Directed by John Badham. Starring Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey, Yancy Butler, Michael Jeter, Malcolm-Jamal Warner. (1994, R, 101 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Dec. 9, 1994
It's a rare occasion when I actually find myself so fed up with a film that I just up and walk out of it before the closing credits. The last time I did that was John Badham's Another Stakeout, a film so shallow and unnecessary that it still boggles the mind to think that it ever got made. More recently, I beat a hasty retreat from this pointless explosion-clogged exercise in mediocrity, Drop Zone, which, coincidentally, happens to be yet another Badham film. Hmmmm. Snipes is Pete Nessip, a U.S. marshall who loses his brother (Warner) during an airliner explosion while the pair are escorting a criminally minded computer geek (Jeter -- who, you've got to admit, makes a pretty believable geek) to prison. Nessip becomes convinced that the onboard explosion was no accident but, instead, a cleverly plotted jailbreak by Jeter's cronies, a bunch of renegade skydivers led by aging Ty Moncrief (Busey). Along with pro skydiver Jessie Crossman (Yancy Butler -- last seen in John Woo's Hard Target), Nessip decides to take up the sport and infiltrate the gang when he discovers they may be planning a job on Washington's DEA headquarters. Mind you, Badham can, to a certain degree, finesse the hell out of action scenes -- some of the stuntwork here is genuinely exhilarating -- but when it comes to legitimate character development and maintenance of audience interest when there's not a bomb going off somewhere, the director seems to have forgotten everything since Saturday Night Fever. That's not good. Snipes basically rehashes his character from last year's Passenger 57, and Busey, well, Busey is as Busey does, and what Busey has been doing for the last few years is the same character over and over, be it in Point Break (which Drop Zone occasionally resembles), Predator 2, or Under Siege. Badham's a talented director, but he's gone off on some weird action/comic tangent that he has no business being on. Somebody throw him a line.