Body Armor (1998) – Review

2 Stars

Body Armor, A.K.A. The Protector presents us with a new action hero in the form of Jeff Conway. Conway (Matt McColm), is a solider for hire and the best agent in the business, he’s slick with women, he’s fast with his hands and feet, and he’s equipped to get the job done, largely due to an array of exotic weaponry. The opening scene in which Conway, acting as personal security for a wealthy client, foils an attempted assassination. Only to find out the assailant was a vengeful husband out for justice, against the businessman, whom raped and murdered his wife. Armed with this knowledge, Conway turns against his employer and is considered a rogue agent. The nifty action setup is similar to the bond pictures, in fact these opening passages have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film. Consider it a warm up, I believe is the thinking.

Finding himself unemployed, Conway meets with his accountant (Clint Howard), who warns the solider of fortune that his funds are running out. As luck has, a piece of mail arrives that very day with a job offer from Conway’s old flame. Turns out her new lover, a doctor specializing in anti-viral medication, has gone missing possibly as part of a larger conspiracy regarding the release of a new drug on the market. This latest wonder cure is being marshaled by Dr. Ramsey (Ron Perlman), the man responsible for not only creating cures, but inventing new forms of super-virus. Conway is eventually infected with this deadly virus and is given 24 hrs to find an antidote or die in the process. So he does, what he does best, infiltrate the secret island housing the compound that Dr. Ramsey is using as a laboratory.

Without a doubt the most appealing aspect of Body Armor is that it was constructed from the screenplay stages to the direction, cast and crew with veteran stunt personnel. So the action sequences look a lot better than is the norm for this level of filmmaking. Director Jack Gill, who has been the stunt coordinator on top notch productions (The Rock, Money Train), makes his feature debut here. Outside the action, he does a competent job or moving the story along. Although there is little evidence that he should be handed the reins on another project. It is lead actor Matt McColm that truly makes the biggest impression in the film. After toiling in the stuntman trade for years, McColm has finally found a vehicle to showcase his strengths as a performer. Body Armor runs out of momentum as the final, drawn-out battle takes place at an industrial warehouse. The ending goes on for too long, and I found myself fighting the urge mentally to tune out. Stay for the end credits, which is complete with voice-overs from characters that may or may not be deceased. A peculiar and amusing touch, to a silly, forgettable action flick.

Director: Jack Gill
Stars: Matt McColm, Ron Perlman, Clint Howard

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