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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Ultimate Weapon

August 7, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Ultimate Weapon Hulk Hogan

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #596: The Ultimate Weapon

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that is shocked that no one has written an extensive, in-depth book about the various gimmicks of pro wrestler Ed Leslie, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and ninety-six, I take a look at the low budget action flick The Ultimate Weapon, which stars pro wrestling icon Hulk Hogan and came out at some point in 1998.

The Ultimate Weapon

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The Ultimate Weapon, directed by Jon Cassar, is a fairly decent but weird as hell low budget action flick. It doesn’t have enough action in it, but the action we do get is okay and, sometimes, even fun. The movie could have used a more streamlined plot, and there’s way too much slow motion going on, but it was generally entertaining throughout. Why didn’t Hogan do more of these kinds of movies when he was actually making movies? I know that director Cassar also made those two action movies that Hogan did with Carl Weathers and Shannon Tweed back in the late 1990’s (Assault on Devil’s Island and Assault on Death Mountain, both of which, I believe, debuted on cable channel TNT during the height of the popularity of WCW Monday Nitro), but that was it. That just boggles my mind. Why didn’t Hogan do more low budget action movies?

So Hogan stars as Ben “Hardball” Cutter, a badass former Special Forces operator turned mercenary who does all sorts of tough jobs because he’s a badass former Special Forces operator turned mercenary. He’s hired by old friend Top Drummond (Vlasta Vrana) for a big hooha job working in conjunction with a U.N. task force or some such that intends to stop a nefarious arms deal from going down. Partnered with Special Forces newbie Dean, aka Cobra (Carl Marotte), Cutter infiltrates a base in the woods in Serbia (amazingly, the Serbian woods look exactly like the woods of West Virginia, where Top’s Special Forces training base is) and they kill pretty much every bad guy soldier in the area. After securing the guns and bombs and whatnot, U.N. task force colonel Roarke (Michael D’Amico) shows up to remove the munitions. While watching Roarke’s men check out the seized guns, Cutter realizes that Roarke’s men are not affiliated with the U.N. in any way whatsoever. In fact, Cutter suspects that Roarke’s men, and Roarke, are criminals of some sort. So Cutter and Dean take over a helicopter and Cutter blows up the base with a grenade launcher.

Back at Top’s West Virginia base, Cutter gets in Top’s face about the job and tells him that he’s done taking jobs for him. Cutter also gets Top to admit that Roarke is actually part of some IRA affiliated gangster and that, sometimes, Top has to work with criminals in order to make money. So Cutter goes back to his farm out in the middle of nowhere and decides that he really is done with the mercenary business. Cutter asks his girlfriend Lorrie (Lynne Adams) to marry him (she accepts, after getting pissed off that he couldn’t ask her in a romantic way), and he decides to track down his estranged daughter Mary Kate and try to have a relationship with her. Apparently, his mercenary-for-hire job prevented Cutter from being a present parent and father. Cutter wants to try to fix that.

So Cutter goes to see his ex-mother-in-law (I want to say that this is Mrs. Neely, played by Sheena Larkin, but I could be wrong about that) to find out where Mary Kate is now. After an awkward encounter with his ex-mother-in-law, Cutter finds out that Mary Kate works as an exotic dancer and is holed up in a low rent apartment with two roommates (I have no idea who these people are). Cutter goes to the apartment, briefly talks with Mary Kate’s roommates, and finds out that Mary Kate is an exotic dancer. So Cutter goes to the dance club his daughter works at and meets the now grown up Mary Kate (Cynthia Preston). The meeting doesn’t go well at all.

Now, while all of that is happening, McBride (Daniel Pilon), Roarke’s boss, puts his big revenge plan into motion. Cutter’s disruption of the Serbian operation cost McBride’s criminal organization $20 million and that simply cannot stand. So McBride has Roarke set up a meeting with Top in order to find out who, exactly, Cutter is. When McBride and Roarke meet with Top, Top initially refuses to give up who Cutter is because that’s now he does business (there’s also some bullshit about the “code of the operators”), but then McBride threatens to kill Top and Top immediately folds. Top will give McBride any and all information he has on Cutter but for a price, a price that McBride agrees to. So Roarke heads to Top’s base in West Virginia to get the information on Cutter. It’s here that Roarke finds out about Cutter’s girlfriend and daughter (see, Cutter left a will with Top before he went on his last mission, which is apparently something mercenaries do in this world).

