Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
One of the movie magazines ran a spread recently about all of the "Die Hard" clones. The formula is familiar: Blackmailing terrorists gain control of a high-rise, or let's say, a sports arena, and threaten to destroy it unless megabucks are transferred to their account. One brave man finds out about the plan, and works as a lone wolf to stop them. (The ads almost always end with the dramatic line, ". . . but they didn't count on - one man!") There are a lot of special effects, many fights and chases, and a sensational climax.
Finally it all comes down to a one-on-one between the hero and the villain, preferably employing the Climbing Villain Syndrome, in which the bad guy climbs to escape, which doesn't make a lot of sense unless he knows that the movie has to end with his spectacular fall. "Sudden Death" follows this "Die Hard" formula faithfully, with the intriguing switch that it is the hero who speaks with an accent.
(Belgian-born Jean-Claude Van Damme deserves credit for transforming himself into an action star and improving his English, but it's premature to give his characters WASP names like Darren McCord.) In the movie's prologue, he's a hero fireman who fails to save a little girl's life. This crushes McCord and leads to his resignation and divorce. As we pick up the story a couple of years later, he's a security guard in a Pittsburgh sports arena where the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are about to play a hockey match.
The vice president of the United States will be attending the game. An unshaven blackmailer named Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) plans to invade the VIP suite, hold the vice president hostage, and demand payment of tons of money. His demands also include peace on Earth and the eradication of mini-malls. This is not a guy without things on his mind.