Video Review by Liz La Point

“Desert Heat”video44
Directed by John G. Auildan
Columbia TriStar, 1999
95 minutes

Desert Heat (aka Inferno and Coyote Moon) is so bad that all the films you thought were bad suddenly look like masterpieces in comparison. This movie is one giant piece of poop. It uses every single action/western cliche in the book. The movie suffers from delusions of grandeur; it thinks it’s special but in reality it doesn’t have an original bone in its body.

Jean-Claude Van Damme is Eddie Lornax, the mysterious stranger who is on a revenge mission. The bad guys have committed the ultimate sin, they stole his motorcycle. Well, I guess they left Eddie for dead too, but they took the bike for cryin’ out loud! Anyway, he recovers with the help of his wise old Native American buddy who he was on his way to visit when the rednecks from hell came along. He goes into town alone to reclaim his bike and meets all sorts of supposedly interesting townsfolk.

While in “Smalltownsville”, he has some wacky adventures and picks up a couple of wacky sidekicks. This movie is full of old recycled television stars, like Pat Morita (“Arnold” from Happy Days), as one of the sidekicks, and Larry Drake (“Benny” from L.A. Law).

As the macho hero of the film, Eddie flexes his muscles and kicks ass. The fight scenes aren’t even good. Then he has the obligatory gratuitous slutty sex scene, of course because that’s what mysterious strangers in Smalltownsville do after blowing away some bad guys. The whole scene is so unbelievably terrible, it’s cringe-inducing. It would have to win the Worst Sex Scene in a Film Award.

It’s kind of funny how nobody seems to notice Eddie’s accent. And what was up with the character of Mr. Singh? He’s a restaurant owner who is clearly supposed to be Indian because he has an Indian accent and the name of his place is the Bomb Bay Cafe I (cheesy!), but they have him dressed in old Arabian clothing! And he’s played by a white guy (Vincent Schievelli)! The dolts had him dress in the wrong ethnic clothes and threw sorne self-tanning lotion on his face and decided he would do as their Arabian/Indian dude. Ridiculous!

Could this movie have been any more predictable and formulaic? It has the sappiest happy ending I’ve seen in a long time. If there was a problem earlier in the film it was now completely solved. The movie hits you over the head with guy-movie cliches, then tries to be sentimental and sweet all at once at the end.

Save your money and rent She-Devils on Wheels instead. If you are watching TV and it happens to come on, change the channel as fast as you can. Don’t say nobody warned you.

M.M.M.

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