The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 11.26.12 Issue #235: CIA II: Target Alexa (1993)
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #235: CIA II: Target Alexa (1993)
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that hopes you had a good Thanksgiving and ate too much, got sick, and then ate some more simply because you could, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and thirty-five, I take a look at the second and final Alexa movie, 1993’s CIA II: Target Alexa, directed by and starring Lorenzo Lamas.
CIA II: Target Alexa (1993)
Last issue I reviewed the first Alexa movie, CIA Codename: Alexa. This issue, I’ve decided to finish off the Alexa franchise with a look at the second and final (so far) Alexa flick, CIA II: Target Alexa (according to imdb this movie is known as CIA Codename: Viper in Germany, which makes absolutely no sense since no one in the movie is named, in any way, Viper). Directed by and starring Lorenzo Lamas, it once again features Kathleen Kinmont as Alexa, a master assassin and mercenary just trying to live a life of peace and tranquility. Alexa is retired from the business now, managing a horse farm and training horses in the American heartland while raising her daughter Tanya (Sandee Van Dyke). After stopping a ridiculous grocery store robbery using deadly force, Alexa is arrested and charged with murder. Her arrest triggers some sort of CIA alert, and her old partner/handler/boyfriend Mark Graver (Lamas) is sent to bail her out/offer her a job.
Offer her a job? Isn’t she retired? Yes, but because she’s not really a citizen anymore, she’s an illegal alien and has no rights. If she’s sent to prison for murder she’ll lose custody of Tanya and then be deported somewhere. Alexa clearly doesn’t want that. But she also doesn’t want to admit to working for the CIA anymore. However, acknowledging her CIA employment is the only way she can get out of her present predicament. So she admits to being an employee of the CIA and agrees to, once again, work for the agency one last time.
And what does Alexa need to do? She needs to infiltrate the desert headquarters of Franz Kluge (John Savage), a terrorist mercenary for hire that recently attacked the CIA HQ in Los Angeles and killed a bunch of CIA scientists for some reason. Alexa has serious history with Kluge (he’s apparently Tanya’s father), and if she can get inside and talk with Kluge, maybe she can find out what the heck he’s up to. Is Kluge in cahoots with Ralph Straker (John Ryan), another notorious terrorist mercenary who we saw trash a different CIA HQ in Los Angeles at the beginning of the movie and steal a super secret missile guidance weapon thing?
Target Alexa definitely looks and feels like a direct continuation of Codename: Alexa. However, Target Alexa is much more complicated and confusing than Codename. We never find out what precisely is going on with the missile guidance weapon thing until the last quarter of the movie, and the way Alexa is brought back into the CIA is freaking ridiculous (a strong arm robbery in the town general store comes off as spectacularly implausible, especially considering the place doesn’t look like it takes much money in in the first place. Why wouldn’t the bad guys rob the town bank instead? Wouldn’t that make a little more sense?). The movie starts to pick up when Alexa meets Savage’s Kluge and there’s a real question of whether or not Alexa still has feelings for him. There’s also some intrigue involving what Straker is really up to when he meets up with Colonel Trang (Michael Chong), a representative of North Korea that really, really, really wants that missile guidance thing.
The opening action scene, where Straker attacks the other CIA base, is quite good, but the action scene that ends the middle of the movie, where all three major groups attack one another and all hell breaks loose, is the flick’s show stopper scene. People get shot, things explode, things explode and people get shot in slow motion, etc. Kluge actually manages to escape serious harm during a helicopter attack by walking, in slow motion, right at the helicopter’s machine gun fire (it’s one of the weirdest scenes you’re likely to see in any action movie ever. You’re going to have to rewind the scene a few times to see exactly what Kluge is doing). The final quarter of the movie is a bit of a letdown, mostly because we find out that the battle between terrorist mercenary teams that just took up over half the movie isn’t as interesting as we, or the movie, originally thought. I will commend Lamas for populating the final scenes with scores of hot babes in bikinis, though. You just don’t see enough of that kind of thing in the low budget action movie world.
