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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 7.9.12 Issue #215: The President’s Man (2000)

July 9, 2012 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #215: The President’s Man (2000)

July: A Month of Chuck Norris: Week 2

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been hit in the face with a rock filled sleeping bag, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and fifteen, July: A Month of Chuck Norris continues with a look at the 2000 TV movie A President’s Man.

The President’s Man (2000)

The President’s Man, directed by Michael Preece and, according to imdb.com, Eric Norris, is one of the weirder Chuck Norris movies out there. A CBS TV movie that came out in the year 2000, it features Chuck as an uber bad ass special agent that answers only to the President of the United States, hence the title of the movie The President’s Man. We get to see Chuck’s special agent character, Joshua McCord, in action almost immediately, as the First Lady (Marla Adams) has been taken hostage while in Brazil. The current President, President Mathews (Ralph Waite), calls up McCord, who, when he isn’t engaging in worldwide ass kicking on behalf of the President, is a college professor of some sort (I assume he’s a history professor, or perhaps some kind of international studies professor. We get to see him cut an apple in half with a samurai sword in front of his class. I have never seen an American history professor do that). So McCord cuts class short, confers with his daughter/handler Que (Jennifer Tung), and hops on a Stealth Bomber and goes to Brazil. After being dropped out of the Stealth Bomber and parachuting on top of the hotel the First Lady is being held in, McCord makes quick work of the bad guys, barely breaking a sweat throwing knives and karate kicking guys in the chest. He manages to get First Lady Mathews out of the building before more bad guys (because there are always more bad guys) show up, engaging in a nifty “parachute-out-the-window” stunt that looks especially spectacular considering this is a TV movie.

Back in the United States (Dallas, Texas, to be exact), McCord engages in some personal soul searching with his President’s Man mentor George (the immortal Stuart Whitman). McCord is thinking about retiring but isn’t sure how to go about it. George tells McCord that he’ll know, in his gut, when it’s time to hang it up, and he’ll have to find his replacement. Because that’s what the members of the venerable President’s Man detail always do: pass on what they know to the next guy. So McCord and Que go about looking for a suitable President’s Man replacement. Their search leads them to Sgt. Deke Slater (Dylan Neal), a disgraced ex-Army Ranger jammed up in military prison for failing to follow a direct order while on a mission in Colombia. Que gets Slater out of the slammer and tells him what’s expected of him in his new position, if he decides to take it. Slater, a head strong, arrogant, tough-as-nails badass, isn’t sure what to make of all this “President’s Man” stuff, but he decides to go ahead and find out what it’s all about. He isn’t going back to prison, so, in the end, he’ll either have a new job or he’ll… well, he’ll figure that out when the time is right.

So McCord and Que put Slater through the President’s Man training ropes. He’s going to have to know how to fight, how to shoot and kill under extreme duress, and how to handle any potential situation he may encounter out in the field on a mission. Slater will also have to learn to understand that the only thing that matters is the mission. While all of that is going on, the incredibly evil Colombian drug lord Santiago (Jonathan Nichols), who just had a huge chunk of his drug operation blown up by Slater’s Army Ranger unit, teams up with the also incredibly evil ex-Vietnamese Army general Vinh Tran (the great Soon-Tek Oh), to build small nuclear weapons to use on major U.S. cities. They kidnap a hapless American nuclear scientist (Dr. Francis Anderson, as played by Greg Ricks) and threaten to kill his family if he doesn’t build the bombs they need, mostly because that’s what incredibly evil bad guys do.

The flick’s story is kind of jumbled at times. The “McCord trains Slater” stuff is pretty straightforward, but the “Santiago-Vinh Tran” stuff is all over the place. Santiago and Vinh Tran apparently hatch their big plan over several months, but it seems like it all happens in a matter of days. You can’t tell if it’s meant to coincide with McCord and Slater training. I mean, does Vinh Tran always wear that black camo outfit? Does he have like ten of the same outfit? And why exactly is an ex-Vietnamese Army general running around with nuclear weapons? Did I miss something big back in the late 1990’s when the Vietnamese army lost a bunch of people because it paid better to be an international arms smuggler and terrorist enabler? I’d imagine that, if that happened, 60 Minutes would have done a story on it.

