Blast Review: No Running. No Petting. No Bombing.
Updated: Apr 17
Dir: Albert Pyun
Release Date: 1997
“Terrorists attempt to disrupt the Atlanta Olympics by kidnapping the U.S. women's swim team. Only janitor Jack Bryant, a former Olympic Tae Kwon Do champion hit by injuries and alcoholism can stop them.”
There have been plenty of Die Hard rip-offs, some set on a ship, on a train, on a plane, at an ice hockey match and now.... A swimming pool!
With the women's Olympic swimming team being the obvious target for terrorism. Nothing teaches America a lesson like messing with their Goddam swim teams. I was hoping for a, ‘Based on a true story’, credit and, while it gives us that, they then throw in that it is what “could have happened” if the FBI didn’t thwart a plot back at the Atlanta Olympics. Watch this and you will surely agree that it is massively unlikely that this could ever happen.
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) plays the brilliantly named terrorist, Omodo, but probably wishes he was somewhere else and, as is customary to show how evil he is, he needlessly kills people instead of just tying them up. His accent is a law unto itself, changing numerous times throughout.
Who can save the swim team? Nobody? Wait! There is someone:
THE GODAMNED JANITOR!! Jack Bryant! Only the janitor can save the day!
Former Martial Arts expert, former military and ex-husband of swimming trainer, turned full time janitor, Jack is on hand to dispense some unlikely janitorial justice whilst also maintaining clean bathrooms and deploying wet floor warning signs.
This janitor is played by Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat) and he whips wet towels like the best of them – should have been his finishing move in the other film – but even he can’t do it alone. He has some help from a large black female janitor who is somehow doing a good job of sneaking around and hiding from the terrorists until she is just killed off leaving him flying strictly solo.
Rutger Hauer (YES!!!) rolls up as Leo! He literally rolls up as well due to him being a double amputee in a motorised wheelchair and, for some reason, has some little pigtails like Willie Nelson.
Leo has been after Omodo for years as he was responsible for blowing his legs off and I guess it’s hard to forgive that kind of thing.
So, Leo sits in a darkened van and whispers shit to Bryant who is sneaking around, spying on/fighting terrorists and reporting back.
Omodo has already set his bombs so does very little apart from walking around, looking angry and saying some evil terroristy stuff.
Nothing really happens for quite some time.
We obviously get some background on why Bryant is now a janitor at a swimming pool after such a seemingly prestigious background. We also get some background as to why he and his swimming team wife are now separated. It is all quite boring so I won’t waste any time on that. I wish they hadn’t either but I guess they needed to fill 90+minutes.
Bryant at one point obtains guns and promptly wastes all of the ammunition as he fires them randomly, hitting nothing and nobody.
So much for his military expertise.
You have to get through 90 minutes of soap opera drama, an angry, strutting, Divoff, a mumbling Rutger Hauer and quite relentlessly poor action (we do get a leg break which is always a bonus) until the jewel in the crown finale which almost (not quite) saves the whole film and will live with you for a lifetime.
At the climax, they finally make the decision to send in a S.W.A.T. team which naturally includes the old guy with no legs and pigtails.
After a shootout which eliminates the remaining bad guys, with Bryant at one point somehow flipping a gun from flat on the floor with his foot and shooting a guy who already had his gun pointed at him yet failing to fire it.
He did this same trick earlier but with a towel which was less impressive but is far more believable.
The henchman looks suitably surprised by the whole event.
Omodo is very slowly chasing Bryant’s wife when, speeding into the pool area at around 5mph, comes Rutger Hauer brandishing a sword.
He rolls right up to Divoff, stabs him and then pulls some sort of release cord on his chair while somehow propelling himself into the swimming pool.
On his chair, he has left a note saying, “Time’s up!”, but he does still have enough time to tell Bryant’s wife to get into the water. She does but Omodo just stays still and looks at the camera until a big CGI explosion apparently destroys everything not in the water.
Leo mentions he used to be a pretty good swimmer which is just as well because they leave him treading water (with no legs?!) for about a full 5 minutes while they rescue her, unzip her from the bomb vest, she gets back together with Bryant and they get a freeze frame smile ending.
I can’t honestly recommend this film to anyone but that ridiculous ending is well worth a watch.
FAVOURITE CHARACTER: The swim team hostages (including a young Shannon Elizabeth) for keeping their swimming caps on throughout their ordeal
FAVOURITE MOMENT: No-legs Rutger Hauer rolling in wielding a sword
Leo (while he is still in the swimming pool): “Hey. I’m gonna need some fins pretty soon”
FAVOURITE DEATH: Top terrorist Omodo failing to protect himself against half a man and exploding