So then some stuff happens, Cutter continues to try to make up with Mary Kate, and McBride puts his big hooha “get revenge on Cutter” plan into motion. Will Cutter ever have a real relationship with Mary Kate? Will McBride get his revenge on Cutter? What sort of mayhem will of this unleash upon the world?

The first half of The Ultimate Weapon works pretty well and is nicely paced. As the plot gets more complicated and the Mary Kate character becomes more prominent the movie gets bogged down in weird family stuff that isn’t as interesting as the movie wants you to believe it is. It would have made more sense to have the focus of McBride’s intended wrath on Cutter be Lorrie. Cutter hasn’t been able to have a “normal” life because of his job, but now he’s had enough of the mercenary business and wants to settle down with Lorrie. If McBride has his henchmen go after her, then that would lead to Cutter going batshit and wanting super revenge on McBride trying to kill Lorrie or whatever. That would have streamlined the story and, maybe, led to more action scenes (fist fights, gun battles, explosions, etc.). That’s what The Ultimate Weapon needs more than anything.

The movie’s action scenes are generally okay. There are some good gun battles and explosions, but there’s way too much slow motion. Hogan doesn’t look too awkward holding a rifle or big gun but looks out of place holding a handgun with two hands (this is what happens in these movies when the hero is gigantic, and while Hogan is smaller here than he looked in the 1980’s, he’s still big and kind of jacked and the handgun he uses just looks ridiculous. One handed, the gun looks okay in Hogan’s hand. Two handed, again, it looks ridiculous). The hand-to-hand brawls are pretty good. I was surprised that director Cassar didn’t have Hogan do at least one pro wrestling move in any of his hand-to-hand fights (because, I mean, why wouldn’t you have pro wrestling icon Hulk Hogan do a pro wrestling move in your action movie? “Rowdy” Roddy Piper did it all of the time). And kudos to Hogan’s stunt double for doing a jumping spin kick and almost looking like Hogan doing it.

The final action sequence is both good and bad. It’s good because part of it pays off a moment involving Mary Kate and something on the floor in Cutter’s barn. It’s bad because the whole thing goes by too quickly (it also doesn’t become spectacular until the very, very end). The ending also doesn’t include a scene involving a special gun that McBride uses earlier in the movie. If you do an action movie and you feature a scene involving some sort of special gun that special gun should feature in the ending of the movie. In fact, that special gun should be something that the villain uses against the hero and or the hero uses against the villain. Otherwise, why have the special gun in the movie at all?

And what’s the deal with Roarke, McBride’s main henchman, not getting a big hooha final scene? He figures into the movie way more than the last henchman that actually gets to do something at the very end of the movie. And where does Cutter’s ex mother-in-law go?

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In general, the performances are pretty good overall. Hulk Hogan does a fine job as the hero Ben “Hardball” Cutter. You may not completely buy him as an ex-Special Forces operator, but you do buy him as an action movie hero as he rarely ever looks ridiculous doing heroic things (again, outside of holding a handgun with two hands. He’s just too jacked to make that work). The movie’s overuse of slow motion doesn’t really work for him, but, again, even when the situation is ridiculous Hogan looks good. His hairpiece is a bit of a distraction because it’s obvious that it’s not his real hair, but that may only bother super wrestling fans who know what Hulk Hogan is supposed to look like. Why the hell didn’t the movie have him do at least one wrestling move in a fight scene? That should be what all pro wrestlers turned action movie actors have to do. Hogan also has an easy chemistry with most of the cast (I’ll ask it again, why the hell didn’t he do more of these low budget action movies? It just boggles my mind that he didn’t do more of them).

