Imagine a hybrid of “Die Hard” and “Outbreak” and you’ll have some idea what to expect from “Deadly Outbreak,” a formulaic action flick that has martial-arts star Jeff Speakman filling in for Bruce Willis as the right man in the wrong place at the right time. Only undemanding genre fans will care.
Speakman plays Dutton Hatfield, a Special Operations officer assigned to the U.S. embassy in Israel. He goes along for the ride when some visiting American VIPs visit a chemical-weapons research center. Unfortunately, the VIPs are impostors. Led by a former military official (Ron Silver), they take over the center to gain control of something breathlessly described as “possibly the most deadly chemical warfare agent ever designed.” But even though they are heavily armed and highly trained, they are no match for our resourceful hero.
Under the uninspired direction of Rick Avery, “Deadly Outbreak” quickly devolves into a series of predictable cat-and-rat encounters. Occasionally, Speakman tries to bring a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor to the repetitious proceedings. (When some goons try to rape scientist Rochelle Swanson, he shouts: “Hey! That’s not practicing safe sex!”) But Speakman seems much more comfortable when he is kicking butts or cracking heads, while Silver is, for the most part, reduced to sitting behind a desk and glowering at his underlings.