June 19, 2011

Command Performance (2009)

Directed by Dolph Lundgren. Starring Dolph Lundgren ("Joe"), Melissa Molinaro ("Venus"), Hristo Shopov ("Petrov"), and Dave Legeno ("Oleg"). Rated R. Body Count: Approximately 70 on-screen kills. Boob Count: 0.

Source: Region 1 DVD (First Look)
Run time: 01:33:19
Country: USA

A drummer of a rock band attempts to rescue the Russian president and a bratty pop star from terrorists.

The president of Russia puts together a private concert as sort of a morale booster for the community. Headlining the show is Venus, the favorite pop singer of his daughters. Dolph Lundgren plays Joe, the drummer of a rock band that replaces one of the concert's supporting acts at the last minute. The show seems to be going well at first, but when Venus takes the stage, it isn't long before a group of terrorists invade the arena and proceed to slaughter audience members while their leader takes the Russian president and his daughters hostage. Joe later emerges from a secluded area after smoking a joint, only to find the arena scattered with dead audience members. He then takes it upon himself to grab a machine gun and play hero. The moral of the story: weed makes you strong!

I couldn't help but wonder if Dolph Lundgren (who also directed and co-wrote the film) was trying to make some sort of statement about pop music with the character of Venus. Without getting into detail about her character, let's just say that she's everything wrong about mainstream pop music rolled up into a sexy little package. To be fair, though, at least her vocals aren't auto-tuned. Anyway, as much as I admire Dolph Lundgren for his past and present films (along with Mickey Rourke, he was my favorite actor in THE EXPENDABLES), he's not someone whose work I typically seek out, simply because Action movies aren't my forte. COMMAND PERFORMANCE, however, has been on my radar for quite some time. The premise of a rock n' roll drummer taking on Russian terrorists sounded too good to pass up. And a bangin' female pop singer thrown into the mix? Why the fuck not.

So, COMMAND PERFORMANCE starts out really strong and it maintains a pretty good pace for the most part, consistently delivering action and killing someone off whenever there's not a whole lot going on plot-wise. The first act in particular is quite impressive. Once we get the quick character development out of the way, the film doesn't waste any time in establishing a high body count. The scenes in which the terrorists storm the arena and start opening fire on the audience are so over the top that they border on hilarious, especially when you see people off in the distance falling from balconies. Also, I'm pretty sure I saw the same extra die three times.

Speaking of hilarity, during the concert the film would keep cutting away from the stage to the skybox where the Russian president and his two daughters were watching the show, and I couldn't help but laugh when Venus finally took the stage and the president's eldest proceeded to get up and start dancing like a hoochie-mama while her little sister attempted to mimic her movements and dad looked on in embarrassment. I also found the concert itself to be quite funny, mostly because of the odd line-up, and also because of how the footage was edited together with crowd reactions and the mostly bored looks of the faces of the president's daughters.

Fun fact: I'm a huge fan of fake bands in film (especially if they're of the shock rock variety). That being said, one of the incentives of checking this movie out was getting to see what sort of phony bands would be created for the film, especially in the case of Lundgren's band. I was disappointed, but at the same time impressed, that the bands in this movie were the real deal. It should also be noted that actress Melissa Molinaro (star of the upcoming sequel to HONEY!) provided her own vocals in the film and Dolph Lundgren actually played the drums, sitting in with legit Russian rock band D2.

If I have any negative things to say about the film, it's that it doesn't really deliver anything new or original, and I also found the writing to be a bit lazy in terms of creating a solid motive for the villain. Throughout the film, it's never really clear as to why the lead terrorist is doing what he's doing, and when the revelation finally comes, it's like "Really?" Aside from that, though, I thought COMMAND PERFORMANCE was a lot of fun for what it was, and a worthwhile watch overall. The film knows exactly what it is and doesn't aspire to be what it has no right being. Expect bad one-liners, tons of violence, Action movie cliches, a cheesy feel-good ending, a bad-ass hero and an unbelievably gorgeous damsel in distress. Because it's not a movie you have to invest much attention in, it's a great movie to have on in the background, and in general it's high on replay value.

Score: 6.5


  1. OMG! A Dolp Lundgren review? That's a nice surprise! A recent Russian-themed Dolph low-budgeter? Hell, I might review it, too!

  2. Wait, there's going to be another Honey movie?! That totally makes my day!

  3. Alex: He's been pumping out quite a few straight-to-DVD action movies as of late. Glad you liked the review!

    Matt: I know, right? In all seriousness, I might consider watching it (in secrecy) just because the actress from this movie is in it. Because I like her dance moves, of course.

  4. ..I, too, though Lundgren was good in THE EXPENDABLES. I went and saw that at the cinema twice!