Carl Marotte does a decent job as Dean, Cutter’s new mercenary partner. Marotte plays Dean as kind of a goofball and that characterization works most of the time up against Hogan’s more serious demeanor as the old pro Cutter. And Marotte does have a nice “kind of buddy” chemistry with Hogan. I do wish, though, that the Dean character had a better looking machine gun in the Serbian raid scene. The rifle he uses, a Ruger Mini-14 according to the Internet Movie Firearm Database, is just lame looking. Why couldn’t he have something sleeker and less The A-Team looking? The sort of sniper rifle he uses at the end of the movie is a much better looking weapon.

Cynthia Preston does an okay job as Mary Kate, Cutter’s estranged daughter. While I understand why Mary Kate isn’t a fan of Cutter, I do think that Preston overplays the character most of the time and her pain becomes distracting. And it seems like she’s upset all of the time, not just around her father. Preston does have a nice scene, fighting off McBride when he tries to attack her in his mansion. I wish Mary Kate was more like that throughout the movie. And I will say that she kicks ass at the end of the movie.

Lynne Adams does a fantastic job as Lorrie, Cutter’s girlfriend. The movie short changes her character, which is a shame because she has terrific chemistry with Hogan and her relationship with her mercenary boyfriend is actually interesting. She should have had more to do in the end of the movie. She should have kicked someone in the balls or fired off a grenade launcher or something.

Daniel Pilon does an outstanding job as McBride, the movie’s top villain. His criminal organization really isn’t explained, and the movie doesn’t really pay off any of his sword fighting practice scenes (why the hell doesn’t he sword fight Cutter in the barn at the end of the movie? Why have McBride be a swordfighter if you aren’t going to do anything with it later on?), but Pilon makes McBride a supremely sleazy asshole, and that’s always fun to watch in this kind of action movie. The movie definitely could have used more of that kind of thing.

Michael D’Amico does a great job as McBride’s top henchman Roarke. At first, it seems like D’Amico is doing a sort of Michael Ironside parody with Roarke, and when you realize that is exactly what he’s doing you start liking it and want to see more of it. He should have been given a better death scene, though. With the amount of screen time he’s given we should remember how Roarke dies.

And then there’s Vlasta Vrana as Top Drummond, Cutter’s old friend and mercenary handler. I don’t completely buy that he would ever turn on Cutter, even for a big pile of money. Would he fake turning on him? Maybe. But, even after admitting to sometimes doing business with the worst people in the world, I don’t think he would ever betray a guy like Cutter. I just don’t.

Be on the lookout for the great Ed Leslie as a thug in a bar that has two scenes, one including a big fight with Cutter and Dean. Leslie, the former Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake/The Butcher/The Booty Man/The Man with No Name/The Zodiac/The Disciple and God knows how many other ring names, has a good screen presence and actually manages to say his lines without sounding ridiculous. He obviously got this part because of his enduring friendship with Hogan, but, at the same time, why didn’t he get his own low budget action movie career? I know that he appeared in a few other Hogan movies and acted on the Hogan TV show Thunder in Paradise, but that seems to be it. He doesn’t appear to have tried to do anything on his own. That’s a shame. He probably would have excelled at doing a certain kind of low budget action movie.

The Ultimate Weapon is a fairly decent low budget action flick. It has some weird as hell moments in it and I don’t understand a good chunk of the choices director Jon Cassar made for the story, but it is fairly entertaining, and that’s what matters the most. Star Hulk Hogan should have tried to do more movies like it as I’m sure he would have been a force in the low budget action movie world back in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. I know I would have watched them, whatever they may have been. At least we have The Ultimate Weapon and those two Assault on… movies he did with Carl Weathers and Shannon Tweed. Man, I need to track those movies down and check them out again. I really do.

See The Ultimate Weapon. See it, see it, see it. It is, as I write this, available on Tubi.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 25.

Explosions: Several, both big and small.

Nudity? : Briefly.

