Some movies are SO incredibly bad that it’s hard to hate them when you’re nearly dying from laughing so hard at and with them. 1988’s not quite epic action (yet must-see if you love really terrible films) masterpiece, Bulletproof is one of those films for a whole load of reasons from having Gary Busey as its star to the tricked out (and stupidly large) Thunderblast tank that looks as if it was designed by a room full of 12 year old boys with a box of plastic model tank kits he’s after once it’s stolen and taken to Mexico or something.
Actually, the brain-frying plot isn’t even important as much as watching Busey as Frank “Bulletproof” McBain blow away “butthorns”, survive all sorts of death threats and attempts, try hard to get the girl and even play the saxaphone at one point. You’ll probably start grinning less than two minutes in and once the laughs start, they’ll be hard to stop as one scene tops another for sheer overkill or just plain “WTF did I just watch”-ness. Of course, seeing Busey in too-tight jeans running around shooting up the scenery might put you off your food, but just watch the bodies fall or avert your eyes if you feel the need to…
Anyway, McBain is your stereotypical anti-establishment jerk but also the right man for the job as he’s crazy as a cat driving cross country to pick up its dog from the airport. Yeah, the movie makes about as much sense as that last sentence, but again – it’s so intentionally campy that you can’t look away. Well, if you’re made easily dizzy by spinning things, there’s ONE truly classic scene that will have your eyeballs rolling in your head and you rolling on the floor in a laughing fit. Poor McBain gets tied to one of those giant wire spools you sometimes see at construction sites and yes, it’s near a slope. Let’s just say if you’re not laughing when McBain goes rolling away, you have no sense of fun and were probably raised by wolves or something.
This movie is SO great in it’s awfulness that it’s really hard to hate. This is primarily due to the perfect casting of Busey as the lead, Darlanne Fluegel and Thalmus Rasulala as kidnapped government agents that need a rescue and Henry Silva, Rene Enriquez and Danny Trejo as some of the bad guys McBain has to deal with. There are also a ton of disposable stuntmen getting shot up, knifed, blown up and otherwise insulted by Busey here and the film is never boring even when it goes for a “romance” angle. Just the thought of Busey getting busy with a hottie here is brain-scrambling enough, but the film includes a love scene that may end up making you choke on whatever you’re drinking or eating at its finale. You’ll see and (you may want earplugs, by the way for that sax solo afterwards).
Everything here screams cheap excess. The film is violent, but (other than a few squib shots) in a more cartoon manner that makes it very funny throughout. Hell, McBain gets his nickname from being able to take a few bullets and not expire (yes, the movie shows his collection of bullets at one point and NO, he doesn’t catch them in his huge horse teeth), that spool ride he takes would definitely kill a normal person (or they’d die from embarrassment) and yeah, Russian and Mexican forces working together to steal that Thunderblast is a pretty big “Huh?” plot device. Then again, adding ANY rules of reality to this film is nothing more than an exercise in futility. Thankfully, director Steve Carver has a snappy enough style that keeps things zipping along for just over 90 minutes (longer and this one wears out its welcome). The bad guys all die in the usual ways you’d expect, McBain gets that tank and the girl (maybe?) and all is right in the world.
It’s too bad that this one’s pretty much forgotten unless it pops up on cable (it’s been a few years) or someone has a working VCR (I’ve never seen this dog on DVD, but I do have it on tape), as it’s one of the funniest action movies I can recall that works perfectly because it doesn’t take itself seriously. Sure, it’s pure paycheck quality all the way (that stupidly large tank probably was where the bulk of the budget went) and if you can track this down or watch it in a great quality manner online legally, I say you need to do so sooner than later. McBain just may show up at your door if you don’t (and you really don’t want that to happen). Yes, this is a recommendation, and that’s an order!