In the TV show Burn
Notice Bruce Campbell steals just about every scene he's in. As ex-Navy Seal and shameless womanizer Sam
Axe (a tribute to Ash, the role he played in The Evil Dead
well-connected, tough, and very irreverent which lends the character a
deal of charm. It only seems natural
that they'd someday reveal just how and why Sam left the US Navy. Instead of telling the story as a sidebar in Burn Notice, Campbell
gets his own made-for-TV movie: The
Fall of Sam Axe. While the feature-length
film does have some
holes, when all is said and done it's a fun romp and a well deserved
the spotlight for Axe.
Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) is in trouble. Escorted
by MPs to a hearing room, he's asked
to tell his part in a military fiasco that happened down somewhere in South America. He starts at the 'unofficial' beginning of the
story, where he is caught in bed with his latest conquest:
unfortunately (and unbeknownst to the sailor)
an admiral's hot trophy wife. For that
indiscretion he's sent to Columbia. A governor there has requested US
in getting rid of a terrorists group, The Flaming Sword.
Axe is supposed to observe and assess the
situation, for as long as it takes.
Months wouldn't be out of the question.
Axe is put with Comandante Veracruz's
team and together they go into
the jungle to check out a piece of intelligence. Veracruz
has heard that the Flaming Sword is going to attack a small hospital in
middle of nowhere that's strategically important. When
they get to the medical center, operated
by a doctor, Ben Delaney (RonReaco Lee), and an aid worker, Amanda
Sanchez), they don't get a warm reception.
The pair does not want the military around, in their experience
the problem not the solution, and tell the men to leave.
That evening Axe slips out of his tent and follows Veracruz. He
overhears his plan to destroy the hospital
himself, kill all the patients, and blame it on the Flaming Sword so
can get a bunch of American foreign aide.
And Sam? He'll have to kill him
After hearing this Sam takes off to warn the hospital.
He manages to get there in time, but only an
hour or so before Veracruz. He needs a diversion to save the patients and
staff, so with the aid of a plucky young girl he finds, Beatriz (Ilza
he MacGyver's bomb and blows up the hospital, driving away in the smoke
confusion. But, it is miles and miles to
the nearest hospital and they need some place safe to hide until help
arrive. That's when Beatriz suggests
hiding with the Flaming Sword. Something
Sam does not want to do, but realizes that he has no choice.
This was a fun show, not meant to be taken too
seriously. Like Burn Notice,
this isn't supposed to show the gritty reality of a
situation, instead it's an entertaining way to spend an evening and it
at what it sets out to do. Campbell is one
hell of a
charismatic guy and he puts that to good use in this movie. The film is fun while Campbell's on screen, which
most of the time, and he's the same loveable, deadly goofball as he
his TV show. There are some really fun
moments, like when the members of the Flaming Sword give Sam a
Chin, and we also get to see the origin of Chuck Finnley, the cover
uses (often with great comical effect) on Burn
Notice. A scene late in the movie
where Sam, unarmed, offers a small army the chance to surrender is also
Having said that, and I did enjoy the movie, you really have
to be willing to suspend your disbelief.
There are a lot of plot holes and things that just wouldn't
real life (not limited to the deal Sam cuts at the end of the movie)
and small. If you're the type of person
who gets pulled out of a film when an admiral calls a Navy man
should be "sailor") they you'll have a lot of trouble with the film. If you can just sit back and relax though,
you'll have a good time.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track does a good job of
putting the viewer in the middle of the action.
It's not a spectacular mix, but this is a made-for-TV movie, and
you take that into consideration it's pretty damn good.
The explosions and battle noises have a good
amount of impact and the rest of the time the sound field is used to
I wasn't expecting a lot from this since the Blu-rays of Burn
Notice weren't stellar. To my pleasant
surprise the disc looks very
good. The colors were strong and
the level of detail was good to excellent, and the whole production had
tone. Digitally things look equally good
with no significant compression artifacts.
This is a nice looking film.
There are only a few extras, but they're all great and I'll
take quality over quantity any day.
First off is a commentary track with Bruce Campbell, (director
film and star of Burn Notice) Jeffrey
Donovan, and Matt Nix. It's great fun
and something you'll want to listen to.
Next is a faux making-of featurette The Fall of Jeffrey Donovan. Running a little over 10 minutes, it shows
how the TV star jumped behind the camera, and went crazy filming this
movie in Columbia. It's a lot of fun and one of the best
behind-the-scenes bits (even though it's a parody) that I've ever seen. They also include a panel at Comic-Con from
2010 that's funny and informative though it would have been more fun if
were actually there. The extras are
wrapped up with a little more than a minute worth of deleted scenes.
If you enjoy Bruce Campbell on Burn Notice, you enjoy seeing
(at least some of) his character's background in this TV film. We finally get to see just how and why Sam
Axe left the Navy and on top of that how he settled on Chuck Finnley as
cover identity, and the latter alone is worth the price of admission. Recommended.