Weightlifter Franco Columbu, boon companion to the world's highest-grossing action star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, figured he could capitalize on that connection to become a compact version of his former workout pal. But even vanity productions have their limits. Columbu performs as if each
line of dialogue requires as much effort as a major bench press.
On a tour of Italy, corrupt US Senator Robert Boyd (Robert Ginty) is targeted to be kidnapped by local thugs led by American Marty Moretti (Frank Stallone). Their plan goes awry, leaving them in possession of Angela (Frankie Thorn), the Senator's mistress. On the advice of L.E. (William Smith),
the powerful political operative who is masterminding his presidential candidacy, the swinish senator leaves Italy after filling in agent Veronica (Barbara Niven) on the Angela situation. Perturbed that Boyd left without paying the demanded ransom, the kidnappers bide their time. Veronica mistakes
Costa (Franco Columbu), a local sculptor, for a mercenary Boyd has hired to deal with the situation. Boyd is less worried about Angela's safety than he is about an incriminating videotape showing the two of them together. (Angela wisely keeps secret the fact that she lost the tape in the ocean
during the kidnapping.)
Teaming up at cross purposes, Costa and Veronica zero in on Angela, who is falling in love with her kidnapper Marty. During a money exchange (in which L.E. shortchanges the crooks), Costa, Veronica, and Boyd's hired killer confront Angela, who doesn't want to be saved. After Costa snuffs out a
grenade with a boulder, an elderly marksman shoots down the assassin's helicopter, thus saving the good guys from wipe-out. Angela and Marty decide to remain together, to the relief of Boyd, who survives the suppressed international incident with his reputation unscathed. Tired of risking her neck
for schnooks, Veronica considers settling down with Costa.
TAKEN ALIVE combines a garbage-heap script with a hack director apparently instructed to showcase Columbu's physique and a cast almost as unsuited to acting as the "star." Considering all the inane physical comedy that flagellates the film's lifeless suspense and routine action, the pint-sized
body buffer might have done better to film one of his training sessions. While rippling muscles are often part of an action figure's appeal, they are usually accompanied by some other film-friendly quality, whether martial arts skills (Van Damme), charm (Schwarzenegger), or physical grace
(Lundgren). In all these areas (and others), Columbu comes up short. (Violence, nudity, profanity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Weightlifter Franco Columbu, boon companion to the world's highest-grossing action star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, figured he could capitalize on that connection to become a compact version of his former workout pal. But even vanity productions have their lim… (more)