Lamas does his usual good job as Graver. He kicks butt when he has to, emotes when necessary, and wisely, as the director, keeps the movie’s focus on Alexa and what she’s doing. I do wish, though, that Lamas figured out a way to streamline the story and make things tighter. And the whole “general store robbery” thing should have been a bank robbery. A bank robbery just makes more sense.
Kinmont, who is also credited with co-writing the flick’s story, starts out the movie as a kick ass, bad ass Mom, but slowly becomes less threatening and badass as the story progresses. I don’t quite know why that is, but by the time the movie is over you’re not afraid or in awe of Alexa’s mercenary skills. You’re just kind of happy that she manages to get out of the story alive. Of course, had she been a little more physical with Kluge’s gigantic lesbian henchwoman Lana (Lori Fetrick) maybe Alexa wouldn’t have ended the movie as a wimp.
John Savage is superb as Franz Kluge. He’s clearly having a great time running his terrorist mercenary company and being a bad guy and he’s just fun to watch. John Ryan does a good job as Straker, the other terrorist mercenary leader, although he doesn’t really have the necessary charisma to be a lead villain in a movie. If this was an episode of an action TV show, fine, but a movie? Not really.
Lori Fetrick does a good job as Lana the lesbian henchwoman. She’s a badass through and through. Alex Statler (now known as Al Sapienza) is kind of fun as Raines. And Michael Chong is hysterical as the impatient North Korean bad guy Colonel Trang. The man just wants to go back to North Korea with the weapon his country paid for. Why the hell doesn’t Straker understand that? And Daryl Roach does a good job as the mysterious Wilson, although I do think he gets a tad shortchanged. Why wasn’t he given more to do?
Pamela Dixon shows up again as Graver’s CIA boss Chief Robin and does an okay job (she’s a little less stilted this time around in terms of her line reading). And the great Branscombe Richmond, who appeared on Lamas’ old syndicated TV show Renegade (Kinmont also did that show, even after she divorced Lamas), shows up at the end as an evil Mexican arms dealer/terrorist guy General Mendoza. He doesn’t get much to do, but it’s fun to see him anyway.
CIA II: Target Alexa ends with a third movie as a distinct possibility. I’m going to assume that Lamas and Kinmont never got around to doing a third Alexa movie because of Renegade and their divorce, but I have no way to confirm that. And since it’s been nineteen years since Target Alexa hit video store shelves I doubt a part three is on Lamas’ or Kinmont’s movie making radar. I do think it would be cool, though, to wake up tomorrow to read on the internets that Alexa part 3 is a go. I’d love to see what Alexa, Graver, Tanya, and the rest are up to now.
It’s more confusing than its predecessor, but CIA II: Target Alexa is a low budget action movie sequel worth tracking down and checking out. It’s nothing special, but it’s fun in its own way. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
See CIA II: Target Alexa. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 30+
Explosions: At least 15
Nudity?: None that I remember. We don’t even get side boob.
Doobage: A nice shot of the ocean, elaborate opening titles, a helicopter, a briefcase, a black humvee, old buddies, black coffee, serious window smashing, rocket launcher hooey, forklift through the gut, gate smashing, some of the lamest sounding gunshots in movie history, truck riding, a brutal rooftop fight, off screen guy getting run over, horse training, flower watering, a lame joke about dyslexia, car hood attack, a nifty off screen bullet to the head, lame general store grocery shopping, robbery thwarting, a wicked roundhouse kick, several piles of empty 2-liter sodas bottles, shotgun blast to the chest with guy flying through and smashing window in slow motion, stock footage of old CIA base from first movie, a search dog, a vacuum cleaner filled with weapons, some serious neck breaking, using a dead man’s hand for hand print ID, scientist killing, silencer hooey, cheap wooden sets, back story hooey, lazy henchmen, base infiltration, a group ass kicking, a bullwhip fight with choking, a muscular lesbian henchwoman, champagne drinking, more neck breaking, bullshit about what happened in Beirut, a roof fight, a dirt bike attack, a hang glider escape, more target practice, bad guy evil laughing, clothed boob kissing (maybe), a “tasteful” sex scene with no Kathleen Kinmont nudity, a girl fight, helicopter attack, multiple exploding tents, double man boob shooting, multiple exploding cars, multiple exploding bushes, neck scarves, a wicked kick to the gut, a shot of dead bodies, a slow moving circular elevator, golf cart hooey, a double cross, an auction, a fight on top of a slow moving circular elevator, mountain climbing, another helicopter attack, table smashing, exploding shack, yet another shot of dead bodies, another double cross, and a lame ending that sets up the possibility of a third Alexa movie.
