An unsophisticated made-for-cable spy picture about a good-natured agent who goes after his renegade partners, ROYCE has Bondian aspirations constrained by low-budget realities.
After liberating hostages from Bosnia, secret agent Shane Royce (James Belushi) is informed that the end of the Cold War has made his covert section redundant. Gribbon (Miguel Ferrer), a fellow spy angry over the prospect of unemployment, recruits his old partners for a money-making scheme that
would exact revenge on Senator Scanlon (Michael J. Shannon), who is responsible for the elimination of their operation. When Royce refuses to join them, the renegades try to kill him, but only succeed in framing him for the murder of another agent.
Royce escapes from police and hooks up with his CIA contact Huggins (Peter Boyle), to whom he explains the plot against Sen. Scanlon. Royce arrives at Scanlon's house, but he's too late: Gribbon has kidnapped Scanlon's son and is tailing the senator to Russia, where he is to attend a ceremonial
exchange of nuclear warheads. When Royce tracks down Gribbon in Russia, he discovers that the renegade agent intends to steal the warheads and sell them to a drug cartel. Gribbon's henchmen capture Royce as he tries to rescue Scanlon's son, and then seize a train carrying the warheads. Gribbon
rigs the train so that it will explode as it pulls into a station where Sen. Scanlon and a number of Russian dignitaries are waiting. Dispatching several members of the gang with a hand grenade, Royce escapes and boards the train. After an extended fight, Royce saves the day by attaching a bomb to
Gribbon's body as the villain bolts from the train.
ROYCE's few successful moments are deliberate subversions of James Bond's ultra-smooth persona, as when the hero gets smacked by women for his infidelity and unreliability (the Bond parody is telegraphed early on when Belushi introduces himself as "Royce--Shane Royce"). The spoof, however, is
intermittent and not terribly witty; on the whole, it's just another sub-par action picture with adequate performers dragged down by a silly plot. Longtime television director Rod Holcomb is on auto-pilot here; his really noteworthy achievement in 1994 was directing the pilot for the smash hit TV
series "ER." (Graphic violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: An unsophisticated made-for-cable spy picture about a good-natured agent who goes after his renegade partners, ROYCE has Bondian aspirations constrained by low-budget realities. After liberating hostages from Bosnia, secret agent Shane Royce (James Belu… (more)