I think what's so surprisingly good about CHAIN OF COMMAND is its barefaced audacity to show us a pretty worthless president, and to allow awful things to happen because of personal greed and misguided justice. Roy Scheider plays the newly elected President, a man who is screwing his best friend's wife, and anything in skirts. Patrick Muldoon is a secret service agent who is tired of watching this skirt-chasing moron, so he transfers to the football division, which is the group of men who are sworn to protect the box that contains a nuclear device which can start world war. Michael Biehn, looking bored, still manages to ooze a certain erudite smarminess that works as a traitor, and director John Terlesky (a former actor of such films as DEATHMASTER 2) keeps the action frisky and at times unpredictable. The real coup though is the casting of the delightfully underappreciated Maria Conchita Alonso as the vice president who must make all the decisions once all hell breaks loose. She is brilliant in a role that could have been comic in the wrong hands. John Beck ( a former leading man THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT) is also quite good as the warhawk general.
Muldoon is appropriately heroic and his youthful good looks help in a convincing role. William R. Moses (FALCON CREST) also shows up in a surprisingly good performance.
CHAIN OF COMMAND pulls some surprises, and pulls no punches in its declaration against nuclear power. It's a corny, sometimes contrived movie, but it is also a frightening and evocative one. Don't laugh if off cause you haven't heard of it.