Doobage: A man runs through the woods while carrying a young child and being chased by armed men, slow motion hooey, bullet to the leg, child dropping, gun to the head, a dream/daymare, farm hooey, West Virginia, Special Forces nicknames, a Special Forces operator obstacle course with human sized metal targets, parachute hooey, silencer hooey, strangulation, multiple explosions, grenade attack, shotgun attack, more slow motion hooey, M203 grenade launcher attack, forearm to the face, helicopter stealing, grenade launcher attack from above, multiple huge explosions in slow motion, multiple rich guys, sword fighting training that the movie never references again, glass breaking, a marriage proposal, a guy with a flower painted on his body, attempted baseball attack, strip club hooey, multiple super awkward moments, finger breaking, shotgun blast to the chest, attempted truck engine fixing, a strip club brawl, table breaking, a gold necklace, attempted rape, precious egg stealing, off screen stabbing, really insensitive remarks, a drive by shooting in slow motion, cop killing, cop car stealing, attempted seduction, flash drive hooey, mansion infiltration, cigar smashing, wall climbing, guy getting thrown off a balcony, door smashing, an impromptu weapons demonstration, exploding pig target, off screen torture, multiple rape threats, attempted farm infiltration, attempted sniper rifle hooey, a leaping pickup truck, a shootout, a nifty truck side mirror trick, landmine hooey, face punching, attempted human shield, neck snap, a standoff, a big ass car crash with explosion, and a quiet walk into the sunset.

Kim Richards?: Implied but not quite.

Gratuitous: Hulk Hogan, Hulk Hogan with a really bad hairpiece, Hulk Hogan running while carrying a young child and being chased by armed men in slow motion, Hulk Hogan as a mercenary, mercenary bullshit, macho bullshit, a letter that isn’t supposed to be opened until after death, Serbia and West Virginia looking exactly the same, use of the phrase “LZ,” sword fighting training that the movie never references again, pottery wheel hooey, strip club hooey, Ed Leslie, Hulk Hogan trying to fix a pickup truck engine, a big bar brawl, Hulk Hogan’s stunt double doing a front spin kick, Ed Leslie getting punched in the face multiple times, a pancake breakfast, Hulk Hogan shirtless for no reason at all, a weapons demonstration, Hulk Hogan escaping, a leaping pickup truck, landmine hooey, and a quiet walk into the sunset.

Best lines: “Hey, how’s the barn coming?,” “Ben Cutter, you’re not the only one that can leave, you know that? But you never have to worry about me coming home in a body bag,” “Sonofabitch, you look tired. Not as tired as you, Top,” “Cobra! Hey, Cobra, over here!,” “I believe that’s the last one, Mr. Hardball,” “Those guys aren’t U.N.!,” “Let’s go, Hardball. They’ve got more guns than us,” “Only a fool tries to gain an advantage by chance. Remember that,” “Oh, yeah, Lorrie, will you be my wife?,” “I’m not here for your stash, I’m here to see Mary Kate,” “Two thousand dollars!,” “All you are is some loser who sent me a check once a year!,” “If I were you I wouldn’t go there without a mouthful of Hail Maries and a Kevlar vest,” “I swear this damn truck is possessed,” “You’re not as… old as I thought you would be,” “To be fully appreciated beauty should stand on its own,” “Would you dance for me?,” “Come on, resist. Resistance is like sugar on strawberries. It makes every bite just a little bit tastier,” “Somebody should have told those guys about seat belts,” “My God, she’s beautiful. Are you sure she’s your daughter?,” “So, you want to play, Mr. Cutter? Have I got a playroom for you!,” “Am I supposed to be impressed?,” “God, I’m good,” “This whole family is beginning to be a pain in the ass,” “You really are Daddy’s little girl,” “I’ll bleed to death before this is over,” “You better kill me with the first shot, McBride. Otherwise you’ll just piss me off,” and “Now I’ll just have to build the whole damn thing again.”

Rating: 6.8/10.0

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The Ultimate Weapon

Hulk Hogan– Ben “Hardball” Cutter
Carl Marotte– Dean
Cynthia Preston– Mary Kate
Lynne Adams– Lorrie
Daniel Pilon– McBride
Michael D’Amico– Roarke
Vlasta Vrana– Top Drummond
Sheena Larkin– Mrs. Neely
Ed Leslie– Bar Boy

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Jon Cassar
Screenplay by Robert Paul

Distributed by Avalanche Home Entertainment, Moonstone Entertainment, New City Releasing, Screen Media Ventures, and Universal Studios Home Video

Rated R for violence, language, and brief nudity.
Runtime– 94 minutes

Buy it here