Kim Richards?: Not really.
Gratuitous: A movie directed by and starring Lorenzo Lamas, Lorenzo Lamas, Lorenzo Lamas and his seriously long hair, Lorenzo Lamas drinking black coffee, rocket launcher attack, forklift attack, some of the lamest sounding gunshots in movie history, Lorenzo Lamas fighting a guy on top of a moving truck, Pamela Dixon, Kathleen Kinmont, Kathleen Kinmont training horses, a lame general store, a lame general store attempted robbery, stock footage of old CIA base from first movie, a youngish John Savage, a vacuum cleaner filled with weapons, some serious neck breaking, silencer hooey, a dipshit lawyer, multiple lazy henchmen, a bullwhip fight with choking, Lori Fetrick, dirt bike attack, a bunch of hooey about North Korea, multiple double crosses, a “tasteful” sex scene featuring no Kathleen Kinmont nudity, a girl fight, multiple exploding tents, multiple exploding cars, multiple exploding bushes, John Savage wearing a thin neck scarf, multiple shots of dead bodies, a slow moving circular elevator, a terrorist auction, multiple hot babes in bikinis, and a lame ending that sets up the possibility of a third Alexa movie.
Best lines: “You’re gonna have to turn around. The plant’s closed,” “Graver, CIA. Yeah, right, and I’m Bill Clinton,” “This is why I quit hanging out with you,” “Shraker! I know it’s you! Give it up! The shop’s going to hunt you down!,” “You union guys, always on a break,” “Sorry, Graver, sign says ‘no passengers’,” “Mom, I need a pair of Air Jordans,” “Still want to have dinner now, honey?,” “Hey, where do you think you’re going? Somewhere you’re not,” “This is complete bullshit,” “You just want me back for some bullshit mission,” “You are a real bitch,” “Open up! We’re on a mission!,” “So the bitch is back,” “Hello Franz. You’re looking well,” “Life is too short. There’s no point in living badly,” “You know, I always wanted to visit North Korea,” “This makes me very unhappy,” “Afghanistan. I remember. We both took hits,” “Franz, do you have the chip?,” “I’ve got the chip with me,” “I’m sending you home in a body bag. That’s a promise. But first I’m gonna fuck up your pretty little face,” “Where’s the chip? Fuck you!,” “Why the turn, Kluge?,” “Hey! No sleeping on watch!,” “You can fall but you can’t fly,” and “Not bad for an amateur, but you’ve got to watch your rotor tail control.”
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There’s not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey. And it would be cool if you “liked” it, too.
Larry Hagman 1931-2012 RIP
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
– Men in Black 3: Easily the best of the Men in Black franchise, I reviewed part 3 for this very column back when it came out over the summer (you can read that column again here). And since it made a decent amount of box office coin, I’d imagine that we’ll be seeing a part 4 at some point in the near future. The big question: will Tommy Lee Jones come back again, or will the franchise somehow bring Josh Brolin in again, playing Tommy Lee Jones? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
– Hot in Cleveland: Season 3: This is my favorite TV Land original sitcom. It has a great cast, excellent writing, and is funnier than all hooha. And with new episodes set to air this Wednesday night, what better way to get caught up on the goofy shenanigans of Melanie, Joy, Victoria Chase, and Elka? Well, outside of any Hot in Cleveland marathon TV Land plans on airing in the next two days?
