Here's another in a long list of 80's action films that I've completely forgotten about, and one that is criminally underrated. It's weird to me that this never get's mentioned anywhere. I follow a lot of "action" related blogs, pages, sites and groups, and in all the years I've been in these, never once has this one ever come up. But, as I was casually browsing VHS tapes one day on eBay, I came across this because it was an RCA tape, the ones with the red border and 2 different spine fonts on either side. Some come as a side-loader, while others do not. But these were RCA's first, so it's top quality stuff and heavy, which makes them more attractive to me. Since collecting these sometimes hard to find tapes is my passion, I was excited to get to grab one fairly cheap. So let's dig in.
When a state of the art military tank and a group of army specialists are taken hostage in Mexico, Frank McBain (Gary Busey), a tough-as-nail cop who doesn't follow the rules, is brought in to rescue the hostages and bring back the tank because one of the hostages is a former lover.
There are so many elements combined at just the right time that it would be nearly impossible for this to have turned out anything but great. And that's exactly what Bulletproof is. It's fucking great. For starters, we've got Gary Busey in his prime, coming off the heels of his outstanding performance as the hitman Joshua in Lethal Weapon. Busey is just fantastic in this. It's as if the role was tailor made just for him, and who knows, maybe it was? He's a total badass, but also is able to add just the right amount of crazy, the kind we've come to expect from Busey, and it's awesome. The guy's a national treasure. Only he can play cool and crazy that particular way. Sure Nicolas Cage does as well, but Busey's in a whole other ballgame. Throw in the great Henry Silva as the villain, and a large ensemble cast of notable baddies like Danny Trejo, Cay-Hiroyuki Tagawa, William Smith and Juan Fernandez, and well, Bulletproof soars.
Lone Wolf McQuade, it comes from a story by none other than Fred Olen Ray (Cyclone, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers), and his frequent collaborator T.L. Lankford, and it's with these 80's action heavy hitters that Bulletproof carries a very distinct Badass Cinema flavor, the kind that instantly makes it a classic and a highly enjoyable one at that. This film oozes so much charisma it should be criminal. Every second is an enjoyable one, even if it's just a tender moment with Busey in bed with his hot girlfriend, or when he's shooting the shit with his partner during a bust. Busey really makes this one as great as it is and it's all his show.
I'm shocked this doesn't ever get a mention. Having been made in the late 80's definitely adds a lot to the experience, but regardless of that, it's such a great action ride all around. Great vibe, great talent, and a quality about it that makes it stand out among the pack. If you love action, 80's action, badass cinema, or if you just love Gary Busey, you owe it to yourself to check this out!
How to see it:
You can find it on VHS in one of RCA's rad red border slipcases on average about $10-$20. There's an OOP 2002 DVD from Echo Bridge that also pops up from time to time with not nearly as good a cover as the VHS. But it's cheap, roughly going for around $5. But I don't know if it's in widescreen or not since the back of that DVD release doesn't specify. So I'm guessing not. But it also comes as part of a 4 Action Packed Movie Marathon with their Volume 2 release, and this one does come in widescreen and you can get it for under $10, which is a steal since you get all of these other classics with it. Volume 1 is still a vastly superior edition, but this one is good if only for the inclusion of Bulletproof.