ere's the thing: I really don't care that the filmmakers
of "Counterstrike" decided to make the President of the United States
a woman, but why in the world does the President dress like a plain
housewife? You'd think that going to a historical summit with her
Chinese counterpart would mean more appropriate attire was in order. For that
matter, why is a historical summit between America and China regarding
nuclear freeze and the possibility of world peace taking place onboard a cruise
ship? Isn't security the main reason why summits usually take place in locales
such as Camp David?
Also, although the cruise ship is off limits to normal
guests, why is an actor and his co-star allowed to join the voyage? Then again,
it's trying to make sense of things like the premise of
"Counterstrike" that gets me in trouble in the first place.
"Counterstrike" looks and feels like a made-for-cable movie, and
that's probably because it is. (And it wasn't even made for premium cable, but
basic cable, which explains the constant fading out every 15 minutes or so.)
Unfortunately, "Counterstrike" is just as vacuous as most
made-for-basic cable TV movies. For instance, although the cruise ship is
supposed to go into a voluntary media blackout (which means no communication
with the outside world, as if, once again, this makes any sense whatsoever)
apparently the President allows one of her Secret Service agent to have a ham
radio for him to keep in touch with the family back home.
The film stars Rob Estes as Tom Kellogg, an ATF agent who,
along with big brother Vince (Joe Lando), a Secret Service agent in charge of
protecting the President, has to thwart a terrorist hi-jack of the cruise ship.
(See, I told you setting your historical summit on a damn cruise ship
wasn't such a bright idea.) As it turns out, one of the actors allowed onboard
(apparently to teach the two Presidents Tai Chi, or some similar farfetched
reason the writers came up with) is Marie Matiko ("The Art of War")
and she's in cahoots with the bad guys. The terrorists are made up of American
ex-military "patriots" who thinks peace with China is a bad idea, and
wants to steal the Chinese's nuclear codes in order to give it to Taiwan, since
according to our brilliant writers, tiny Taiwan, which is being constantly
threatened with annihilation by giant China, is the real enemy of peace.
Conveniently, the Chinese President is such a dummy that
he'll actually carry all of his country's nuclear launch codes in a suitcase
being carried around by a skinny guy. And oh yeah, the bad guys snuck a bunch of
guns onboard the cruise ship in a lead suitcase because, as one thug helpfully
points out, "lead suitcases can't be x-ray". Yes, that makes perfect
sense, unless having a suitcase that "can't be x-ray" onboard the same
cruise ship as the one with the American President is acceptable. Oh my head. Must...numb...brain...!
Before you can say, "Hey, wait a minute, isn't this
the plot of 'Speed
2'?" the terrorists take over the cruise ship, with only
Vince still on the loose. Meanwhile, Tom has since discovered Monica's
involvement with the terrorists, but since the President decided to set her historical
summit onboard a cruise ship that is conveniently blacked out from the rest
of the world, they don't warn the ship in time. But if you'll remember, Vince
had that ham radio of his, which was also conveniently exempted from that whole
media blackout rule. Gosh, it's a good thing "Counterstrike" is
All of this leads me to one thing: Is Richard P. Henrick's
book, from which this movie was adapted, as confoundedly stupid as this movie's
screenplay? If so, why did someone buy the rights to a book with such a shoddy
premise just to transfer said premise to movie form? It boggles the mind. And
since "Counterstrike" is just a TV movie with all the commercials
taken out, the action, as well as the acting, ranges from mediocre to barely
acceptable. This includes Marie Matiko, an actor I adore, who is terrible here.
The movie is essentially Joe Lando and Rachel Blakely,
whose character is conveniently Tom's girlfriend (as if having Lando be Tom's
brother wasn't convenient enough), as they go all "Die Hard" on the
terrorist. Later, Tom shows up by parachuting onboard the cruise ship. And yes,
the whole thing is as ill conceived as it sounds. Then again, everything is so
blatantly ludicrous, maybe there are some "so bad it's good" points to
be had. Of course, a trip to the corner store for some six-pack would be in
order, since alcohol tends to numb the brain and distort logical reasoning, and
that's absolutely necessary when viewing "Counterstrike".
Although I have to admit that the two fisticuff scenes
between the lovely Rachel Blakely and the equally lovely Marie Matiko were good
for some chuckles.