All right, we're half-way through the year 2000, and still no Y2K problems, right? Remember when nothing happened on New Year's Eve, and all the survival nuts said, "Well, the viruses are just DELAYED, that's all." Well, we got the Shamu of all computer viruses in tonight's flick, "Virtual Assassin," and ex-cop martial artist Michael Dudikoff has to stop it from gettin out. Because, how do you fight a really SERIOUS virus? Kung fu, right?
I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and that reminds me, how come cops always stomp all over the crime scene? How come, every time you watch a criminal trial, there's some cop who drops a glob of potato salad on the bloody footprint, or leaves the fingerprint cards on the dashboard of his Chevy Nova and burns em up, or tracks mud all over the linoleum in the kitchen where the murder took place? I've never been a cop, and I've never been involved in a murder case, but I know how to preserve a crime scene JUST FROM WATCHIN "KOJAK."
How can this happen in 98 percent of the cases? I'm fairly sure that if I ever DID stumble on a murder scene, I'd start screamin out "Don't touch anything! Don't walk on it! Don't breath on it! Put an electrified fence around it!" How come I know this? How come EVERYBODY knows this except the cops who show up and start loungin around on the sofa, kickin off their shoes and startin a fire in the fireplace where the murderer threw his arson matches? There was a cop in the O.J. case who USED THE GOLDURN PHONE. So then they couldn't get any fingerprints to find out WHO ELSE used the phone.
They didn't have a class at the police academy where they show old episodes of "Law and Order" or something? Isn't there some old grizzled detective who stands up and tells the rookies that he'll cut their fingers off if they mess with any of the evidence? Whenever the cops finally get on the witness stand, they say stuff like, "Well, then we put the revolver in a baggie and I took it to my son's Little League game, and then I washed it in vegetable oil to get some of the rust off and make it shine, and then I gave it to Officer Wilcox, who showed it to Officer Randalson, who stuffed it in a duffel bag in his locker until Captain Giles fished it out and logged it into the evidence room, where it fell off a shelf and the grip got broken."
And then the prosecutor has to say, with a straight face, "So, other than those people and those locations, this gun was taken directly from the crime scene to the courtroom today, is that correct?" And the cop says, "Yes, that is correct." And then the judge gets blamed for throwin out the evidence and lettin loose the guy being tried for his 48th felony. Listen up: DON'T TOUCH THE GOLDURN STUFF! Okay? I do NOT wanna have to tell you guys again. Let's start the movie: cop-turned-janitor battles evil cybergeek in "Virtual Assassin." Roll it.
[fading] You know what would really be interesting? A B movie that started out with a printed quote from Stephen Hawking. Naw, they would never do anything like that.
"VIRTUAL ASSASSIN" Commericial Break #1
I didn't really get to set up this flick before we started it, so let's re-cap so far, shall we? This cop of the future accidentally got his foxy partner killed by a crazy albino, so he took to boozing it up, which is what cops do when they accidentally get their partner killed. Now he's a janitor in a company that's made a virus that can think because they've merged it with neurological protoplasm, and instead of destroying systems, it inoculates em against OTHER viruses. Or viri. And correct me if I'm wrong, but this is an ORGANIC virus, but it's stored in a computer and works like a COMPUTER virus. Even though a computer virus is just a joke word--it doesn't really mean your computer can get AIDS--but I think that's what they're saying here. Meanwhile, a loan shark is after him, and a computer nerd just helped a hacker cause a flying bus to crash cause he was having phone sex with an air traffic controller. Is that what's happened so far? I thought so. Let's do the drive-in totals, which I didn't have time for, either. We have: Seventy-one dead bodies. Three brawls. Exploding sky bus. Two exploding bad guys. Exploding cop car. Exploding cop. Exploding elevator. Belly-dancing hologram. Eye-gouging. Dagger to the neck. Choking. Hanging someone upside-down and spinning em around. Finger-bending. Kung fu. Golf club fu. Big giant wrench fu. Gratuitous baseball chatter.
