good guys still win at the end but both Brad and Marcy suffer a lot. Brad is tortured while Marcy is raped by Carlos so this is a villain we utterly despise. This is one of my favourite and underappreciated Billy Drago villains as he is so creepy the way he leches over Marcy. You can also have a drinking game where you take a shot every time he mentions a letter he is writing for the President of the United States.

Brad and Cody are true blue heroes with both actors appealing in their roles so we are rooting for them all the way and frankly Carlos deserves a far worse comeuppance than he receives. I love how utterly stupid most of Carlos’ men are; they never seem to notice anything going on right beside them where it’s almost comedic how useless they are.

There isn’t that much action in the first half but we get an awesome car chase and it still bums me out that the taxi driver gets killed; he was just trying to help after all. The final 25 minutes has our boys going into the compound and taking out the trash and seeing the various henchmen getting their dues is thoroughly satisfying.

Overall, Deadly Heroes is a fun old-school actioner with Jan Michael Vincent and Michael Paré making for an appealing duo with Billy Drago at his hateful best. There isn’t much in the way of action for the first half but it’s still surprisingly tense and the sheer stupidity of so many of Carlos’ men is entertainment in itself.