Best Bad Action Movies #7: Desert Heat (aka Inferno, aka Coyote Moon)

Year 1999
Stars Jean Claude van Damme, Danny Trejo, Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi)

Plot Eddie Lomax (JCvD) is an Army vet who is disillusioned and ready to kill himself. His last deed is to give his old war(?) buddy Johnny Six Toes (Danny Trejo) his motobike, but he gets beat up, his bike is lifted, and he is left for dead. In order to get his bike back (and give it to his friend), he must battle rival meth gangs.

Eddie gets ready to off Santa Claus. (Oddly, there are not many high-res images of this movie readily available.)

Highlights Most of my BAM (bad action movie) posts needed one sentence to sum up the plot. Desert Heat is a deeper kind of BAM. It is a loose remake of Yojimbo (a lone ranger plays both sides while igniting a war between two rival gangs). Is that a good thing? Well, it is funny. Yojimbo is a wonderful concept that is usually done poorly (none worse than Last Man Standing). It is done poorly here as well, but in an awkward, laughable manner. And it leads to Jean Claude van Damme acting in a movie. This includes a scene where he seemingly falls in love at first sight – which is as unnerving as a scene where JCvD instantly falls in love sounds. … There are a slew of odd characters, including Danny Trejo playing a Native American and Pat Morite playing a Miyagi-esque character (minus the teaching, add the creepy). … At one point Eddie helps out two chicks. They thank him by taking turns banging him, while an elderly lady (who runs the hotel he is residing in) watches through the window. Yeah. … The movie has three titles, and it appears all three are equally “well” known. (That’s a highlight, right?) … Academy Award winning John G. Avildsen (Rocky) directed this movie and tried to get his name removed from the final product. (Total highlight.) … The enemies are two gangs of meth dealers/users. … The variety of action is well balanced, between guns, BOOMS!, and hand-to-hand combat, unfortunately…

Drawbacks There is a decided lack of action for a BAM. Most of this is due to development of the Eddie character and opening up the plot – two unnecessary aspects for a BAM. … There is not one clear, ultimate villain – a BAM must.

Best Take After staying out of the fighting in the movie, Johnny Six Toes joins in while Eddie is stalking the two gangs. Instead of going along with Eddie’s plan, he punches Eddie and creates a “diversion” (or something) and dies. I think he was trying to help save Eddie, but instead he made the situation much more difficult for him. Fortunately, the two gangs are worse than a kung fu movie filled with ninjas donned in black. As, much like the ninjas, they do not use their superior numbers, but unlike the ninjas, they never really attack, and Eddie escapes.

There is this, but not enough of this.

Justification I am a man who can admit when he is wrong. While earlier in the list I had question marks (Out for Justice being the biggest), this one I got plain wrong. Blood Sport should have been JCvD’s entry in the list, but I remembered Desert Heat as a zannier option. (I last saw this one almost a decade ago.) This may be a valid point, but there is a clear lack of action for a BAM. We still get JCvD’s flying kicks, dismal acting, and fair use of guns, but we just do not get enough of it. It is still a highly amusing bad movie, it just does not cut the BAM cheese (moon cheese). Luckily, cleanliness is next to godliness, and God gave me a vision while in the shower.

Make-up Time I was in the shower today, thinking of BAMs*, and it dawned on me that I totally neglected a true BAM artist when compiling the list. To leave out this master’s work would be a true tragedy. Tonight’s unBAM worthy selection, combined with the fact that some incompetence on my end leads to me waiting for the mailman’s delivery of #6 on the list, creates an audible: BAM #6 and one half. (You all wanted a top 11, admit it.)

Next Up.5? doves = icing on the cake (simple math)

*Even when I am not working on a series of posts on BAMs, I often think about them in the shower.

About Judas Pato

Just another hard working member of the press, covering the Chicago Bulls and nonsense - often both, simultaneously.
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2 Responses to Best Bad Action Movies #7: Desert Heat (aka Inferno, aka Coyote Moon)

  1. Desert Heat is great, but if you’re going to overlook one of the JCVD staples (Bloodsport, Sudden Death, Kickboxer) it would have been safer to pick one of the films with multiple jean Claude Van Dammes (Timecop, Replicant, Exit Wounds, or of course Double Impact.) Double the JCVD double the quality of the movie, simple math.

  2. Judas Pato says:

    Usually a fan of logic, I have not the slightest why I did not go with Danny O’D’s simple math. Yet, Timecop has to be dismissed, as it is way too deep – with all the mindfuck time travel.

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