I mean, yes, I sort of know, story-wise, why the ex-Vietnamese Army general Vinh Tran is in the movie since Vinh Tran’s Vietnameseness relates to McCord’s life history and military career, and it’s kind of cool to see Norris and Soon-Tek Oh engage in an epic karate kung fu rematch (they fought one another in Chuck’s 1985 classic Missing in Action 2: The Beginning), but it all comes off a little too neat and convenient. It probably would have been better to just have Vinh Tran as some random international terrorist as opposed to someone who knows McCord. It would have fit better with the rest of the movie.

Plot issues aside, The President’s Man is a blast. The flick’s action scenes are top notch by TV movie standards, and unlike last issue’s Logan’s War: Bound by Honor, The President’s Man doesn’t feature endless slow motion. Yes, there’s plenty of slow motion stuff in the movie, but it’s used sparingly as opposed to damn near every action scene. That opening “parachute-out-of-the-building” scene is freaking amazing. I can’t stress that enough.

Norris is excellent as McCord. At first, it’s hard to accept McCord as a college professor, mostly because it’s hard to see Chuck Norris as a college professor (I just can’t see him handing out a syllabus on the first day of class and talking about the university’s attendance policy. I just can’t see it), but the idea starts to grow on you as the movie progresses. When he isn’t helping Slater train to become the President’s Man, he’s meditating or reading a book by the fireplace. He’s really an intellectual at heart. What do you think his doctoral thesis was about?

Dylan Neal does a good job as Deke Slater. He never loses his arrogant edge, which is what ends up being his best quality. That arrogance is what makes him fearless and think on his feet, and that’s what he needs to do. Neal is also able to keep up with the much older Norris in the action scene department, which is always good to see. Jennifer Tung is great as McCord’s daughter and handler Que. She’s smart, fun to look at, and she can kick ass. Just don’t be surprised if you first think she’s actually McCord’s girlfriend. That’s what I thought when I first saw them together.

Jonathan Nichols does a good job as the drug lord Santiago. He’s a sadistic bastard (he practices his golf swing on hostages by hitting balls into their chests) and makes you believe he likes to live in the middle of the jungle even though he’s super wealthy. Stuart Whitman only has a few brief scenes as McCord’s mentor George but he does a fine job anyway. The same goes for Ralph Waite, good old Papa Walton hisself (or Papa Gibbs, as he’s now known on NCIS), as President Mathews.

And then there’s Soon-Tek Oh as General Vinh Tran. He does his usual brilliant job as one of the flick’s big bad guys, and it looks like he could still “go” if need be. And even if doing the part was just a favor for an old friend, Oh doesn’t dog it in his scenes. Watch in amazement and discuss as he tells a little girl that if her father doesn’t do what he needs him to do, he’s going to kill her right in from of him. That’s fucking cold, man. Great stuff.

And be on the lookout for Travis Fine, the douchebag military school freak Shelton from Child’s Play 3, and the great Thomas Rosales, Jr. as an uncredited drug cartel henchman. They both do fine work.

The President’s Man is a damn good TV movie. It’s got a great cast, some kick ass action scenes, and plenty of energy. Like I said last issue with Logan’s War, I wish the TV networks were still in the business of making movies like this one. It’s got plot issues, sure, but it’s a blast to watch. Awesome, awesome stuff.

See The President’s Man as soon as you can. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 20 +

Explosions: Several

Nudity?: None. It’s a TV movie.

Doobage: A bald eagle, samurai sword wielding, apple slicing, Secret Service incompetence, kidnapping, attempted national destabilization, meditation, a full on tea ceremony, a hot Asian chick, guy “jumping” out of a stealth bomber, stock footage of the Brazilian coastline, knife through the chest, roof jumping, slow motion window smashing, a great parachute stunt, James Bond parody soundtrack music, wound repair, a dog named “Nevada,” a big ass Colombian drug operation, a bunch of kids learning English in a jungle school, a man being tortured with golf balls, attempted homophobia, attempted rape, a serious gutting, multiple sleeper holds, multiple neck snaps, serious ass kicking, slow motion gun butt to the face, more knife throwing, exploding drug den, major insubordination, a brief military trial, several bad ass military prison gangs, multiple slow motion roundhouse kicks to the face, a highly classified program, a super secret training facility, a karate demonstration/training montage, a bad ass obstacle course, multiple kicks to the stomach, attempted broccoli eating, eating broccoli with chopsticks, a super cell phone, exploding watermelon, knife training, jogging, chess playing, a psycho religious cult, multiple radioactive isotopes, face kicking, female face punching, more knife training, gymnastics training, bell ringing, a training race, leg scissors, a flashback to ‘Nam, more Stealth bomber stuff, Stealth Bomber stock footage, a fat guy gets his ass kicked, front face lock neck snap, major league neck breaking, karate chop to the shoulder, NSA satellite hacking, a scary screwdriver, nuclear bomb building, a very whiny child, backhand punch to the face, henchmen beating, a snap mare neck snap, a henchmen beating montage, throat breaking, attempted child execution, electro torture, a gymnastics kick, a Missing in Action 2: The Beginning rematch, attempted shovel to the face, golf club to the back, slow motion high knee to the face, a reverse neck breaker, exploding drug base, and a solo mission.

