Boasting excellent production values, McBain is a silly action film that has the elements of an A-grade picture but fails to create an engrossing or believable narrative. Pic becomes a spoof of itself and the genre early on and never recovers.
Prolog has Chick Vennera and fellow soldiers rescuing POW Christopher Walken on the day the Vietnam War ended in 1973, so Walken owes him one. When Vennera is killed in an abortive coup of the Colombian government 18 years later, Walken agrees to help Vennera’s sister (Maria Conchita Alonso) overthrow the drug cartel-run dictatorship there and let the common people come to power.
Cartoonish action is amusing but never gripping. Walken appears awkward and bored with a stiff-upper-lip assignment more suited to director James Glickenhaus’ 1980 Exterminator leading man Robert Ginty. The extreme earnestness of Alonso as the freedom fighter is overdone. There is no romance in the pic and zero chemistry between the two leads, a glaring deficiency. Filming in the Philippines instead of South America results in Filipino extras who definitely don’t look authentic.