Gary Busey is Ted Andrews, a formerly rich divorcee who “convinces” his ex-wife to let him take his kids on an ocean trip as he travels to Australia to sell off his yacht. Just one problem: Ted’s new girlfriend is actually a terrorist agent working for a group of mercenaries, and they kidnap his children, murder everyone else on board, and shoot Ted, leaving him to die in the ocean. But he doesn’t, so he teams up with his ex-wife to investigate and find his kids.
If you’re expecting a lot of action in this movie…don’t. There are a few kills at the beginning, a couple in the middle, and then the final showdown, but just about everything else is either talking or investigating. In one scene Gary Busey does run a gunman down in his car, which is entertaining, and he does get told by a police officer in Zanzibar, “There are some things the law can’t do that you can,” giving a sort of justification to his vigilantism. There’s also a throw away line about him being some kind of Navy special forces soldier, but don’t expect that to play too much into the film.
Once Ted and his ex-wife do finally find their missing yacht, they trick the mercenaries off of it, but the mercs then chase them down with a boatload of guns for a showdown on the high seas. It’s not exactly epic, but here are some highlights:
1. The head terrorist uses an unloaded RPG launcher to blow a hole in the yacht.
2. All guns work even when dropped in the ocean.
3. Gary Busey gets stabbed in the leg, shot in the other leg, stabbed in the hand, and can still move just fine.
4. Gary Busey kills a man by shooting him with a flare gun…which causes the boat he is on to explode.
5. The main villain dies by being strangled with a wire cable, stabbed in the heart, and then stuck on the yacht as it sinks into the ocean, letting him live in terrible pain just long enough to drown.
The most important thing about this movie is that it came out in 1988, the year of Gary Busey’s traumatic motorcycle accident that left him with brain damage and turned him into the wild man he is today considered to be. As that accident was in December, that means Act of Piracy is the last movie in which Busey is wholly ok; after this, it’s downhill from here as the after effects of his terrible accident begin to play out.
Of course, don’t think that means Busey stopped acting. No, he made many, many more films after this. And for that, we love him.