Despite its title and 1980s setting Danger! Danger! isn’t a documentary about the hair metal band that had hits with “Bang Bang” and “Naughty Naughty”. Husband and wife writer/director team Lexie Findarle Trivundza and Nick Trivundza, who have also collaborated on The West and the Ruthless and Tales from the Black Manor, are attempting to do what many have tried, but few have managed to accomplish. Recreate an 80s action epic on a budget that would make a Cannon Films release look epic.
It’s 1985 and Jonathan Danger (Benedict Mazurek, The 6th Degree, Flesh & Blood) has just parachuted onto an island off the coast of Africa, impaling himself on a large stick in the process. Once he removes it and realizes he’s in the middle of someone’s camp he goes looking not for medical supplies but something to light a cigarette with. Because nothing says tough guy like bleeding to death so you can have a smoke.
The camp belongs to Ella Fritz (Alexandra Keller, Black Pumpkin), a German working for the Soviets and not happy to see Jonathan, especially after he steals her Jeep. He escapes but passes out right by another camp, this one belonging to Jungle Jim (Paul Haapaniemi, Monsters of Man, The Racket Boys) an American who takes him for a Russian spy, and his sister Jade (Angela Smeraldi, It’s Not You, It’s Me).
Danger! Danger! is the second feature film from Nick + Lexie and is a love letter to the Spielberg movies of the 1980s like Indiana Jones, The Goonies, and Back to the Future, the very films that made them want to be filmmakers in the first place.Danger! Danger’s Website
With it’s ridiculous character names and over the top tough guy dialogue I thought Danger! Danger! Was meant to be a parody of the genre. And when it’s revealed why everyone is on the island it seemed to confirm it. There’s a temple on the island with the ability to send people back in time. And Jonathan has a map of its location tattooed on his chest. Unfortunately for all concerned Danger! Danger! isn’t very funny. In fact it’s so unfunny I’d almost think it was playing everything straight if it wasn’t way too far over the top to be meant seriously.
While they cite Spielberg as their inspiration, the Trivundzas don’t have the budget to even approximate one of his films. Even having the Russians wear gas masks for no apparent reason except recycling cannon fodder actors can’t give Danger! Danger! nearly enough action scenes to hold the viewer’s interest. And they don’t have the talent to write clever or compelling enough dialogue to make up for it.
I referenced Cannon Pictures earlier and it’s apt. Because despite the filmmakers’ saying they were inspired by the likes of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Danger! Danger! feels like it wants to be seen in the same light as some of Cannon’s releases like the Chuck Norris/Louis Gossett Jr film Firewalker, or either of the Allan Quatermain films with Richard Chamberlin. Unfortunately, the result is something closer to Treasure of the Four Crowns, minus the 3D, than any of those films.
To its credit, once we finally get into the temple Danger! Danger! does have some nice sets that reminded me of Roger Corman’s better Alien rip-offs as well as most of the film’s action. But getting that far is going to be a quest that will defeat many, if not most, viewers.
ITN has released Danger! Danger! free to view on YouTube. So if you’re still curious at least it won’t cost you anything except brain cells. I’ve even embedded it right below the trailer. You can also find out a bit more about the film at its website.