Sam Jackson wasn’t the first Col. Nick Fury. There was another! Oh yes! The idea of former Baywatch beefcake David Hasselhoff playing Nick Fury in any film probably would make any geek cringe. The Hoff over his extended television career had become known for his tight jeans, swim trunks and his tendency to over act. Think of The Hoff as the 80′s version of William Shatner minus the Star Trek connection.
Toward the late ’90s, before the success of Blade and the X-Men films that would boost the real image adaptations from comic books, a failure was created for everyone’s collection: “Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD , “starring the iconic star of two of the biggest shows ever on TV, “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch”, the one and only David Hasselhoff. With a flap in his eye and cigar in his mouth!
Nick Fury came to the Hoff when he was looking for an exit from Baywatch. “Baywatch Nights” has just laid a giant steaming turd in syndication and The Hoff’s main character Mitch Buchanan was being phased out of the main series. Hoff was looking for a change.
In this 1998 TV movie, which did have a clause to be turned into a series if successful, Hoff plays retired Col. Nick Fury who has seen the greatest missions of his life pass him by.
But when his arch-nemesis’s body is stolen from a secure facility, Nick is called back into action.
Think Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando with a Marvel comics twist.
The movie is written by David S. Goyer who wrote this movie the same year as the “Blade” franchise was launched and the cult classic “Dark City” was released. Both movies Mr. Goyer also wrote.
Goyer would go on to reboot the “Batman” franchise with Christopher Nolan almost a decade later with the awesome “Batman Begins”.
What people seem to forget when it comes to this film is that it is extremely loyal to the source material and in some ways feels like a pre-cursor to the new Marvel movement. You see, previous Marvel films had been disasters and the properties seemed cursed with films like 1989′s The Punisher, 1990′s Captain America, 1986′s Howard the Duck, etc. It wasn’t until really the success of “Blade” and Sony’s 2002 Spider-Man film that it all slowly started to change.
In 1997, when Goyer sat down to write both Blade and Nick Fury he really dove into the source material. A comic fan himself he knew that if you stay close to the source then the concept will work.
When I actually sat down and revisited Nick Fury, I was shocked. The movie isn’t really all that bad. You have Nick Fury facing off against Baron Von Strucker (well, his twisted offspring). It is a vintage SHIELD vs. Hydra struggle.
The movie was on a really restrictive budget but you also get the Helli-Carrier, SHIELD gadgets and vehicles. The Hoff buts heads with his love interest played by soap vet Lisa Rinna.
Like all action films of this vain, you have silly one-liners and some macho dialogue but really nothing strays far from Fury’s hard demeanor we all know from the comics.
The Hoff’s performance as Fury is a mixture of all the macho men of action he has played over the years. If you can get over the idea of him playing this character then the film isn’t that bad. Actually even surprising in parts.
One of those surprising things is that Hasselhoff’s performance is actually the most subdued of the cast. Sandra Hess’s performance as the daughter of Von Strucker is just plain ridiculous.
This movie is better than any of those other cursed Marvel projects I mentioned before. A series could have even been interesting especially if it could have landed a syndicated deal like Hasselhoff’s Baywatch.
It is not as bad as you might think.
3.5 out of 5
Have you seen it? What did you think? Let us know in the usual place!