Retro Film Review: Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998)

in #filmlast month


Name of David Hasselhoff is often tossed in during the debates about cultural differences between various nations in modern world. His enormous popularity in Germany and lack of popularity in USA often serves as illustration how, despite all the attempts to create
uniform global culture, certain celebrity can be viewed differently in different countries. Explanations of Hasselhoff's popularity and unpopularity rarely deal with his acting abilities. This is partly due to Baywatch, Hasselhoff's best known achievement, becoming global hit due to reasons other than acting or Hasselhoff himself. Instances when Hasselhoff's abilities can be judged without unnecessary distractions are rare and Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., 1998 television film, represents one of them.

This television film was based on the series of popular Marvel comic books. In it Hasselhoff plays Nick Fury, former top operative of S.H.I.E.L.D., ultra-secret government service. After the end of Cold War Fury has retired, but his services are again sought by his former colleague Countess Valentina de Allegro Fontaine (played by Lisa Rinna). The world is again threatened by the evil only someone like Nick Fury can deal with. Andrea von Strucker (played by Sandra Hess), daughter of Nazi criminal and Fury's arch-enemy, has re-established her father's terrorist organisation and stole his body in order to extract deadly virus that had claimed his life. With virus brought to New York she starts blackmailing US government, while Fury starts working on a plan to wreck her plans.

David Hasselhoff is the most interesting thing about Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Here he plays character completely different from those that brought him fame. With eyepatch on his face and grumpy, often very violent character, Nick Fury resembles cynical antiheroes like John Carpenter's "Snake" Plissken more than comic book superheroes. Hasselhoff is surprisingly convincing in that role, but his partner Lisa Rinna is rather bland. Sandra Hess, on the other hand, is good as female arch-.villain, something rarely seen in films coming from "politically correct" Hollywood. Special effects in the film are good, at least for television standards, and the script is tolerable, despite the ending that hints of this film being nothing more than pilot for TV show. Although that series later never materialised, Nick Fury is a solid piece of entertainment than can be recommended even to those who aren't particularly big fans of Hasselhoff or original comic books.

RATING: 5/10 (++)

(Note: The text in its original form was posted in Usenet newsgroup on March 13th 2004)

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