Twitter Plot Summary: Lasko, a soldier-turned-monk, has to stop bad guy Arnold Vosloo from releasing a virus on a train. So far, so Under Siege 2.
Director: Diethard Kuster
Key Cast: Arnold Vosloo, Mathis Landwehr, Stephan Bieker, Ken Bones, Simon Dutton, Michelle MacErlean,
Five Point Summary:
1. It’s Under Siege 2 but with monks instead of Steven Seagal.
2. If you’re going to pretend to be a monk, wear appropriate footwear.
3. Arnold Vosloo. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
4. Ooh, a helicopter!
5. Explosions! From all angles! Brilliant!
There’s a strong possibility that made for TV movies are the bane of all existence and designed to make people suffer. With some notable exceptions aside, the recent Behind The Candelabra for example, the majority feature cheap stories, cheap production values and equally cheap acting. Anything shown on daytime TV, or Channel 5 in the UK, is usually a significant culprit.
Spun out from that popular German TV series Lasko: Die Faust Gottes (yeah, me neither), the titular Lasko is a monk who used to be a soldier, and now at the appropriate time (like when he’s about to beat up a villain) describes himself as The Fist of God. Okay then… He and his colleagues board a train which is conveniently about to have a deadly virus released on it by a band of terrorists led by Arnold Vosloo, of all people. The train’s full of pilgrims on their way to Lourdes, so the fact it’s being targeted by terrorists shouldn’t really surprise me. It’s up to Lasko, his chubby sidekick Matthias, and another older monk who’s name eludes me, to put a stop to their evil plans.
Lasko’s haunted by his time in the army, and we get frequent flashbacks to the SAME sequence. To give his story any emotional impact it would have been better to see multiple incidents that caused him to question his role, rather than the same one being played again and again. So some innocent people were killed – we get it. Now move on and show us something else. Vosloo is rather good as the villain – he plays it as if he’s starring in a big budget Hollywood film, which certainly helps.
Fans of explosions are well catered for, despite the relatively low production costs. In fact, this film’s particularly notable for doing the old-school action thing of filming the explosion from every angle (and I mean EVERY angle) and then putting all of them into the film. I’m pretty sure that at least half of the film’s running time is taken up by explosions from every conceivable angle. You can’t accuse them of not getting their money’s worth at least.
Reading the IMDB entry for the film made me laugh – the only plot keywords available are “exploding helicopter”. Well yes indeed, there is an exploding helicopter (which explodes from multiple angles, naturally), but surely the additional tags of “monk” and “train” would have been appropriate? It also made me giggle when I found out that the director’s name is Diethard – very close to a certain film franchise starring Bruce Willis. It’s quite appropriate given that this film transposes the Under Siege 2 story, which was itself transposed from Under Siege, which then itself was transposed from the Die Hard formula. That’s a lot of transposing. So from that way of thinking, does that make this a 4th generation Die Hard clone? Answers on a postcard.
Anyway, back on track (hah! I made a funny!). I’ve seen much worse TV movie fare over the years, and for the most part Death Train holds up as an extended TV episode, if not a movie in itself. Sadly I don’t have any inclination to watch the TV series, but as a filler for a Saturday afternoon it’s perfect “disengage your brain” material.
Favourite scene: Lasko, stood atop the train and minus his monk’s robes, beats up some bad guys. Then a helicopter explodes.
Quote: “My name for today… is Lucifer. Look on the bright side, you’re used to suffering.”
Silly Moment: Any time something blows up, you get to see the explosion from all angles.