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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Retro Review: No Contest (1995)

No Contest
Cast: Shannon Tweed, Robert Davi, Andrew Dice Clay, Roddy Piper
Genre: Action

Plot: A Miss Galaxy beauty pageant competition is hijacked by a gang who take a number of hostages and demand diamonds

'So-So Canadian Die Hard B-Movie Clone'

A clone of the 1988 John McTiernan action blockbuster, Die Hard with Bruce Willis, No Contest is a Die Hard version of Miss Congeniality with the beauty pageant subplot added that went straight to video back in the mid-1990s and is a low-budget affair. I wasn't expecting much at all from this, but for the action itself; at most I was thinking it would be average at best. 

Which by all accounts, it is. 

The film stars Shannon Tweed as a female John McClane; i.e. a cop who finds herself in a bit of trouble when a bunch of evil terrorists invade a Miss Universe-style beauty pageant with heavy machine guns. Dice Clay's villain takes Miss USA Candice hostage, in return for a $10 million ransom. Tweed's character, Sharon poses as one of the hosts of the pageant, who later turns out to be a cop who has to save and rescue the other girls and blow up the baddies, with the aid of a security officer played by Robert Davi. 

The premise is somewhat interesting and the execution, for a Z/B-movie was okay. Whilst a lot of people will find the violence and action scenes to be tame (which it was) and not as hard-hitting and graphic (& hard-hitting it wasn't), this was something I could give, as well as take for a low-budget action film. Obviously, if this had been a big budget affair and the action was terrible, then I would chastise it more. The fight scenes were somewhat of a joke though, bordering on as almost bad and as convincing as Shannon tried to be by landing those kicks and punches, - though most of the work was done by her stunt double. No Contest is more lower-tier, direct-to-DVD stuff, rather than the middle of the road fare. 

I didn't care for Andrew 'Clay' Dice's villain character; I didn't pay attention to him at all actually, whilst the late Rowdy Roddy Piper was really rowdy and hams it up as one of the other goons. He also manages to bring some insanity and menace to not just the role, but also in a film such as this that is to be expected. 

No Contest resonates with a trashiness that reverberates almost throughout the entire film, B-movie style -only to come to a massive halt by the end. The film does gain a few points by gifting Shannon Tweed a role that doesn't involve taking her clothes off, like with all of her softcore porn movies, which she has made a reputation of being known for. Even if her fight scenes needed more work and that sometimes, I found it difficult to take her seriously as a cop. 

As a Die-Hard -type of film, this isn't too bad as efforts go and as corny and half-baked as it is, I couldn't help but go along for the ride. The film tries to bring that Die Hard feel to life and at most, it's decent enough yet very thin. The casting choices are ideal, although I am a bit critical with regards to the fight scenes. 

The ending is badly edited and looks shoddy, although here, it seems the director's intention was to make sure it looked and feels every inch of the action flick and with all the trimmings and more cost-effectively also. In contrast to another B-movie action film, in say, Exit Speed (a favourite of mines) however, action-wise, entertainment-wise, re-watch-ability factor No Contest doesn't have it in spades, nor is it as good. 

Final Verdict:

Whilst it offers nothing new and doesn't stand out from the millions of other action films, it tries its best and it gets A for effort. As a whole, it's not bad and whilst I have seen better, it's just about watchable. But it is not a film that I would revisit all the time.


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