Terror in Beverly Hills 1989 ***

A wonderful entry in the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ category, this woebegone action film is presumably made to cash in on the huge wave of terrorist activity that hit Beverley Hills in the 80’s.  The superb Iranian actor Behrouz Vossoughi  brings real intensity to his role as Abdul, a villainous terrorist who wants to force Israel to release political prisoners. Abdul flies to LA and pulls together the kidnapping of the president’s daughter from a Rodeo-Drive mall, and the cops (led by Cameron Mitchell) turn to the best man; high-kicking kung-fu expert Hank Stone. Played by Frank Stallone, singing brother of Sylvester and usually relegated to support roles in his brother’s films, Stallone is mysteriously off-screen for most of the duration of John Meyhers’s film, which has a raw Invasion USA/Red Dawn feel of political exploitation, plus bursts of violence and nudity. Terror In Beverly Hills isn’t exactly good when Stallone is off-screen, but it’s hilarious for every second that his implausible presence is visible; there’s a reason by Stallone is a punch-line to SNL jokes, and it’s all on display here, with disinterested line-readings, terrible action scenes and an air of ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ every time Frank appears. William Smith also knocks it out of the park as the president, who, like most of the cast, displays an oddly jovial attitude at odds with the supposedly serious story.


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