Silent Trigger (1996)

Rating: **
Review Date: 5/7/17
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Gina Bellman

"Slide over and drive. It will give you something to do other than talk."

A low budget action thriller from director Russell Mulcahy that suffers from terrible dialog and embarrassingly bad visual effects. Dolph Lundgren is a nameless sniper who is one of the best in his field. His spotter is the radiantly beautiful Gina Bellman, who is ordered to kill him when their mission to assassinate a foreign political figure is compromised. They both manage to escape with their lives, but fate brings them back together on another job at some undisclosed time in the future. Lundgren is understandably paranoid. Is it a set up and can Bellman be trusted? Is she there to assist him or to kill him? Or perhaps both? And are there even more players involved behind the scenes?

Nearly the entire film takes place on the top floor of an abandoned skyscraper, and the budget constraints are painfully obvious. The history between Lundgren and Bellman is told in a series of extended flashbacks, and over the course of the evening they regain a little of each other's trust. There's also a pointless and inexplicable love scene thrown in towards the end that makes no sense at all, but I appreciated seeing Bellman in her underwear. She's a very pretty and sensual actress, and her fierce screen presence is captivating. Lundgren gives a good performance and his character is sympathetic and likable. Unfortunately, the crazy coked-up security guard is completely over the top and a constant irritant.

The action is passable for the genre and the bullet wounds are appropriately messy. However, the overreaching visual effects are appallingly bad, which consist of terrible CGI graphics, dreadful matte paintings, unconvincing models, and awful looking composite shots. If nothing else, it's a somber reminder that low budget movies from the 90's suffered horribly from cheap CGI effects. The lighting is also questionable and overly saturated, which tends to create an inappropriately cartoonish look. While this may be part of Mulcahy's style, it doesn't really work in this film.

The framework of the story is decent, but the dialog is cringe-worthy and a lot of things are left unexplained. The DVD version of the film has about eight minutes cut out of it, which might explain some of the logic gaps. Or maybe the original cut just includes more sex and violence? It's hard to tell. Overall, I enjoyed the film as long as I didn't take it too seriously, and I really enjoyed watching Gina Bellman and listening to her smooth and seductive voice.