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Supreme Sanction (1999)

File this one under "Adequate but lackluster."

Kristy Swanson (hubba-hubba) is Jenna, a sniper-assassin for the super-secret counter-terrorist Alpha Section, who has just come to the startling realization that her killing people sometimes makes other people (gasp!) unhappy.  This job dissatisfaction manifests itself the morning she's assigned to terminate a man who turns out to be a famous journalist, out on the beach with his daughter.  What kind of heartless wench could shoot a man in front of his daughter?  Not Jenna, of course.  But in order to get away she has to evade or kill four other agents who apparently have been waiting to make sure she completes her assignment.  (Not a lot of employer trust in this organization, apparently.)

She then has to stay one step ahead of her immediate supervisor (Michael Madsen) and the Director of Alpha Section (Ron Perlman) while keeping the journalist from being killed.  Fortunately, she has an unofficial gadget-man on her side, feeding her weapons and equipment (think James Bond's Q done hip-hop).

The premise, as they say on Law & Order promos, is "ripped from today's headlines" -- or at least, ripped from yesterday's Internet conspiracy wackos.  Alpha Section is a counter terrorist organization, see, and with international terrorism on the wane, they're trying to get themselves assigned to domestic terrorism; in fact, they've been "creating" insurgent situations so that they will be seen as necessary and their funding will be increased.

And what prevents this premise from blossoming into a good movie   (movie review and essays in our writing english homework help service)?

One person:  The person who decided to cast Kristy Swanson as the lead.

Don't get me wrong -- she's beautiful, and a passable actress, and I wish her all the best in her career.  But didn't the producers remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer?  That was the whole punchline:  Swanson played an action hero who didn't seem at all like an action hero.  Ha ha, very funny.  But here she's cast as an action hero who's supposed to be an action hero, and she just can't pull it off.  They even have her swearing to make her seem tough, but all her potty-mouth routine does is make her sound like a bitchy club-hopper at 2 AM.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in her scenes opposite Dalton (Michael Madsen).  If ever there was a man who chewed nails, it's Madsen; they even had to tone him down for this flick by having him wear a Hawaiian shirt the whole time, and he still looks like he should be dealing with this prissy little Barbie doll without breaking a sweat.

There were a couple of commendable sequences -- the use of slo-mo in the initial action scenes was well done, and the jumping-on-the-bed scene was brilliant -- but hey, this is was made-for-cable, and the last thing it wants to do is exceed anyone's expectations or turn any heads.

 

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