Kim Richards?: Big time.

Gratuitous: A bald eagle, a waving American flag, Dallas, Texas, Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris playing a college professor, Chuck Norris talking about “Bushido: the Way of the Samurai,” Chuck Norris slicing an apple in half with a samurai sword, Ralph Waite, Ralph Waite as the President of the United States, Secret Service incompetence, kidnapping, Chuck Norris meditating in his backyard, Chuck Norris engaging in a tea ceremony, Chuck Norris jumping out of a Stealth Bomber, stock footage of the Brazilian coastline, Stuart Whitman, Travis Fine, Thomas Rosales, Jr., multiple neck snaps, multiple bits of knife throwing, military prison, Soon-Tek Oh, guy trying to eat broccoli with chopsticks, a super cell phone, multiple training montages, Chuck Norris playing chess, Chuck Norris reading a book, a psycho religious cult, gymnastics training, bragging, Stealth Bomber stock footage, NSA satellite hacking, a scary screwdriver, electro torture, a Missing in Action 2: The Beginning rematch, and a solo mission.

Best lines: “Dude, that is so cool. Yeah, cool. And Stuart? It’s Professor Cool,” “I don’t give a damn what they’re demanding!,” “If I hear one more shot, you’re dead!,” “Who are you? Room service,” “Pleasure meeting you, ma’am,” “How did you know it was time, George?,” “Should I kill him? No. I still have a half a bucket of balls left,” “Looks like the lieutenant saw a little action himself today,” “So, who are you? Shhh!,” “She always this sarcastic? This is one of her better days,” “George Bush doesn’t eat broccoli. You’re no George Bush,” “Rule number one: never underestimate your opponent,” “A split second decision can make the difference between life and death,” “No mission is a cake walk,” “I don’t think you screwed up. I know you screwed up,” “Getting ready for winter or just getting some exercise?,” “Now I want two giants and a back flip,” “Now that’s what I’m talking about!,” “Sometimes you have to remove an obstacle to obtain an objective,” “I hate this game. But you’re getting better at it,” “Weapons grade plutonium? Where did you get this?,” “Man, it’s tight in here. In a few minutes you’re going to have all the space you need,” “With proper motivation nothing is impossible!,” “You. Maybe you want to talk to your daddy. Because if he doesn’t work harder, tomorrow I’m going to have to kill you,” “You will tell me what I want to know,” “Joshua McCord! Aha! You are a very hard man to kill!,” “Is that him? Yeah,” and “I want to be the President’s Man.”

Rating: 9.0/10.0

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Next week: The President’s Man: A Line in the Sand

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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.

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page! Yeah!

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And now, a Chuck Norris Fact

Fear of spiders is arachnophobia, fear of tight places is claustrophobia, and fear of Chuck Norris is called Logic.

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/

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Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1

American Reunion: I didn’t get to see this when it was in theatres, but then, based on the comedy’s box office take, very few people did, so I don’t feel as bad as I could have had this fourth Pie flick been a hit. It’ll probably make a ton of money on home video, though. It looks great, like the three previous main Pie movies (I’m not counting the DTV movies here).

Father Dowling Mysteries: Second Season: The second season of the nifty mystery series starring Tom Bosley as a Catholic priest in Chicago who solves murders and whatnot shockingly hits DVD tomorrow. I never thought the first season would hit DVD, so I’m guessing that season one made enough money to warrant releasing the second season. That’s pretty cool. Perhaps season three will be out by the end of the year.

Alice: The Complete First Season: Alice was a great sitcom back in the day. Linda Lavin was great as the show lead, the immortal Vic Tayback was superb as the asshole diner owner Mel, and pretty much everyone in the world remembers Polly Holliday’s “Flo.” “Kiss my grits!” Ha!

Dark Nemesis: Based on the trailer below, this is a mega low budget fantasy flick. How often do we see one of those that actually looks decent? Not as often as I’d like, that’s for sure. Definitely worth a look based solely on the trailer.

