Blast (1997) Blu-ray Review

Out: 3rd August / 105 minutes / Year: 1997 / Rating: 15 / 101 Films / Director: Albert Pyun / Also on DVD

Just before the games are about to begin at the Atlanta Olympics, a deadly team of terrorists led by Kalal (Andrew Divoff) mount a precision attack on the Aquatic Center and succeed in taking the US Womens Swimming team hostage. The terrorists seal off the center and wire all the exits with powerful explosives. Unbeknownest to them, they have missed a janitor (Linden Ashby) whom is trapped in the sprawling complex. Working against the clock, the FBI enlists the help of the mysterious Leo (Rutger Hauer), who coordinates his efforts with the trapped janitor to stop the terrorists in their tracks.

Blast is directed by Albert Pyun, a man who seems to have a love/hate affect on genre fans. His first feature, The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), was a sleeper hit that took the film industry by surprise. Pyun started off with a bang, as it were, and his star looked set to rise. Unfortunately he followed this up by directing films that were met with indifference or shock that he didn’t fulfill the early promise he had once possessed.

Some that viewed his films questioned his abilities, while others saw him as a talented director that did the best he could with what he had to work with. By the late 1990’s he had directed a string of relatively successful action movies (Cyborg, Bloodmatch) and sci-fi flicks Dollman and Nemesis (and it’s sequels). He also manned Blast, which receives a Blu-ray release from 101 Films. It is a movie that is a down the middle, somewhat decent yet un-challenging action/suspense feature.

After opening text which explains that the FBI foiled countless terrorist attacks at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the viewer is informed the rest of Blast is ‘what could have happened’ if the FBI hadn’t stopped all the terrorists plans (no mention is made of the actual bombings that happened for real). It’s a slightly strained way to try and create an emotional interest in the viewer.

Blast is not that bad a movie by standards usually associated with Pyun. There are some scenes involving the terrorists of the plot that are effective (a point blank shooting of one hapless person) and he makes great use of star Andrew Divoff.

Divoff is perhaps best known to fans of cult cinema for his outstanding performances in Wishmaster (1997) and it’s sequel Evil Never Dies (1999). He had previously worked with Pyun for the 1996 film Nemesis 4: Death Angel, so the pair were perhaps comfortable with each other by the time of Blast. Here Divoff gives the best performance of the film, with his distinct voice giving extra menace to his role of Omodo.

Sadly the rest of the movie contains acting performances that are questionable which bogs down the already standard style on offer. Rutger Hauer brings some name value to proceedings although he only appears half way through Blast’s run time and is little used after that. The HD doesn’t do anything for the movie for those who hope it may enhance the image.

101 Films will release more Pyun movies to Blu-ray in the coming weeks, which Infernal Cinema will be reviewing. Will the standard improve?

Average at best, this is one for die hard Albert Pyun fans or those willing to take a punt on a cheapie action flick.

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