No matter how often this opportunistic time-waster invokes the specter of Waco, Texas, it's still nothing more than a pedestrian action movie with boat chases, heavy artillery, and martial arts sequences that are so familiar they could be stock footage.
On a remote island, ex-special forces operative Blake (Frank Zagarino) is unaware that his idyllic existence as a boat repairman will be shattered by a former comrade-in-arms, James (Billy Drago), who has reinvented himself as a religious guru, the Reverend James, and has headquarters on the same
island. Because one member of his Garden of Eden cult is Brooke Hatfield (Jennifer Miller), daughter of a prominent general, a US delegation arrives to investigate. After gunning down the government snoops and arranging mass suicides for his cultists, James escapes with a few loyal soldiers of
fortune, while Brooke flees into a safe haven with reluctant hero Blake. Brooke is captured by James, and Blake's rescue efforts are hampered by gung ho FBI agent Roper (Todd Jensen), who believes Blake is the madman. With Brooke in tow, the James gang holes up in an abandoned factory. Roper is
wounded by a renegade Colonel (Frank Notaro) with good reason to eradicate his Viet Nam ties to James: he once ordered James to murder his own platoon to cover up a civilian massacre. Following James and Brooke to another building, Blake and James battle. Rigging an impromptu explosive, James
arranges for his own death, making sure to take the Colonel with him. Blake, Brooke, and Roper escape just before the explosion.
The producers of NEVER SAY DIE seem to have hired a special effects crew and then constructed a script around their showiest efforts. Stuck with simplistic characters, the cast responds with ineffectual performances ranging from catatonic (Notaro) to rabid (Jensen). Even Zagarino, who's scored in
the past as both despot (PROJECT SHADOWCHASER) and hero (TRAINED TO KILL), seems bored by his own action pic moves here. Reprehensibly, this silly piece of escapism fixates on recent FBI fiascos in order to legitimize its ordinariness. Catching the waves of public censure, NEVER SAY DIE may play
better at militia meetings than it will with fans of war movies who will recognize this as a third-rate Rambo clone. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: No matter how often this opportunistic time-waster invokes the specter of Waco, Texas, it's still nothing more than a pedestrian action movie with boat chases, heavy artillery, and martial arts sequences that are so familiar they could be stock footage. O… (more)