Cherry Bomb: A low budget pseudo “grind house” revenge flick starring a hot stripper chick? Fuck yeah I’m going to watch it. Why wouldn’t I?

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Ernest Borgnine 1917-2012 RIP

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The Big Question: What’s up with The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street?

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street is a classic episode of the original The Twilight Zone, easily one of the show’s best. It’s both scary and hysterical. Scary because of the way the story about paranoia and the mob mentality grows and grows and grows until everyone on Maple Street goes completely batshit, and hysterical because of how goddamn sad the story is. The power goes out inexplicably. Instead of just waiting for the power to come back on, or simply waiting for the old guy with the hammer to come back to see if anyone else is experiencing similar power issues, everyone starts accusing everyone else of being the cause of the outage.

“What’s the deal with the radio you have in the basement, Steve?”

“Yeah, why do you walk alone in the middle of the night and stare up at the sky? What are you looking at?”

“Come on, Charlie, what’s the deal?”

Now, the hysteria, paranoia, and fucking insanity starts when this incredibly annoying kid starts talking about UFO stories he’s read in comic books and whatnot. For some reason the denizens of Maple Street not only listen to this kid, but they also take what he says about “men from outer space” as possible. My question is, why? Why do these people, modern, reasonable people, believe this kid’s story? Fucking aliens from outer space? Why didn’t someone smack that fucking kid and tell him to shut up?

I mean, is it a 1960’s thing? Alien invasions and outer space double agents were more possible back then than now? Am I missing something here?

I’m probably over thinking this a bit. The episode is still awesome, still one of the best. But I’ve always been bothered by that kid. Would a sudden power outage in 1960 really make people believe a kid’s “men from outer space” story as possible?

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week

Enjoy.

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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. Uncle Sam, written by Larry Cohen and directed by William Lustig, 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.

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Andy Griffith 1926-2012 RIP

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Rachael Leigh Cook

 

 

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And now, another Chuck Norris Fact

Chuck Norris won the Boston marathon in New York.

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/

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Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2

Black Limousine: This flick, which is either a low budget thriller or some sort of hip and edgy “art” movie, stars David Arquette, Bijou Phillips, Vivicia A. Fox, and Lin Shaye. And the fine folks at Anchor Bay are putting it out on DVD. Did this movie get some sort of limited theatrical release? I don’t remember seeing a review for it in the New York Times, although it’s possible that it didn’t play in New York City. Anyone out there see this yet?

Hot Ice: I’m generally not a fan of the mega low budget “car” movie that comes off as a kind of Fast and Furious clone, but Hot Ice looks okay. Of course, I’m forming that opinion based solely on the trailer. The movie as a whole could blow. The fine folks at the Maverick Entertainment Group are releasing this.

You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You: A mega low budget serial killer flick released by Lionsgate? Eh, why not? James McDaniel is in it.

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week

This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to the ALS Therapy Alliance, for complaining about a “tasteless joke” about ALS in the movie Ted. You can read about the controversy via TheWrap here, but essentially what we have here is an advocacy group attempting to drum up controversy because of an alleged pop culture swipe by “insensitive” people. It’s just a joke, folks. That’s all it is. It wasn’t a swipe at anyone in real life. It was just a joke.

Why does this kind of stuff keep happening? Aren’t there more important things to worry about? And how exactly does complaining about this Ted do anything to further understanding and all that? Am I the only one who thinks that this episode makes ALS Therapy Alliance and similar groups look, well, silly? Does anyone have a sense of humor anymore? Anyone?

We’ll probably be talking about this again in about a year when a joke about this incident appears on Family Guy. You know it’s going to happen.

Up next is the ultra right wing conservative Republican media machine, for failing to flip out on 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Willard “Mitt” Romney after he was photographed riding on a jet ski. I remember back in 2004 when Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry was photographed windsurfing and it was essentially the end of the election. How could the mega rich Kerry, so out of touch windsurfing when people can’t find work and our troops are in harm’s way, be trusted to run the country? But we can trust the mega rich Romney even though he’s done essentially the same thing? Where’s the indignation? Where’s the snickering?

Oh, wait, I forgot. Mitt Romney is a businessman. A real man’s man. Not like our un-American Kenyan President, who has a wife that grows her own vegetables. That’s just fucking sick. How many real Americans do that?

Why isn’t the “liberal media” doing its job?

