I’ve always enjoyed watching Lorenzo Lamas in action movies; you know exactly what you’re in for and he never takes things all that serious. The perfect example is the Snake Eater Trilogy.
In these movies Lamas plays a man known as “Soldier” who used to be part of an elite squad of U.S. Marines but now he’s an embittered cop who refuses to heed the rules, which soon gets him booted from the force. This paves the way for the first movie.
Snake Eater (1989)
The plot for the first Snake Eater is about a group of particularly nasty rednecks who kill Soldier’s parents and abduct his sister (Josie Bell) while they’re vacationing in the woods. Unfortunately for the foolish rednecks, Soldier’s elite squad specialized in search-and-destroy missions — and now he will search and destroy once more as he sets out to free his sister.
As I said above Lamas never takes these movies too seriously and neither should we as the viewer; he looks like he is trying not to laugh for the most part as he obviously knows they are ridiculous, so just enjoy them for what they are. There are plenty of one-liners, a humorous bar fight and Soldier is a master of booby traps.
The attack on Soldier’s parent’s boat is prolonged and surprisingly intense considering the lighter tone for the majority of the movie but it’s arguably the best scene. Robert Scott is a nasty piece of work as the lead redneck Junior and you are basically sitting there waiting for him to get his comeuppance… which is awesome, I might add.
The acting from the supporting cast is pretty bad especially one of the cops in the opening scene who is unbelievably annoying. It also looks like it has a budget of $2.50 but that’s part of the charm.
The finale has Soldier suiting up Commando style and going to kick redneck ass which isn’t quite as spectacular as it sounds but it’s still a lot of fun.
Overall, Snake Eater isn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination but Lorenzo Lamas’ sheer likability makes it watchable.
Snake Eater II: The Drug Buster (1989)
This sequel has Soldier committed to a mental institution for some reason that doesn’t matter; he breaks out to go after some drug-dealing gangsters who are selling contaminated product that is killing people.
Snake Eater II is also a bit shit to be honest and the pacing really sucks making it easily the weakest of the series; far too much time is spent in the mental institution but on the plus side we do get a wheelchair fight which is worth the price of entry alone. Once again it all looks very cheap and the acting is pretty rotten but Lamas’ charisma saves the day.
This has one of the best pre-battle speeches of all time however, before our two wheelchair gladiators go to war a preacher gives words of motivation and prayer which rapidly descends into why breasts are awesome. He then gets struck by lightning making this arguably the greatest movie since The Godfather.
It isn’t until the finale that there is more completely unexciting action as Soldier and his new buddy Speedboat sneak out to take down some drug lords. If you’re hoping for more one man army goodness then you won’t find any here. It’s just more unfunny humour and a real lack of anything resembling excitement.
So wheelchair fight and speech aside Snake Eater 2 is pretty bad and not one I can recommend.
Snake Eater III: His Law (1992)
Now you’re talking! It’s a rare occasion that the third movie in a series is the best but that is the case with Snake Eater III; in this third and final entry of the franchise Soldier is on the hunt for some bikers who kidnapped and raped a young girl.
This entry actually has plenty of action with a few bar fights and now Soldier finally has some moves and a badass buddy called Cowboy (Minor Mustain) who helps him take out the trash.
It’s the best paced of all three movies never going long without someone getting a beating. It still has some of Lamas’ trademark humour too but this is a more serious entry with the bikers being a particularly nasty bunch of villains.
Scott ‘Bam Bam’ Bigelow is entertaining as the huge biker Goose and when he blows someone away with a shotgun it was one of the most shocking scenes in the movie.
This also has a bigger budget so the action scenes are the best of the series; we even get an explosion at the end after our heroes have saved the day and committed mass murder.
Overall, Snake Eater III is the best of a flawed trilogy but if you love B movie cheese then pick them up if you can find them.