No Contest II: Access Denied

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“Second time’s the not-so charming.”

In many ways, this is a shameless rip-off of a shameless rip-off, trying to recapture the success of the original. It’s not quite as successful, lacking the gleeful sense of energy which help its predecessor overcome its (obvious) limitations. Once more, Tweed plays action actress Sharon Bell, this time filming her latest work in Eastern Europe. She arranges for the film to do some location work in a gallery owned by sister, Bobbi (Heitmeyer), which is just about to open an exhibition, showcasing artefacts that were looted by the Nazis in World War II. The gallery is taken over by Eric Dane (Henriksen) and his crew, who seal the place off from the outside world, intent in stealing a lethal German nerve agent hidden in the base of one of the sculptures. Unfortunately, inside at the time are both sisters, along with the movie director Jack Terry (Payne), who is scouting the place out.

To be honest, the plot makes little sense. Why does Dane – who has apparently had access to the statue for quite some time – wait until it is installed in the gallery, behind a hefty security system, before going after the nerve-gas? And when he does, his subsequent actions and plan seem to be designed more to artificially generate tension for the movie plot, than any practical purpose: for example, his decision to leave one of the canisters, attached to an unstoppable time, in an air-duct, while he is still present in the sealed building. Meanwhile, the heroes prove adept at fashioning tear-gas and lethal blow-darts from everyday materials (or, at least, everyday materials for an art gallery).

If you don’t look too hard, this is still passably entertaining, with the art gallery providing an interesting location for some battles (the cat-fight between Sharon and Dane’s henchwoman comes to mind, ending on a piece of unfortunately-pointy artwork). Henriksen us good value as ever in the psycho role, e.g. shooting people because they can’t deliver Shakespeare to his liking and, while Payne is better known as a villain, he does decent work here in a more sympathetic role. However, the film doesn’t use them as effectively as before, and the film needs to be less obviously stage-managed towards its conclusion, which is obvious well before it happens. The flaws are likely not much worse here – just a little more obvious.

Dir: Paul Lynch
Star: Shannon Tweed, Lance Henriksen, Bruce Payne, Jayne Heitmeyer
a.k.a. Face the Evil

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