Drawing inspiration from John Frankenheimer's masterful THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE but making a joke of its political underpinnings, LOCK 'N' LOAD fails to rise above the level of TV-movie fare.
There's something funny going on in Boulder, Colorado. Paul McMillan (Jack Vogel) discovers that in the last 20 months, four members of his Viet Nam Delta Company have committed robberies and then suicide. When he's too late to save the fifth, his friend Ken (Kipp Lockwood), Paul teams up with
his widow Claire (Renee Cline) and Detective Bach (William Hathaway-Clark) to investigate. Together they uncover a secret military-spawned plot in which US soldiers, including the deceased employees of the Viet Nam Delta Company, were being brainwashed to follow, without emotion, orders given them
after hearing the triggering term "lock 'n' load". Now, in peacetime, evil businessman Jordan Prescott (Jeffrey Smith) is using the scheme for personal gains. He claims two more victims before, in a final stand-off, his gun at Claire's head, he himself is triggered by having "lock 'n' load"
screamed at him by Paul.
LOCK 'N' LOAD features an impossibly contrived screenplay that makes little sense and stodgy direction by David A. Prior, who specializes in these low-budget, direct-to-video actioners. It also contains an obvious, and worse, uninteresting, villain (Prescott's chemical company is "the worst
polluter in the state," according to the governor), and is mostly badly acted, save for leads Vogel and Cline, who get by.
The film closes with the most ludicrous "surprise" ending of the year. Now in couch-potato bliss with Claire, the camera freeze-frames on Paul just as he's zapped by the fatal words, coming innocently this time from a war movie they're watching on TV. (Profanity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: Drawing inspiration from John Frankenheimer's masterful THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE but making a joke of its political underpinnings, LOCK 'N' LOAD fails to rise above the level of TV-movie fare. There's something funny going on in Boulder, Colorado. Paul M… (more)