[fading] Did I mention the gorgeous female computer scientist daughter of the genius behind the dangerous, uncontrollable cyber-weapon? Her name is Suki. Suki Kaiser. Cause, you know, those horny soldiers in Nam, you did get some combo-plate marriages. Right?
"VIRTUAL ASSASSIN" Commericial Break #2
Those are some well-dressed terrorists, don't you think? A lot of silver studs and black leather in the future, isn't there? Okay, we got the crazy albino madman, of course. That's the late, great Brion James as Nassim -- we'll talk about him later. We got Travis, the cowboy hacker. We got an evil blond punk guy called "Numb" -- you'll find out why in a bit. We got the Jamaican Rasta guy -- I have to assume he's the one in the credits named "Reef." And, of course, we have the girl disguised as a carpet cleaner who takes off those impractical coveralls to reveal a silver breast plate and black leather hotpants. Because that's what bad girls wear when they're stealing a computer virus that will give their boyfriends control of the world. It's all about dressing appropriately. Okay, commercials and then back to "Virtual Assassin."
[fading] In the future, they have gravity-defying metal halter-tops. Either that, or she's got that thing riveted into her collar-bone. Cantilevers those puppies at a 45-degree angle. Nice.
"VIRTUAL ASSASSIN" Commericial Break #3
What was the watch for? Was that payment for rescuing them and saving the world? I hope it's not a Swatch. Better be something Swiss-made. All right, which Rule of Filmmaking is it that says all buildings have a system of man-sized air ducts that allow anyone access to any part of the building at any time? Is it number 26? I think so. Not to mention rule number 48: they will ALWAYS fall for the "I have to go to the bathroom" trick. They'll never say, "No, that's too risky. Just pee down your leg." They never say that. They always say "Okay, COME ON." That's Michael Dudikoff in the air ducts, as Nick the cop-turned-janitor. Michael's first serious acting job was as Joanie's boyfriend on "Happy Days." Pre-Chachi. Then he was hired by Menahem Golan of Cannon Films to be groomed as their next Charles Bronson. And he ended up making a whole lotta two-word B movies: "Fugitive Mind," "Freedom Strike," "Black Thunder," "Counter Measures," "Strategic Command," "Bounty Hunters," "Crash Dive," "Moving Target," "Midnight Ride," "Platoon Leader," "Avenging Force," "American Ninja" -- he did parts one, two and four -- and, of course, "Virtual Assassin." This movie was originally called "Cyberjack," but they changed it when they realized "Cyberjack" was only one word. Okay, ads and then back to the flick.
[fading] Michael Dudikoff. One of those Russian Jew martial artists. VERY dangerous people.
"VIRTUAL ASSASSIN" Commericial Break #4
J.B.: Did Michael Dudikoff just grab a big handful of silicone implant baggies off a stool? Replicators! Yes indeed, they DO replicate those puppies, don't they? And now we're deep deep deep into the cat-and-mouse part of the flick. Have I ever mentioned that I hate cat-and-mouse?
RUSTY: About a hundred times. Which is why I thought it'd be a good time for "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless."
J.B.: I love it when you take initiative, Rusty.
RUSTY: Thank you. [they both just sit there]
J.B.: So you wanna give me a letter now?
RUSTY: Oh! Yeah. This is from David H. Hawley of Murray, Kentucky.
J.B.: Little slow on the uptake, there.
RUSTY: You usually make a little chit-chat first.
J.B.: That was the old days. Nowadays if I talk too long, the high sheriffs send an electric current through my chair that shocks me on the butt.
"Dear Joe Bob,
"I'm on your side, Joe Bob, really; but I really do wish you would get the distinction between semi-automatic and automatic (also called fully automatic) fire clear. The difference is that a semi-automatic gun only fires once each time you pull the trigger, no matter how fast you pull the trigger (and if you yank it as fast as you can, you can empty the gun pretty quick, without hitting anything on purpose). Automatic, or fully automatic, guns fire continuously as long as the trigger is held down until they run dry or jam.