And finally there’s New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, for flipping out on some guy the other night. Can someone please explain to me why this kind of thing is endearing? Who exactly is Governor Christie standing up for or taking on here? Why does he completely flip out every time he’s “mildly” challenged by anyone who doesn’t fall in line behind him? Can you imagine what would happen if someone like Vice President Joe Biden did this kind of thing every day?

Yep. That guy with the ice cream cone could be the VP come January 2013.

Jesus Christ. What the hell is wrong with the world? What?

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NASCAR and Indycar thoughts

I only got to see the last forty laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Saturday night, as once again my fucking DVR decided to crap out on me. From what I saw the action on the track was wild. The race report I read in my local newspaper said that the first half of the race was “boring” as there were long stretches of green flag racing. Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth was the man to beat, and from what I saw he was in control for most of the race. But from the multiple cautions that plagued the last section of the race, the remaining cars in the field were able to close in on Kenseth and challenge him for the lead. Tony Stewart ended up the winner, moving into the lead on the final lap and avoiding the last big crash of the night. Jeff Burton managed to come home second, and Kenseth was third.

I seem to say this quite a bit, but what the heck does Juan Pablo Montoya have to do to catch a break? If he hadn’t been involved in that second to last big wreck he probably would have been in contention for the win at the end. The same goes for Jeff Gordon. He ended up 12th, but that was likely due to the multiple wrecks at the end (I’d imagine that’s why back markers Bobby Labonte and Michael Waltrip both finished in the top 10). Where did his luck go?

The big story before the race, during the race, and after the race was Penske driver AJ Allmendinger’s suspension following a positive drug test. Allmendinger was suspended 90 minutes before the race started, and Sam Hornish was flown in to sub for him in the Pennzoil #22. Neither NASCAR or Penske have said what drug Allmendinger tested positive for, but I think it’s safe to say that Allmendinger is fucked. These things very rarely ever work out positively for the accused, and it’s a damn shame that it happened. It’ll be interesting to see if Hornish remains in the #22 for the rest of the year, or if Penske will find someone else.

Next up for both Sprint Cup and the Nationwide Series (I didn’t get to see the Nationwide race on Friday, either. Kurt Busch won the race) is New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with Nationwide on Saturday and Cup on Sunday. Loudon has had decent races in the past, so it could be a good show both days. Could be.

Over in Indycar, Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up his third win of the season, dominating the street race in Toronto. The race as a whole was pretty awful, but things got interesting towards the end. No one was going to catch Hunter-Reay, but eventual second place finish Charlie Kimball gave it a go. Mike Conway finished third, his best finish for A.J. Foyt. That’s pretty cool.

Pole sitter Dario Franchitti had a shitty day, as did his teammate Scott Dixon (his engine blew early and he ended up finishing last). Graham Rahal had another bad finish, and former point leader Will Power screwed up several times and ended up 15th. Simon Pagenaud had a good day going, leading laps and looking like he could win. And then some stuff happened and he ended up 12th. What the heck does that guy have to do catch some luck?

Tony Kanaan and Oriol Servia once again had stellar days, figuring out how to get to the front after several issues kept them in the back early on. I don’t know anymore if either one will pick up a win this year (I thought both guys would, but now I’m not so sure), but they’ll probably continue to be contenders.

Sebastien Bourdais is an idiot. He needs to stop blaming other people for his fuck ups, and he needs to grow a set of balls. That’s all I’m saying.

The Indycar Series returns in two weeks with another Canadian street race, this time in Edmonton. That race will suck, too, but that’s what the series wants. There’s talk of the series adding another Canadian date for next year. Where the heck will they do? Aren’t there any real road courses outside of Quebec for the Indycars to compete on?

California can’t get here soon enough. That’s the next oval. That’s a disgrace.

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Once again, a Chuck Norris Fact

Some magicians can walk on water. Chuck Norris can swim through land.

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/

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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.

And don’t forget to bookmark 411 via the little line below. You’ll be glad you did.

The President’s Man

Chuck Norris– Joshua McCord
Dylan Neal– Sgt. Deke Slater
Jennifer Tung– Que
Soon-Tek Oh– General Vinh Tran
Jonathan Nichols– Santiago
Ralph Waite– President Mathews
Marla Adams– First Lady Mathews
Stuart Whitman– George Williams
Greg Ricks– Dr. Francis Anderson
Travis Fine– Lieutenant
Thomas Rosales, Jr.– Drug Soldier

Directed by Michael Preece and Eric Norris
Screenplay by Bob Gookin

Distributed by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Unrated
Runtime– 90 minutes

Buy it here and here

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Bryan Kristopowitz