Terror in Beverly Hills (1989)

Frank Stallone is Sylvester Stallone’s brother. He is an award-winning musician, including one Top 10 hit and a Grammy Award. He’s worked on the music for several of his brother’s films. And every now and again he acts. As for whether that’s a good thing, I’ll let you decide. But back to this film…

Palestinian terrorists kidnap the president’s daughter! Is Frank Stallone a bad enough dude to save her? Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Terrorists from Palestine kidnap the president’s daughter to exchange for 55 of their fellows held in Israeli prisons. But one of the lead terrorists, Abdul, also secretly worked with an American special forces officer somewhere in the Middle East. That officer? Hack Stone. Seriously, Frank Stallone’s character is named Hack Stone. No, I don’t think the screenwriters were trying. Also, I’m racking my brain to think of why US special forces would be teaming up with Palestinian terrorists in the 1980s. Nothing is coming to me.

Anyway, Abdul blames Hack for getting his family killed way back when, so now he’s back for revenge on top of this whole kidnapping plot. Then again, considering how the film shows folks treating them, I’m actually favoring them. They talk about how one guy was kicked out of a European university for his ethnicity, one woman goes to straight up racism against them, Abdul reveals the US government may have kinda-sorta murdered his family…not gonna lie, these guys have some good reasons to have beef. Hell, even the Palestinians are played by Persian actors. These poor guys have literally nothing going for them. Not that what they do is defensible; they still shoot up a place and blow up a convertible. But that convertible had a shag interior, so you know what? I’m not really upset.

Seriously, a shag interior in a convertible. In that California heat, with ocean spray getting into the seats. Man, that’s gotta be a bitch to clean. You know what? I bet that car was begging for death. The terrorists did it a favor.

Yes, the plot is bad, and the acting is bad, but how is the “movie” part of the movie? Well, it’s bad too. The sound wavers in volume, suddenly getting quiet or loud for no reason. Voices don’t sync up to mouths often. The choreography for shootouts is just plain awful. Even the exploding convertible was terrible; it’s a stock explosion laid over the car. But hey, this movie is happy to show you BOOBS! In one completely unnecessary scene that has absolutely nothing to do with the film, there are strippers totally shaking it for the camera. Not in front of, I mean literally for the camera. I was suspicious that this had suddenly become a porn film, but then characters that had nothing to do with the movie started talking about selling watches or some crap that had nothing to do with the plot. I think I saw one of those characters again a couple of minutes later, and then he vanished forever.  None of this ever came up again.  I find myself even now wondering why.

Terror in Beverly Hills is not a total failure, however. It does have its moments of levity, such as a detective shooting a guy into the pool and then emptying his shotgun into the dead guy just because he’s had a rough day. Cameron Mitchell makes a weird cameo to play a foul-mouthed police captain who throws constant insults so off the wall I don’t know if even he knows what he’s talking about. He’s one of the good guys, but man, he’s gotta have some nasty hemorrhoids. And then there is Hack Stone, whose name is Hack Stone. I’m still struggling to get past that.

In the end, Abdul throws himself out a window to show Hack how to die for one’s cause. Well all right then. Now if only the rest of this movie would follow suit.  Frank…well, at least we’ll always have your music.


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