I’ve started a new YouTube channel called Dead VCR (named for this wonderful camcorder title) to house my bad VHS collection. My first video is Laser MIssion which I found in a chest-high cardboard box full of kids’ videos at the local Salvation Army. The title sounds like a really bad Atari 2600 paddle game.
Laser Mission has two noteworthy stars in Brandon Lee and Ernest Borgnine. The back cover refers to Borgnine’s character as The Laser Master. This was what sold me. The Laser Master starring Ernest Borgnine sounds like the title of the greatest movie never made.
The basic story is Lee’s character, Gold, is a mercenary with a heart of, well, gold sent by the CIA to rescue Dr. Braun (Borgnine) who knows how to create a nuclear weapon using the world’s most precious and recently stolen diamond. There’s not much explanation of how someone becomes a nuclear weapons expert with a specialization in lasers and rare diamonds.
The film features bad accents, especially Borgnine’s, old school stunts, some of which look like they found guys on the street willing to jump out of a moving Jeep for $10, a high body count mostly involving drive-by shootings in an indestructible VW van, and a lot of horrible dialogue, the best coming from the sexual tension between Lee and the buxom female lead. There’s also a rocking power anthem “Mercenary Man” that plays countless times, cued up anytime there’s a remotely dramatic pause. I’ve included it twice in the video just to give you a good feel for its power.
For a more detailed analysis of Laser Mission check out this lengthy review via Something Awful. Somehow this film was released into the public domain and is available in full on YouTube and the Internet Archive.