This movie is what happens when the two Johns (Travolta and Woo) get together with a storyline consisting of slo-mo explosions and nuclear weapons. This movie is right up there with FACE/OFF in my book of movies which only exists in my head. Like many Woo wonders, this film opens with that weird operatic music, so often played to portray something super-dooper intense in an action film or during some intense sports game. Think doves flying and Nicholas Cage at his worst. Then we see Travolta punching the daylights out of Christian SLATER in the boxing ring. He’s being really mean and condescending, but as it turns out, they are just friends! They joke around in the locker room in a sort of conversational sparring that is simply an extension of the fighting in the ring. They exchange a twenty dollar bill. Travolta won’t accept it because Christian “didn’t give it all he’s got” during the fight. Christian says he took the money from Travolta’s wallet, so he sort of one-upped him with his sassy brain power, rather than his strength. Then they walk to meet up with their superior. There is a butt-shot of both of them in their little pilot onesies. Very cute.
They sit and talk with some grumpy guy about their mission. They use masculine military language that is completely incomprehensible to me. Things like “Hey hey hey, we’re going to take the little lady for a walk around the block!” or “She’ll be stocked and locked and more pregnant than a country cow.” Actually they don’t say those things, but that’s what it sounded like to me. And they weren’t talking about a lady! They were talking about a jet! That can go into stealth- mode!
There is a nut-shot as they go to their darth-vader-like 2 billion dollar aircraft. Someone says something about war in Utah and I think it’s supposed to be funny, but I have no idea what they are talking about. They fly away. Meanwhile, a park ranger pulls up on some unsuspecting campers and shoots them. We realize he is not a park ranger. Then he turns to the side, and says into a radio in the most moribund hilarious low voice: “ssssecure.” Meanwhile, the aircraft is flying through the deserts of Utah and the pilots joke casually with the base. Then they go into stealth mode and all hell breaks loose. Spurious Travolta does the old, “hey look over there” move and tries to shoot Christian in the head, but Christian’s too quick and then, since they both still have their seat belts on, have a vigorous arm fight.
Meanwhile, we meet a sweet girl from the movie little women, the one who does NOT die of scarlet fever. She’s driving her park ranger truck. Everything seems normal until a giant aircraft flies over, just feet above her head. Travolta releases the two nuclear missiles and ejects Slater. Then he sends a dispatch saying something cryptic, ejects himself, and the jet slams into a rock with spectacular explosions. The people at the base freak and inform the pentagon where a smarty pants named Giles (pronounced Jiles) and the guy from that 70’s show discuss how to portray this to the world. Jiles insists on telling the truth and people laugh at him, but later his brains will win the battle. The U.S. Government (under the command of the dad in that 70’s show with a very creepy glasses shadow) scramble to locate the nuclear weapons when they realize that they are not among the jet wreckage. There is a wonderful short part played by a guy looking for the weapons and running around the desert with his crew. He’s so devoted to the task at hand, so relieved when he finds both the missiles, but then he gets shot by people on Team Travolta while trying to disarm one of the missiles. I should also mention that at this point, Christian Slater has awoken from a serious bump to the head moving a little with the wind-tides of this parachute, and then comes face to face with the lady park ranger. Boy are they in for an exciting adventure together! After a brief power bout, Slater comes out on top and in his calm evincing way, gets the lady to agree to help him. But when they get back to her truck, Slater hears a funny sound. He looks around. He looks at her. She looks at him and says “what is it?” then he pulls her out of the car and they RUN! A helicopter is shooting at them!!! Oh shit. They climb into a canyon and they shoot at the helicopter and then Slater shoots the pilot but the helicopter’s propellers almost kill the girl! Whew!
Meanwhile, Travolta and his happy crew drive away. Happy crew except one business man who has invested a lot of money in this operation and is sort of pooping on their parade says, “why did the helicopter explode? You never said that this would happen! NOW how are we going to get the nukes out of here?” Travolta gives him a talking to. But the girl and Slater intercept the trucks, jump on the truck, and, while driving and shooting and ejecting the driver, in a wonderful ballet of team work, Slater tapes a flare to a canister of gasoline and throws it at the trailing bad guy car. They have to stop to extinguish (while the businessman says things like “this is unacceptable!” and Travolta grits his teeth) and this buys the rogue heroes some time. They drive to a mine with their time.
So that Slater can disarm the missiles. But oh no! Travolta calls the truck and Slater answers and Travolta taunts him and to Slater’s horror, he discovers that instead of disarming the missiles, he actually armed one and set it to explode in 30 minutes!! The girl freaks. Then helps to try to move the missile underground where it won’t kill everyone. But the bad guys get there and intercept the other missile AND have a shoot out in a mine against poor Slater who calls Travolta totally messed up in the head and suffering from an inferiority complex. This makes Travolta pretty angry and he does his signature evil head cock. He leaves the two down in the mine with a live nuclear missile. While side-kick Kelly throws some grenades down the shaft to be sure. Now they’ll never make it out alive! But wait, there’s an underground river! They take that (which looks super creepy and claustrophobic and like a death trap) and they survive! Slater says, “see those butterflies? In the manual it says if you see butterflies, there isn’t any radiation around.” He’s such a soft at heart kind of guy. The bad guy truck is intercepted again, but this time by a U.S. military helicopter.
The bad guys are at the end of their rope. Or are they? Just then the nuclear explosion (had to go back in time a bit) hits and the shock wave cuts all radio communication and the helicopter crashes. “You the man!” Travolta’s side-kick Kelly says! and they are on their merry way. Oh, I should mention that Travolta whacks the businessman in the throat and kills him and then says “I’ve never killed anyone until now. I mean I’ve thrown bombs on people, but I’ve never killed anyone face to face. I don’t see what the big deal it,” which makes him very, very evil. Then the side kick takes the front seat. They drive to a boat. Slater and the girl are trailing and the girl gets under some canvas and goes off in the boat while Slater is left behind. Oh crap!
I will leave you in suspense for a moment to tell you that strange and numinous things were afoot in the filming of this awesome movie. This is a picture of a couple of UFO’s that were sighted during the filming of this movie.
Okay, Slater meets up with the U.S. peeps and tells them that a civilian girl is involved and we must try to not kill her. Then this guy says: “Do you know what orders are, Pritchard?” which makes everyone THINK means, we have to kill the girl if those are the orders. But then he goes on to say “Because I’m about to break them.” and people all look at one another with wry smiles.
Meanwhile, the girl tries to attack the guy who is fooling with the missile (they are on a train now.) but he knew she was there all along! He hits her and then goes, “We haven’t met. I’m Matt. You should see what I can do with just my thumb.” What the hell does that even mean? Then she throws a hammer at his head and knocks him out, but then, oh man! There’s Travolta with a gun to her head. He holds the gun and does his little head-cocked look and smiles and taunts her. He says Slater is a pussy. But then, there he is! And he’s shooting at them from a helicopter. Travolta is shot in the arm. The girl is hanging on the side of the train. Man, this is where things get really drawn out. Lots of people die, there are explosions galore, and then one train gets disconnected from the other, only to come smashing into the Slater VS. Travolta car. Slater, while getting the shit beat out of him (again) disarms the missile with seconds to go, and gets off the train right as the other hits, which shoots the missile directly into a smiling Travolta. Huge Explosion, then Slater and the girl meet up and she says, “you’re still under arrest,” but she’s sort of hugging him. He says, “yes, you’re going to have to take me in.” We all know what that means, and I don’t mean jail. THE END.