Shitty Movie Sundays: Rapid Fire (1989)

Rapid Fire 1989 movie posterProlific b-action auteur David A. Prior graces the pages of Shitty Movie Sundays once again, with 1989’s Rapid Fire, a direct-to-video shoot-em-up that barely makes sense. But, that’s okay. That’s just how we like them.

A daring jailbreak has occurred. The most dangerous terrorist in the world, Mustapha (Del Zamora), has been captured and is being held aboard a battleship (played by the USS Alabama, moored as a museum ship in Mobile). A very bad man, Eddy Williams (Michael Wayne), has boarded the ship disguised as a naval officer. He is toting a rather large and slapdash supergun in a case, which he breaks out and uses to free Mustapha. Check out the poster. That’s a weapon to rival that found in Equalizer 2000.

Agent Hansen (Joe Spinell, in his last film role), from some…agency…has to find Mustapha before he commits another unspeakable atrocity. Since Hansen is not the hero of the movie, he calls in Mike Thompson (Ron Waldron) to track down Mustapha, because Mike has an old beef with Williams.

The two were soldiers together during the Vietnam War, and they did not get along. So much so that Williams left Mike wounded for dead after a battle, and, to add insult to injury, stole the supergun. Mike has been dreaming of revenge ever since.

That’s about it for any coherence in the plot. Afterwards, Prior, who wrote the screenplay with frequent collaborator William Zipp, moves pieces about with no other aim than to get Mike in trouble. Mustapha’s involvement as a major character ends at this point, as well. Once Mike learns who he’s after, and Williams, in turn, learns who is chasing him, the film turns into a grudge match to see which character can kill the other first.

Williams leads a motley group of Alabama locals as his henchmen, while Mike is aided by Corie (Dawn Tanner), another agent whose partner was killed by Mustapha, and Douglas Harter as Pappy, a bald and bearded local gangster/hustler, who is a true treat in the film.

As best I can gather, Harter hooked up with Prior when he ran craft services for the many movies Prior filmed in the Mobile area. Harter is one of those guys that viewers can tell is a character even when the cameras stop rolling, and it’s understandable that Prior would want to put him in a movie, so he could share Harter with the rest of us. Indeed, there’s some footage at the end of the film of Harter wrestling a brown bear in a bar that must have been captured on film during one of the crew’s nights out. Prior knew Harter’s limitations as an actor, though, and made sure this film did not have too much of a good thing.

Shitty firefights and car chases abound! From the opening escape aboard the Alabama, to the fiery climax, the only thing worth paying attention to in Rapid Fire are the action scenes, with their inescapable moments of moviemaking mirth. My personal favorite shitty action moment is when some of Williams’s henchmen carry out a driveby shooting in a 1987 Plymouth Voyager — the kind with faux wood paneling on the side. Yeah, that’s the good stuff.

Then there is the moment during the climax, when Williams is raining fire on Mike, and he takes cover behind some wooden pallets. Take a look:

Ron Waldron shooting behind some pallets


That’s Mike there behind the pallets. We’re supposed to believe those stop incoming bullets. That’s one of the more lazy moments I’ve seen in a shitty movie. I have a hard time believing there wasn’t anything more believable that could have been found for Mike to take cover behind, yet Prior saw those pallets and thought, “That’ll do.” Extraordinary.

Rapid Fire is the sixth movie from David A. Prior that has been entered into the Watchability Index, and I have yet to be disappointed by him, or any other flick from the Action International Pictures stable. This one takes over the #178 spot from Soldier. Check it out.

Genres and stuff:
Tags , , ,
Some of those responsible:
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,