The Worst Movie You've Never Seen - Mask of Death (Episode #5)
In 1997, a little movie called Face/Off popped into theaters and dazzled audiences with it's over the top action and insane story about a cop who trades faces with a criminal to disarm a bomb before time runs out. However, a year earlier, a movie with a very similar story (and a very similar boat chase) called Mask of Death was ignored by everyone...except me (unfortunately). I'd call this the 'poor man's Face/Off', if poor men loved shitty movies.
It's your typical, "guys shoot a thousand bullets at each other but no one ever hits anything but windows" mid-90's action movie. The story goes a bit like this - two criminals - one, a clueless guido named Dalilo, the other, 'famous killer' Lyle Mason, are trying to make a missile technology deal and are caught in the act. As they're rabbiting from the scene, they run into a cop named McKenna and his wife. The wife is shot in the gut and dies, while McKenna is shot through the face, but lives. Mason dies in a car wreck, and the guido gets away. In a stroke of pure luck, the cop looks exactly like Mason, so he has plastic surgery to become Mason in order to track down the guido and get revenge (along with the missile technology).
Holy hell, is this movie bad. Let's start with the cast and crew. It's directed by a guy named David Mitchell, who only directs awful Canadian direct to video movies - namely (and oddly) movies about skiing (including Ski School 2, Ski Hard, Shred & Revenge of the Boarding School Dropouts). It stars Snake Eater lead Lorenzo Lamas, a man who's martial arts make Steven Seagal look like a goddamn ninja, Rae Dawn Chong and Billy Dee Williams (complete with an embarrassing Star Wars reference).
Lorenzo Lamas plays both Lyle Mason and the cop who looks like him - and by looks like him, I mean they just slapped a mustache on him and called him a different name. It's almost as they just disguised Lamas as a homeless Army vet. Even his voice is the same. The doctor's explanation for him living after getting shot through the face is, "he got real lucky, he got shot close up but it must have hit something and broke up a bit". What? The guy got shot through the CHIN. He still talks to the feds with ease while in the hospital a mere hours afterward. After he wakes up in the hospital, he looks in the mirror at his face in disbelief at having his mustache shaved and the fun begins. "When do I get my face back?" "When the mission is completed." (realistically, it's just until his mustache grows back).
Billy Dee Williams prepares him for the mission by saying simply, "it's not enough to look like Mason...you have to think like Mason." Yes, he must now think like a man that he met for three minutes, before getting blasted in the face through a car windshield. The plan they devise? "I guess I'm going to go bust some heads." Deleo is hiding out in a welding shop where he crafts an early prototype of Heisenberg.
At one point, J.D.'s brother from Scrubs shows up and Lamas drops him headfirst off of a building, so at least there's that. It's actually very 'Dark Knight-ish'. The movie ends as anti-climactically as possible, with Lamas slapping a suitcase bomb onto the main bad guy's wrist, blowing him into smithereens as he jumps safely into the water. When it's all over, he asks Billy Dee Williams, "When do I get my old face back?", to which Williams basically tells him never. He then laughs and just...leaves. Uh, what?
This movie (sans the language) could have easily aired on the USA network back in 1996, and I wouldn't be surprised if it did. Overall, it's one of the plainest, most uninteresting action movies I've ever seen in my life, and I wouldn't suggest anyone ever see it. It's not even bad enough to be a fun watch or get any good GIF's out of. It's really just drab and pointless, and I'm almost sorry I spent the time. Don't walk...run to avoid this movie.