– The Day: This is some sort of low budget post apocalyptic sci-fi action flick being released by WWE Films. It did get a theatrical release of some sort, but since it didn’t open anywhere near me I didn’t get a chance to see it. And I would have made an effort to see it if it had been playing near me. The movie looks pretty decent based on its trailer. Anyone out there see this?
– The Apparition: This is a low budget, PG-13 “supernatural thriller” being released by Warner Bros. It’s all bullshit, of course, but I kind of like how it looks and it’s worth, at least, a rental.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
And now, the weekly Fearnet update
Fearnet, the only free all horror/thriller On Demand TV network features uncut, uncensored horror flicks from the past and present 24 hours a day, seven days a week, pretty much any time you freaking want them (as long as you still have power, that is). The channel also has behind-the-scenes stuff, trailers, and other cool hooey for you to check out. Check your local cable listings for availability (According to the Fearnetwebsite more and more Time Warner and Cox Cable areas are getting the channel. Be sure to go here to see if Fearnet is coming to your area).
Fearnet also exists as a regular old TV channel. This Fearnet airs horror movies roughly twenty one hours a day (there is a block of infomercials in the morning, usually from 6-9am est). The movies shown do have “commercial breaks” in them, similar to the breaks that currently appear on IFC, but the movies are uncut (blood and boobs and cursing are all intact).
Fearnet’s website, fearnet.com, offers free movies, interviews, news, and other behind-the-scenes horror movie nerd stuff, too. The classic Leprechaun in the Hood was on the site last week. Is it still there? Check and see).
The website also features Post Mortem with Mick Garris, a nifty interview show where big, fat Stephen King’s favorite director talks with genre legends like John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Roger Corman, and others. It’s definitely worth your time.
If you’re a Facebook nerd (and, really, today, who isn’t?) you can check out the Fearnet fans Facebook page, which can be seen here. There are plenty of people out there interested in Fearnet. Join them. And, as always, thanks to both Mark Lindsey and Mathew Hirsch for info regarding the Fearnet fan movement.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Suzee Slater
And here’s a great shot of the uber hot Maryam Basir:
The Big Question: Who is a bigger piece of garbage on TV right now: Clay Morrow on Sons of Anarchy or Detective Voight on Chicago Fire?
Clay Morrow, brilliantly played by Ron Perlman on FX’s kick ass drama Sons of Anarchy, has been the reigning “TV’s biggest piece of garbage” for the last few years (and that’s saying something, as SoA is essentially populated by awful, disgusting people). He’s a liar, a murderer, a master manipulator, and eventhough he was removed from the head of the SAMCRO motorcycle gang at the end of season four he still manages to influence everything the gang does in season five. Clay is just an awful, awful person. So, will he end 2012 still the champion?
Clay does have a contender for the crown, though, in the form of Detective Voight, played by Jason Beghe, on NBC’s new drama Chicago Fire. Voight is a supremely corrupt Chicago cop hell bent on making honest firefighter Mathew Casey, played by Jesse Spencer, change his statement after telling the cops that Voight’s son was drunk when he caused a massive accident. So far this season Voight has had fellow corrupt cops harass Casey and his girlfriend and street gang members on Voight’s payroll beat Casey up on the street. Voight also seems to hold major sway with everyone on the force. Voight’s fellow cops are either highly skeptical of Casey’s complaints because of some social rivalry between cops and firefighters, or perhaps it’s one of those “blue wall of silence” things where cops don’t snitch on other cops. Voight has told Casey several times that all he has to do is change his statement and the harassment will end. Of course, Casey being a stand-up guy, refuses. So the harassment continues. Voight was arrested during a sort of sting operation, where he was recorded saying that he’s a corrupt piece of garbage, but do you really think that’s going to stop him from continuing his attacks on Casey, Casey’s girlfriend, and Casey’s fellow firefighters?
