C.I.A. Code Name Alexa
“Harkens back to a kinder, gentler era of domestic terrorism.”
A terrorist attack on a federal facility is interrupted by cops, and the leader is killed in a shootout. Bizarrely, a raid is then staged on the church where his funeral is being held, apparently with the aim of recovering the body. It’s led by Alexa (Kinmont), who is captured in the process, and interrogated by police detective Nick Murphy (Simpson) – at least, until CIA operative Mark Graver (Lamas) swoops in and claims her. Turns out this is all part of a plot by evil genius Victor Mahler (Cord) to acquire a computer chip which will give him enormous power, because of its ability to control weapon systems. Unfortunately, Mahler has diplomatic privileges, so normal methods won’t work. But if Mark can turn Alexa – using her daughter as leverage – maybe she can take care of Cord.
There are moments when this threatens to break out of the direct-to-video mediocrity to which it aspires, but not enough of them. To be honest, what happened to Simpson a couple of years later, was probably fortunate for the film’s producers, giving the film a certain notoriety it doesn’t deserve. I did like the cynicism of Graver, and his boss (Pam Dixon) has a disregard for the societal niceties which rings true. Kinmont, at the time the third of Lamas’s five wives to date, is sadly underused, however. There’s one sequence, where she stages a solo raid on Cord’s complex, that does a good job of showing her potential, but there’s too much time spent sitting round in federal detention.
The other problem is a plot which contains far too many elements requiring the suspension of disbelief. For instance, having recovered such a vital chip, would the government really allow it back in the hands of the person who was trying to steal it, purely so she can swap it with a terrorist for her daughter? I don’t think so. It all builds to a massive battle in the belly of Los Angeles Airport, which harkens back to a kinder, gentler era of domestic terrorism, when airport security apparently consisted of one rent-a-cop and a guy asking “Hey! What are you doing down here?” Ah, such innocent days.
Dir: Joseph Merhi
Star: Lorenzo Lamas, Kathleen Kinmont, O.J. Simpson, Alex Cord
C.I.A II: Target Alexa
“Learning to fly a helicopter? It’s vastly over-rated….”
The following year, Kinmont and Lamas teamed up again, this time with Lamas also behind the camera, making his directorial debut – keeping it in the family, Kinmont also helped come up with the story. Mind you, the pair would separate on Veterans’ Day 1993, and eventually divorce, which lends the scene depicting their two characters bickering before a mission, a certain eerie poignancy. It begins with Alexa (Kinmont) having abandoned the CIA and run off to a life training horses with her daughter. But an unfortunate involvement in an armed robbery means that her only way out is back in to the agency, where Graver (Lamas) needs her to infiltrate the camp of Franz Kluge (Savage), a mercenary who has acquired the chip at the heart of another weapons guidance system. Sheesh, US government: you really need to take more care with these things. Oh, and Kluge is also the father of Alexa’s daughter.
There’s another terrorist, who needs the chip to make the components he stole operational. and Kluge’s leading minion is a henchwoman, Lana (Fetrick), who is unimpressed when his old flame comes waltzing back into their camp. She can actually kick ass better than just about anyone else in the film – including Kluge’s other associates, as they find out when they try to take Alexa on. That, and the grocery-story robbery, are probably the best fights in the film, whetting the appetite nicely for the Lana-Alexa battle at the end. That is actually kinda disappointing, but is worth it, simply for Alexa’s comeback after Lana says, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” It’s probably the time where Kinmont comes closest to being the “next Schwarzenegger,” as claimed on the DVD sleeve.
The rest of the film is okay. It’s more entertaining than its predecessor, with the gyno-centric approach giving it much-needed originality, and Savage gives a quirkily off-centre performance, switching sides as opportunity requires. It builds to a ludicrous climax which sees Alexa clinging to the leg of Kluge’s helicopter as it takes off, clambering in, knocking him out and then, apparently, landing it safely on sheer instinct, because no-one in either film has mentioned her knowing how to fly one. That sums up the entire series: it’ll pass for entertainment, providing you don’t stare too hard at the details, because things will then fall apart on you.
Dir: Lorenzo Lamas
Star: Kathleen Kinmont, Lorenzo Lamas, John Savage, Lori Fetrick