If there's one thing I can say in Michael Gold's favor, it's that he's excellent when it comes to time management. Rather than dilly-dallying until dinner, he stays in the beggar disguise and sneaks into Professor Braun's apartment. The apartment is guarded by Manuel and Roberta, who are on the lookout for Gold, but no one ever said anything about stopping 14th century Arabian beggars, so you can see why they'd let him pass. Unfortunately, Gold sets off a silent alarm while snooping around the apartment and Kalishnakov himself shows up on the scene. Together with Manuel and Roberta, he gives chase to Gold, but they can't catch him. No one can. He's the Crow.
SHE'S KGB, TURN AROUND.
After donning a spiffy suit, Gold heads to the restaurant. Alissa is already there waiting for him, and so is her chest. She's wearing a blue dress that emphasizes the fact that yes, Virginia, she does have cleavage. She will conveniently enough be wearing this same dress from the rest of the movie. How thoughtful of her. They talk briefly about finding Braun, but it's tough to fit in too much about that boring old plot stuff when there's so much halfassed flirting to be done. The high point of the conversation has got to be when Gold whips out the classic line, "I don't like to put price tags on women. I prefer taking them off." WHAT? What does that even mean? I mean, I know what it's supposed to mean, but it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you think about it. When do women have price tags on them? I guess if they just bought an article of clothing and forgot to take the tags off. He could derive some sort of sick pleasure from pointing that out and tearing off the tags himself, but that's some sort of Freudian gray area that I'd rather not delve into any deeper.
Gold and Alissa go straight from the restaurant to the residence of Professor Rice, one of Professor Braun's colleagues. When they find him, the scientist is already dying from some invisible injury. In fact, now that I think about it, it's sort of strange that they don't even try to help him. There's nothing to suggest that the bad guys killed him, although that's clearly what we're supposed to think. It's possible the guy was just having a heart attack, in which case Gold and Alissa probably could have saved him. Huh. Odd. Anyway, on their way out of the building, they spot two armed guards waiting for them. Gold shoots one, then is struck dumb with surprise when Alissa pulls a gun out of God knows where and kills the other. I'm not really sure why he's surprised, though. After all, she's KGB, remember? I mean, we all heard this. Well, Gold and Alissa really hit the jackpot on this one. It just so happened that the armed guards were there to guard a VW bus full of assault rifles and explosives. Because you'd need a bus full of major firepower to kill two people. So Alissa hops in the driver's seat, Gold climbs in back, the mercenary song flares up on the stereo, and it's time for a terrible chase sequence!
Suddenly I have a craving for a Twinkee.
The chase is the centerpiece of the first half of the film, which is a shame, because it's really quite bad. It's sort of like the driving scenes in "Terminator 2," where one person is driving and the others are shooting out behind them, only this sucks. Kalishnakov and a nameless soldier chase after them in one car, Manuel and Roberta chase after them in another, and about a hundred other random soldier give pursuit in all sorts of other vehicles. Naturally, every bullet Gold fires kills somebody, but Alissa and Gold make it through without so much as a scratch. At one point a car full of enemy soldiers drives directly into the water. I don't mean the car swerves into the water or doesn't make a turn in time or anything like that. The car isn't even chasing after Gold and Alissa. There are no shots fired and nobody else in the shot. The car starts on a one way course into the water and it's actually more of a surprise when they don't turn at the last second and do actually drive right over the edge of the dock. Stuff like this really makes me appreciate the car chase in "The Matrix Reloaded" even more than I already do.
While Gold is shooting people and blowing them up, Alissa is driving like a maniac while closing her eyes and writhing in ecstasy at the feel of the wind rushing against her bosom. God, I can't even type out her actions without feeling like I'm writing softcore porn. It's a wonder that she never gets naked. However, Manuel and Roberta also crash in the water and when they come out, Roberta's shirt is clinging to her unsupported breasts. This is when Manuel apparently discovers that his sergeant is a woman. This is supposed to be funny, but it really isn't, because she's obviously a woman. Well, "obviously" may be a strong term, since really she only looks and sounds like a woman. They haven't said her name yet at this point in the movie, and working alongside her, Manuel certainly never would have heard it. Anyway, Manuel spends the rest of the movie hitting on Roberta, and audiences everywhere spend the rest of the movie made completely flaccid by his inept attempts to hit on her in English when he clearly doesn't know the language. Or else he does know the language and he's just retarded, and retards are just not sexy. I swear to God, if you disagree with me on that last point, I don't want to hear about it.
In his desert stronghold, Eckhardt meets with the captive Professor Braun. Eckhardt wants him to build a laser with the giant diamond that they stole at the very beginning of the movie. Yeah, that diamond. Braun refuses, but Eckhardt has another method of persuasion. He takes Braun into a room filled with incredibly fake looking severed heads. We're talking fifth-graders and papier mache-fake, here. Nonetheless, Eckhardt swears that if Braun does not do as he says, his daughter's head will join the others in that room. I don't know, maybe he feels it's finally time to put a real head in there or something.
Me. Movie. Hate.
Having escaped from Kalishnakov and the others, Gold and Alissa drive on through the desert together, exchanged shitty dialogue that doesn't advance the plot whatsoever. It does, however, bring up the point that Gold is suspicious of Alissa really being Braun's daughter. He's also suspicious of whether or not she's really just a civilian. The obvious answer is, "of course she isn't. She's fucking KGB. The CIA told you that already." But whatever. As they near the border of Namibia (finally, a real country!), they spot an army outpost in their path. Granted, they're pretty much out in the middle of open space, so they could probably manage to drive far enough around it that they don't run into any problems, but since time is of the essence they instead decide that the only course of action is to drive straight through and kill anyone who tries to stop them.
