The Detonator [DVD]
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Action starring Wesley Snipes. Undercover C.I.A. agent Sonni Griffith (Snipes) travels alone to Poland to expose an arms dealer and stop the sale of a nuclear weapon. When the arms dealer is tipped off to Griffith's identity, he lands himself in prison but is quickly released by the C.I.A. only to be given a new mission: to escort a beautiful Russian woman, Nadia (Silvia Colloca), back to the United States. Griffith soon learns that strong-willed Nadia is being hunted by the very arms dealer that he intended to destroy, but this evil dealer will stop at nothing to get the information out of Nadia that he needs - the location of the $30 million dollars she has hidden that will buy him a nuclear bomb.
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Top Customer Reviews
Here he's (as always) a CIA agent protecting a witness while trashing half of Romania. But is there a mole in the organisation plotting to bring him down...? (I added that bit on, but you won't really care)
Filmed in Eastern Europe with the usual Andrew Stevens/Sony Home Ent protagonists and devices (including William Hope), it's an alright watch once brain is removed and placed in storage jar...
Go with "7 Seconds" or "The Marksman" for better 'bang for your Snipes-DTV buck' as it's a tad slow in places...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Positives: Silvia Colloca adds some feminine charm to an otherwise dreary film and Matthew Leitch is excellent as tough guy Dimitri.
'The Art of War' is a very good movie, 'The Detonator' isn't. Trust me on this one.
There is no denying that this is a low-budget action film made in Romania, kind of film you watch for shoot-outs and explosions. To their credits, the stunt persons of the film did a decent job and in one memorable scene a baddie falls out of the window (of the second floor of a house) and falls onto the roof of a van below, hitting his head against it really hard and bouncing like a rubber ball. That is amazing. And don't forget the cat-and-mouse chase scene in the subway where a bald-headed baddie shows one surprising stunt.
But the rest of the film is very dull. "The Detonator" uses every clichéd element of action genre taken directly from other better films, and throws them into the convoluted narrative in the wrong way. The film attempts to be different with a portrait of a gangster who owns a soccer team and several scenes about soccer games. However, it just doesn't work because of the tepid descriptions of games and banal action sequences mixed with them.
It was in 2004 when we saw the third entry of `The Blade' which was not bad. But now Wesley Snipes seems to have officially joined in the direct-to-video land where Steven Seagal is the king or the Great One. (In fact `The Detonator' is co-produced by Andrew Stevens who is also responsible for such films as "Half Past Dead" "The Foreigner" and "Out of Reach.") I'm not saying that all straight-to-video actions are bad - remember Dolph Lundgren who is doing a very good job as star and director. - but as to `The Detonator" the result is simply disappointing.
The story: Homeland Security agent Sonni Griffith (Snipes) must go behind the backs of his employers in Romania to keep the world safe from nuclear threat by protecting a woman (Silvia Colloca, Van Helsing) withholding information from a dangerous arms dealer looking to sell deadly new weapons abroad (Tim Dutton, Tom & Viv).
Director Po-Chih Leong's previous film excursion was the unaccountably weird Steven Seagal vehicle Out of Reach, but survivors of that needn't worry about the production values of this one: Leong delivers a very sleek, professional-looking thriller that avoids the visual bleakness of most DTV fare shot in Eastern Europe. It's all very nice to look at, and most things of a performance nature attempted by the film work out passably. However, the unraveling of the plotline is another matter: even though it's pretty much a retread of Snipes' own The Art of War and avoids the convolutedness of other low-budget yarns, I felt the story playing past me and at no point did it really grab me. There's a cool little twist at the end concerning the allegiance of a character played by William Hope (Aliens), but up until then, the tale fails to effectively involve a viewer.
The action content is mostly about shootouts and car chases, both of which are done decently but at the expense of Snipes' hand-to-hand work. Wesley has two very quick brawls, three gunfights, and a single chase scene, and the latter two obviously take precedence over the karate as action centerpieces. A gunfight during a hideout invasion is pretty good and the crash-abundant car chase is damn near theater-level, but overall, the movie's more about suspense and intrigue than it is about the physical talents of its leading man. Tim Dutton's first scene features him brutally impaling a mobster who's trying to intimidate him, but he fails to stay as cool or physical throughout the rest of the picture.
Some authentic Romanian is spoken throughout the film - which is always cooler than listening to bad accents - and the incorporation of the 2006 World Cup as a background setting works surprisingly well, giving the film a bit of extra appeal. In the end, though, it fails to stand out among the masses of other DTV features and certainly isn't a superior Snipes movie. With a bit more action, this one could've raised my eyebrow and earned the four-star rating that a low-budget film with sound production values like these deserves, but in light of its absence, the movie ends up feeling a bit toothless. Devotees of Wesley's action-based outings ought to check it out for the sake of completeness while everybody else should find something better.