Monday, October 23, 2017

SIMON SEZ (1999)

PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*

The only interesting point about SIMON SEZ is that so many people who watched it complained about a lack of plot-- and yet, certainly many of the same people in 1999 who stayed away from Dennis Rodman's second (and so far, last) starring film probably contributed to one of the summer's big successes, THE MUMMY. Neither film has a plot worth mentioning, but if anything, SIMON SEZ makes clear from the get-go that it's nothing but sub-James Bond adventure. It's a lot like the B-films churned out for the DTV market, but with more money spent on it, but its lack of pretension puts it slightly ahead of Rodman's other star-turn, 1997's DOUBLE TEAM.

The story is just another among thousands on the theme of "two factions seek the same McGuffin," in this case, a disc containing specs for constructing a super-weapon. Rodman's character Simon (no last name) is an Interpol agent dragged into a kidnapping case by a former Langley classmate, Nick (a manic Dane Cook, trying to sell himself as the next Jim Carrey). There's lots of shooting-scenes, martial arts scenes, and crazy car-driving scenes, all fulfilling the basic quota for the mindless action-film. Simon, despite his trademark face-jewelry, is the only halfway serious character in the film, while everyone else-- his two aides (dressed like Franciscan monks for some damn reason), the capering villain, and the villain's clown-garbed henchmen-- seems to be competing with Cook to be the nuttiest of the nutty. The villain, for instance, wants to use the super-weapon to blow up the Eiffel Tower simply because he's tired of looking at it.

It's by no means a good film, but I've seen worse films that were overly impressed with their own cleverness. The super-ray-thing definitely edged the film into the domain of the marvelous, though there are other metaphenomenal tropes, in addition to the bad guy's unexplained desire to have his henchmen dress like refugees from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Rodman's tech guys also create a mechanical spy-bee, and his car comes equipped with a parasailing parachute.

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