You know, when I was a kid, me and my buddy made a Star Wars movie using my dad’s video camera. Of course, we didn’t have any money for special effects so what we did was walk down a hallway and say, “I’m heading off in my X-Wing, see ya later” then cut to footage from Empire Strikes Back of an X-Wing flying through space. Watching Rangers sorta reminded me of that old movie we made.
In the beginning of the movie, when the Rangers are about to go on a mission, we first see them in a plane. Then when they are about to jump out, there’s a bunch of footage from Navy Seals of Charlie Sheen and company doing the actual stunt. When the Rangers are on the ground and about to get into a shootout, they hide behind a wall. Then when they turn the corner and fire their guns, the flick switches over to a scene from The Delta Force where lots of Arab dudes get shot up. The stock footage baiting-and-switching gets so bad at one point that the soldiers have to change clothes before crossing the street in order for the stock footage to match (they go from being dressed “undercover” as Arabs to their uniforms in every other building it seems like). Halfway through the movie I said to myself, “Shit man, I should’ve just watched Navy Seals instead. Heck, even Delta Force would’ve been better than this crap!”
The stuff in between the scenes from other better movies is pretty bottom of the barrel. The action they bothered to film themselves is lame and the acting is even worse. Then again, what do you expect when you cast Matt McCoy, the pseudo-Guttenberg from Police Academy 5 and 6 as your hero? This guy is totally unconvincing as an Army Ranger. Watch him when he fires his gun; he flinches EVERY time he pulls the trigger.
Now usually, I don’t review Special Features on a DVD but because the flick was directed by my buddy Jim Wynorski (using the pseudonym “Jay Andrews”), I figured I’d listen to the commentary with him and McCoy while I was fiddling around on the internet. Turns out, this was one of the best commentaries I’ve ever heard. It’s way better than the movie itself.
Both Wynorski and McCoy are well aware of what kind of movie they’re making and are not above making fun of it, Mystery Science Theater style. Full of self-deprecating humor and tongue in cheek jabs, the commentary is a fun listen and makes you wish that some of that same spirit went into the movie itself. McCoy in particular shows a flair for comedy and makes you wish he had a chance to be half as funny in the actual film. My favorite part was when they’re discussing how to make an American back alley look like another country. Turns out all you have to do is put in a lot of trash cans with burning fires in them. “Nothing says ‘foreign country’ like burning trash cans!” Wynorski’s comments are pretty revealing too and make for a better film school than most colleges offer. Even better is that Wynorski gives a full confession to what movies he stole from too.
So, One Star for the movie. Four for the commentary. Do yourself a favor and bypass watching the movie on it’s own and just listen to the commentary. Plot wise, you won’t be missing anything, but you’ll have a lot more fun hearing about the making of the movie than actually watching it.