"The public's confusion about this has caused a lot of harm to the exercise of our 2nd Amendment rights. That's how the so-called 'assault weapons' ban got passed: everybody thought (wrongly) that semi-automatic meant machine guns, which are fully, not semi-, automatic. I'm sure you're not perpetuating this error on purpose, but your careless use of the language contributes to the difficulties we face in upholding and defending the Constitution. Okay?
David H. Hawley,
David, you're absolutely right, and I'll try to be more specific in the future. Semi-automatic -- that's not illegal, right?
RUSTY: Not where I learned to shoot.
RUSTY: The Air Force.
J.B.: Right. Hey, why don't you take me out sometime and show me what real fire power is.
RUSTY: Mm, I don't know.
J.B.: Come on, Rus -- me, you, and ten inches of cold, hard steel, if you know what I mean.
RUSTY: Well, THAT deserves a shock on the butt.
RUSTY: You weren't kidding?
J.B.: No, I wasn't kidding!
RUSTY: I think I like this new rule.
"VIRTUAL ASSASSIN" Commericial Break #5
[fading] When Brion died, Corey Feldman told the papers that he was, quote, "the sweetest, kindest, most beautiful person." They knew each other from AA meetings. And if Corey Feldman says the guy was okay, then the guy must've been OKAY. But my question is: What did Corey HAIM think? That's the real test of a person's character.
"VIRTUAL ASSASSIN" Commericial Break #6
Okay, we're losing altitude fast, aren't we? Did that guy just get injected with a COMPUTER VIRUS? I still think they've got the whole virus thing messed up. There was a screenwriter who actually thought a virus in a computer and a virus in a test tube were the SAME THING. And now Nick is being chased by a police probe that looks like a disembodied outboard motor, but he won't tell it that there's an evil terrorist knocking people off every five minutes down the hall. Dr. Royce used his daughter's name as the final password that unlocks the maximum-strength computer virus. Wasn't that SNEAKY? Didn't the guy see "WarGames"? Oh, and the screenwriters forgot to put one thing in this story: PLOT TWISTS. Is everybody just gonna wander around the office hallways for the rest of the flick, or what? Thank goodness we have the baseball game to keep us engrossed. We haven't had too many references to that. In fact, let's check the score after the commercials, when we get back to the exciting finale of "Virtual Assassin."
[fading] Nassim will be able to direct the virus with his thought waves. Did they program it for that? It seems like the kinda thing you'd have to tell a computer program ahead of time, you know? I mean, that would be like sticking Microsoft Word in your brain and then being able to run a spell-check on your neighbor. Actually, I would buy that.
"VIRTUAL ASSASSIN" Outro
So the green-laser-eye effect goes through the headphones and turns everyone into mindless zombies as the virus bounces back and forth between the computer and the insane guy . . . shouldn't they explain these rules at the beginning? They didn't talk about zombies, did they? When did we get the zombie army? Okay, next week, a sexy computer scientist and her boyfriend try to stop an evil high-tech geek from taking over the world. It's "Virtual Assassin" again! No, it's "Replikator." It IS a different movie. Check the "MonsterVision" website for proof: tnt.turner.com/ joebob.
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you women that if you think you're fat, you probably are.
You guys hear the one about Sven and Ole, who worked together and were both laid off? So off they go to the unemployment office. The clerk asks Ole his occupation, and Ole says, "Panty stitcher. I sew the elastic onto cotton panties." The clerk looks up panty stitcher, and finds it classified as unskilled labor, so she gives him $300 a week unemployment pay. Clerk asks Sven his occupation. Sven says, "Diesel fitter." Clerk sees diesel fitter is a skilled job, so she gives Sven $600 a week. Ole finds out about this and is furious. He storms back into the unemployment office to find out why his friend and co-worker is collecting double his pay. Clerk explains that panty stitchers are unskilled and diesel fitters are skilled labor. Ole yells, "What skill? I sew the elastic on, Sven pulls on it and says, 'Yep, deese'll fit her.'"
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] You guys hear about the guy that lost his left arm and leg in a car crash? He's all right now.
Two and half stars
Joe Bob says check it out.