Some days we have to hide in our cubicles when Joe Bob is really on a tear, karate-chopping everywhere like he's Elvis on the hunt for peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches. If we're lucky, Jayne Mansfield videos distract him long enough for calmness to prevail but we found something almost as good: Virtual Assassin. Sure, it's not the most promising title and the news that it's also known as "Cyberjack" just makes it sound like a videogame. But it's got tons of fighting, explosions, computer hacking, babes in distress, a monologue about the joys of our prison system and the imminent destruction of the world. MonsterVision heaven, we'd call it.
And, really, we just couldn't make this stuff up. Virtual Assassin features a janitor who has to save the world. Well, maybe not exactly your run-of-the-mop janitor because Nick (Michael Dudikoff) is actually a former cop whose partner was killed by the albino-looking bad guy Nassim (Brion James). But you know how hard forgetting can be, so the cop gave up law enforcement for a life of janitorial service, working at Quantum, a world-famous scientific research lab that makes viruses and, uh, other stuff. In fact, one of their products is a nasty combination of computer virus and biological virus that can somehow save or destroy the world (we admittedly got a bit lost on the finer points). But wouldn't you know that Nassim has decided he wants that particular virus for his own nefarious purposes? So he grabs a bunch of bad buddies and breaks into the lab where he goes about replacing nice but now dead security guards with holograms, murdering kindly scientists, threatening the innocent and other requirements for his Evil Merit Badge.
Now you might be thinking, doesn't this sound a tiny bit like Under Siege, where Steven Seagal is a cook who just happens to also be a special forces combat expert defending a battleship invaded by bad guys? Well, it gets even stranger, since two years later "Virtual Assassin" director Robert Lee made Hostage Train (aka Crackerjack 2), where a tough cop infiltrates a train held by terrorists. Sound anything like Under Siege 2 to you?
The Dudikoff-James matchup may not be quite King Kong vs. Godzilla territory but, heck, it's nothing to sneeze at. Dudikoff starred in the American Ninja series, perhaps a strange fate for a former model with no previous martial arts training who broke into the business playing Joanie's boyfriend on "Happy Days". Brion James has been in, at a rough guess, 1.2 bajillion movies. Actually more like 100, including notable turns in Blade Runner, "48 Hours" and The Fifth Element. At one time, James was even a stand-up comedian in NYC, which must have been quite a sight.
But realize that merely reading about Virtual Assassin won't do it; you're going to have to see this bad boy for yourself. Joe Bob continues to dumbfound statisticians with the accuracy of his drive-in totals, so just pay attention before he's investigated by Top Government Officials. Yet again. We have: "Seventy-one dead bodies. Three brawls. Exploding sky bus. Two exploding bad guys. Exploding cop car. Exploding cop. Exploding elevator. Belly-dancing hologram. Eye-gouging. Dagger to the neck. Choking. Hanging someone upside-down and spinning em around. Finger-bending. Kung fu. Golf club fu. Big giant wrench fu. Gratuitous baseball chatter. Two and a half stars."
Virtual Assassin AKA Cyberjack (1995)
Last seen on MonsterVision - June 24, 2000 at 1:00 am ET/PT (OK, technically, this is the morning of June 25), Rating: TV-14-LV