In a basic repeat of the car chase scene, Alissa drives while Gold sits in back with a gun out the side of the bus and lays waste to everyone in a two-mile radius. Once again, neither Gold nor Alissa suffers the slightest scratch or gets so much as dust on their clothing, but every soldier in the freaking base is annihilated. At one point a group of soldiers rush out of huts in front of their path, and while we hear rapid gunfire, they fall down dead as quickly as they came onscreen. Now that just chaps my caboose. With a gun out the door on the driver's side, there is no way that Gold could shoot people directly in front of and to the right of the bus. He can shoot behind them through the rear windshield and he can shoot to the left of the bus, but he'd have to shoot past Alissa's head to get people ahead of them, and the front windshield of the bus remains completely intact. Ergo, that shot is one hundred percent impossible. I demand recognition from the physics community and a written apology from BJ Davis.
Man, you can really see the battle scars. Oh wait. No. No you can't.
This time, though, a couple soldiers finally do some damage. Once Gold and Alissa are out of the camp, a jeep follows them and a soldier manages to hit them with a rocket on his third try. The bus explodes. However, by that point, Gold and Alissa are at least a hundred yards away on foot. Don't ask me how. We never see them leap from the bus, and someone is clearly driving through the hail of rockets. Man, you know you're a good secret agent when you can bend the time-space continuum to give your enemies the slip. They're right out in the open, but the soldiers in the jeep completely miss their quarry running away on foot, so they pull off another miraculous escape after all. Oh, and they're still completely unscathed.
Gold and Alissa begin their long walk to their destination, which is a scant four hundred miles away. But they should make it to Eckhardt's stronghold in no time. After all, it's not like time is of the essence or anything. Oh wait. So, they walk through the burning desert, with the scorching sun beating down upon them. Even so, they still don't get sweaty and disgusting. Just nicely misted to give their skin that special glisten. When they stop for a quick break, Gold finally screws up enough courage to point out that she can shoot like a pro and can out-drive an entire army, so she must be with some sort of government agency. Of course, it's a silly point to bring up at all since he was told long ago that she's with the KGB. Nonetheless, Alissa becomes indignant and storms off. Women - can't live with 'em, can't accuse them of being highly trained secret government agents. Apparently reconciled, Gold and Alissa continue to walk and soon come upon a random drunk in the middle of the desert. The drunk knows who they are and who is after them, because that's the sort of thing that random drunk American guys who hang out in the middle of deserts just know. He lets them camp with him for the night, and they do, because an unfamiliar person who knows everything about them but reveals nothing about himself can clearly be trusted.
Uh oh, Robin Williams is unhappy.
Elsewhere, Kalishnakov instructs his partner Eckhardt and his team of assassins to find our heroes and make them not quite as alive as they currently are. The next morning, Gold and Alissa wake up - still perfectly clean and beautiful after a day of fighting and a night of sleeping on the sand - but the drunk is nowhere in sight. They start walking and soon come upon what looks like a long-abandoned outpost of some sort. They stop for a moment, which is just enough time for the first of Eckhardt's men, a black guy with serious common sense issues, to miss both of them with an arrow. That's right, he is able to find two people in the middle of a massive desert and get the drop on them, but he's not smart enough to bring a fucking gun. If he had an automatic weapon, they'd both be dead right now. But no, he had to bring a bow and a freaking sword. Gold and Alissa both pull out their pistols and kill the everloving crap out of the guy. Then Alissa steals his sword. That'll teach him.
The second assassin find them as they're walking again. This guy is on horseback, which gives him a definite speed advantage. However, those of you who have ever ridden on a horse at full gallop know that it's not very conducive to aiming a rifle. Gold and Alissa actually come to a complete stop when they see the guy coming, but he can't hit them at all. Gold, however, has no problem shooting him square in the chest with his pistol at a distance of at least a few hundred feet. The horse gets away clean.
Oh man, now Robin Williams is really unhappy.
Gold and Alissa spot the third hitman not too long after that. He's just walking after them. They pretend to ignore him and keep going straight ahead. Gold hides under the sand, and when the guy gets close, he pops out and trips him. We don't actually see Gold getting into position, so I have to wonder just how he managed to accomplish that feat without the hitman seeing the whole thing. Just one of many mysteries that surround "Laser Mission." Gold and the hitman get into a fistfight, which Gold naturally wins. He gets the hitman to confess that Eckhardt sent him. Gold turns away, prepared to just leave him there, which could be the dumbest move in the history of secret agents. If a bad guy can't be knocked out or killed with a single blow, he's obviously too powerful to turn your back on. Luckily Alissa shrieks like a schoolgirl before the hitman can take out Gold from behind. She leaps onto the guy's back lamely. In response, he swings her around like a sack of potatoes. The KGB may have trained Alissa to shoot and to drive in combat situations, but she can't fight worth shit. Once she gets flung off, she does go and find the second guy's horse, though, so she's not entirely worthless in this scene. Meanwhile, Gold gives the hitman a sound walloping. After beating a man to death Gold and Alissa embrace randomly, then climb on the horse and abandon the body in the middle of the desert. Oh, and they're both still spotless.
‘Toad coin?’ wondered the traveler as he examined the pebble. It did not look all that different from any other pebble, and certainly nothing like a coin. ‘What manner of coin has no head or tail, and bears no seal or flag? Who backs this toad coin, the toad bank? The toad treasury!?’ The traveler laughed, but the toads croaked sternly back at him.
Spending $10-15 a day on perishable organic dog food is not a sign of a decadent culture in terminal decline, it's actually real good and worth it.
No lifeguard on duty. Maze run at your own risk.
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