Clay has the edge since he’s a series regular, where Voight is a reoccurring character at best. Clay will still be around at the end of SoA‘s latest season. Voight could simply disappear. I don’t think he will but there’s a chance he could just go away. But, if Voight does come back in some capacity, man, he may beat Clay for the crown. Voight may just blow right by him and leave him in the dust.
So what do you guys think? Is Clay Morrow still the biggest piece of garbage on TV, or is Detective Voight the new king of the disgusting villain mountain?
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
– 6 Degrees of Hell: Okay, I’m confused. Is this a low budget sort of horror anthology type deal featuring Corey Feldman, or is this something else? Is that the movie’s whole marketing strategy, be confusing so people will want to buy/rent it? If it is, it’s working…
– Cartel War: A mega low budget action flick about cops taking the law into their own hands in order to take out a notorious drug runner? Of course I want to see it. Why wouldn’t I? And I love the way it looks, all “shot-on-video” and “immediate.”
– Metal Evolution: This is some sort of import DVD version of the VH-1 Classic miniseries about the birth and evolution of heavy metal. I’m going to assume that the big difference between this set and the set released in March is that this set is a full on “real” DVD as opposed to a DVD-R “made on demand” set. If you don’t get this, I’m sure VH-1 Classic will air the show’s eleven episodes again. And again. And again. Gotta love the amp DVD case.
– Experiment: Who’s Watching You: Yet another mega low budget weird beard genre flick from the fine folks at Chemical Burn Entertainment. If you haven’t checked out anything from CBE, this could be a good jumping off point. Or if this doesn’t work for you, maybe try Fast Zombies with Guns.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to international billionaire media mogul and ultra right wing lunatic Rupert Murdoch, for tweeting “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” and then failing to explain what the fuck he’s talking about when he says “Jewish owned press.” Murdoch eventually apologized for his remarks, but it makes you wonder if the head of Newscorp, owner of Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal is nothing more than a raging anti-Semite. Because that’s what it sounds like. Is that the image he, and by extension his media holdings, want to project?
In the end it probably doesn’t matter what Murdoch actually thinks. He’s mega rich and essentially has a captive brainwashed audience that believes everything his employees say. It’s all a big left wing media conspiracy anyway. And besides, it’s the Jewish owned media that really hates the Jews, right? Right?
How is this man not a complete and total laughingstock right now? How?
Up next is the ultra right wing media machine, for claiming that Hostess went out of business because of an uncooperative union despite all evidence to the contrary. As the fine folks at Media Matters for America has documented, Hostess had been in some sort of financial distress for over a decade (it first declared bankruptcy back in 2004), and if it did have “labor issues,” those issues paled in comparison to serious mismanagement by the company’s leaders (not dealing with debt, big raises for executives, and having six CEO’s over a decade are just some of the company’s big ass problems). But we haven’t heard that from the right wing media machine. No, Hostess went out of business because of greedy workers.
You know: lazy, unscrupulous, lazy workers who just don’t want to work but want the company to take care of them with all kinds of free stuff, like pensions and health care and other assorted homosexual things. They’re the reason all 18,000 employees are out of a job. It had nothing to do with incompetent, greedy executives. Those people are the salt of the fucking Earth, man.
And finally there’s ABC, for cancelling the best new show of the 2012 Fall TV season, Last Resort. Starring the great Andre Braugher as the captain of a US nuclear submarine attacked by the US government for failing to follow orders, Last Resort had a cool premise and a top notch cast (Scott Speedman, Robert “T-1000/Colonel Ryan” Patrick, and Daisy Betts, among others). The only thing it was likely missing was an overall sense of urgency, but then very few action dramas ever achieve that with regularity and succeed. If you have to do 22 episodes a season you have to come up with 22 different stories a season. There’s going to be some stretching, and there are going to be some “down” moments every now and then. Last Resort has had a few of those “down” and “slow” moments the last few episodes, but nothing that should render the show a failure.
