DESERT HEAT (1999)
also know as: Coyote Moon or Inferno
Directed by John G. Avildsen
Well, it`s a Van Damme flick. Still have a bunch of those to review, but i`m pretty new to the game of doing reviews, so there is a lot to come, and a lot to cover, still.
This is one of my most beloved Van Damme flicks, because it is an allaround fun movie. Pretty unusual , because it isn`t something you would have come to expect from Van Damme. Regardless of the time it came out, or anything else. It is not big budget, because by 1999, his career was on a decline for years already, after he passed on a 3-movies-deal, that would have paid him 12 million $ each. He was hooked on cocaine by then already, and his ego was so high in the clouds, that he demanded to be paid 20 million a movie, just like Jim Carrey. That`s what cocaine does to you, you lose the ability to be realistic, you think you`re god or something. That`s just what i heard,lol. Seems to be very true.
Desert Heat was his first film that didn`t make it into german cinemas. That`s too bad, because it is a very entertaining movie, that deserved better. Just my opinion, but i know i`m not alone in that.
Van Damme plays Eddie Lomax, a war veteran, who wants to end his life.He struggles with what he did in the military, and sees no sense in moving on with life. But before he can end it, he wants the approval of his old friend, Johnny Six-Toes(Danny Trejo), who lives somewhere in the Mojave desert. He brought a bike as a farewell gift, a beautiful Indian motorcycle.
Before he reaches Johnny, he stops in the middle of the desert, to sit down , drinking some whiskey and talking to Johnny, who isn`t really there(which is made obvious later on). He explains his plight and that he needs his ok, to „take the journey“. But then , his conversation is interrupted by some thugs arriving. They soon realise, that he is easy prey, as he is totally drunk and unable to fight them off. He is beaten, and one of the guys gets ordered to shoot him.He pretends to have done it(he simply isn`t as cold-blooded as the rest of the gang).They take the bike and drive away.
A little bit later, he gets picked up by Johnny Six-Toes. How he found him isn`t really explained, but he is an indian, so he might have had a vision or something.
This first scene in the desert really impressed me, when I first saw it, and it`s still great. It`s filmed pretty well, and Van Damme isn`t half bad at acting out his desperation. At least i was touched by it, maybe because I was in a bad mental state myself at that time. It was very easy to relate. But anyway….
Johnny takes him back to his little hut, and treats a bullet wound Eddie suffered from the thugs. During that scene, a coyote appears in the door, and to him that`s a good sign, because:
„In the spring, the full moon shines for the warrior who has lost his way. Coyote is the spirit that leads back to life. If he follows the coyote when the moon is full, the warrior will see the path once more…“ The movie was to be called „Coyote Moon“, or at least the working title. So the Coyote is part of the story. We are by then also introduced to the people living in the small town nearby. A colorful bunch, to say the least.
There is Rhonda, who is a waitress, and a beautiful one , too.
Then there is Mr. Early(Pat Morita), who is alway waiting patiently for his Bertie to come.
An old couple, who is running the only motel in town, and a lot more funny and weird characters. Plus all of the thugs, who are the plague of the town, abusing and extorting the residents. There are two gangs of thugs, who are involved in drugs and anything else, that promises profit. As soon as Eddie is back on his feet, he goes to town, to get back his gun, and most importantly, the bike. It doesn`t take long before he gets into trouble. Actually , it`s the others, who get into trouble, cuz Eddie knows to defend himself very well. He soon befriends the town people(the innocent ones), and by fighting the guys who stole his ride, he frees the locals from the oppression of the local gang.He sabotages the gang`s business and makes them fight each other. The process of him doing that is a fun ride, the supporting cast is nothing short of amazing in giving this film a feelgood vibe i have rarely encountered in other movies.
There is a love interest in the waitress, a few very thankful blondes, who don`t hesitate to thank him with a threesome, and all the other nice people , who are well worth it to take on the scumbags who ruled them, until now.With the help of Eddie and Johnny, they are fighting to take back their town. And Johnny finds a reason to live again, as he falls in love with the beautiful waitress.
John G. Avildsen , who you might remember as the director of Rocky and Karate Kid, did an awesome job here. As i said before, Van Damme is only as good as his directors.
This is only more proof to my theory.
If you haven`t gotten around to see this yet, you should. It`s a damn good time, it leaves you with a big smile on your face, or so i hope.