To ABC’s credit, the network has said it will allow the show to finish itself off and we will get a chance to see all 13 produced episodes (but will we get to see them on Thursdays at 8pm est, or will the show disappear for a little while and start airing on Saturdays after football ends?). What are we going to get in Last Resort‘s place? New episodes of Wipeout or reruns of Grey’s Anatomy? The Middle?
This is bullshit. Last Resort has to go, but absolute shit like Mob Doctor and Vegas are still on? Come on.
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
Not much going on in either NASCAR or Indycar at the moment. Danica Patrick announced she’s getting a divorce last week, but that’s about it in terms of “big” news. Shockingly, there hasn’t been much talk in the gossip pages about what led to Patrick leaving her husband of seven years, although don’t be surprised if someone starts the rumor that she’s screwing around with her Sprint Cup car owner Tony Stewart. Of course, NASCAR would likely much prefer Danica, voted the most popular driver for 2012 in the Nationwide Series, hook up with her Nationwide car owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. That would be the ultimate racing power couple.
NASCAR announced a few weeks ago changes to qualifying for Sprint Cup and Nationwide. The “Top 35″ rule is apparently going away and is being replaced with the fastest 36 getting in on time, followed by provisionals and a “past champion” provisional, the way qualifying used to be handled before the Top 35 rule went into practice. It would be better if NASCAR eliminated all provisionals, but I guess the new qualifying rules are a step in the right direction. I also think it would generate general excitement if, during qualifying, there was a chance that the points leader might not make the race. Unpredictability can be a good thing.
Over in the Nationwide Series, the starting field will be reduced to 40 from 43. I’m not quite sure why this qualifying change was made, as I seriously doubt it’s going to cut back on the number of “start and park” cars entering a race. The sort of big news in the Camping World Trucks Series is a new race in Canada, at the old Mosport road course in September (I think it’s called Canadian Tire Raceway or something like that now). The Trucks Series hasn’t raced on a road course in years, so that should be an interesting race. There’s also ongoing talk of having a race at Eldora, a dirt track in Ohio owned by Tony Stewart. Would a race on the dirt be fun and cool and all that? Sure it would. But I’ll believe it when I see it. If it does happen, I hope it leads to more short track races in general for the Trucks Series. That’s what the Trucks Series used to be all about and it was awesome.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup awards banquet is this Friday night and will apparently air live on Speed. Howie Mandel is hosting. I’ll probably watch the show just for that.
Over in Indycar, some guy named Mark Miles was named the head of the company that owns and operates both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Izod Indycar Series, Hulman & Co. I have no idea how that is going to impact the series at all. There are also still plenty of drivers without confirmed rides for 2013. I keep hearing about imminent team and driver announcements that end up not happening for whatever reason. Maybe news on that end will pick up closer to January?
Man, one week into the off season and I’m already annoyed. If only someone could bring back the old Slick 50 winter Sprint Car series. That was awesome back in the day.
Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
CIA II: Target Alexa
Lorenzo Lamas– Mark Graver
Kathleen Kinmont– Alexa
John Savage– Franz Kluge
John Ryan– Ralph Straker
Lori Fetrick– Lana
Pamela Dixon– Chief Robin
Alex Statler– Raines
Sandee Van Dyke– Tanya
Michael Chong– Colonel Trang
Daryl Roach– Wilson
Branscombe Richmond– General Mendoza
Directed by Lorenzo Lamas
Screenplay by Michael January, based on a story by Kathleen Kinmont and Michael January and characters created by John Weidner, with additional dialogue by David Halver
Distributed by PM Home Video and Platinum Disc
Rated R for violence and language
Runtime– 90 minutes
Buy it here