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Laramie Movie Scope:
Project: Human Weapon (Mindstorm)

Low-budget thriller looks like a TV movie of the week

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 10, 2002 -- "Project: Human Weapon" looks like it was made for televison. No, wait, that's kind of an insult to TV movies. This is like a pilot for a TV movie that failed. This movie is only listed in the Internet Movie Database as "Mindstorm," (that is not the only movie in the IMDB with that title, by the way) which is a better title, but it is on the shelf of the local video rental shops under the title: "Project: Human Weapon."

Filmed mostly in Sofia, Bulgaria, its main claim to fame is Judge Reinhold, the only actor in the film with a name recognizable to those living outside the old Ottoman Empire. Reinhold plays a "black ops" agent named Evan Mink living in exile in Frankfurt. He is contacted by his former employer, the slimy and deadly Rojack (played by William Zabka) to find a runaway agent named Jerry Cheminski (played by Victor Browne of "54"). It seems Cheminski has fantastic metal powers, including telepathy, telekinesis and others. Cheminski and other mental giants were trained under a secret joint Russian-U.S. project in Europe to be powerful secret agents, and now Cheminski has escaped.

Mink doesn't like Rojack because of past history explained in a flashback at the beginning of the movie. He decides to take the assignment anyway because he needs Rojack's help to get back to the states. Mink leads a team into Bulgaria to try to find Cheminski. Their only lead is that they know where his sister Sylvia (played by Rositza Chorbadjiiska) lives. Mink's team arrives at Sylvia's place only to find total destruction. It seems the Russians are also hunting for Cheminski and they are one jump ahead of Mink. The race is on. Plot developments are routine until the end of the film when it suddenly switches genres. The rest of the film is standard spy action stuff.

I hardly recognized Reinhold. He's put on a lot of weight (a lot of it looks like muscle) and his face shows its been a lot of years since the glory days of "Beverly Hills Cop." He actually looks like he could be the world-weary tough spy type he plays in the film. The rest of the characters are forgettable. The writing, by Terri Neish and Patrick Phillips (story by Phillip Roth) is hampered by stiff dialogue, except for one memorable standoff scene. There are some good low-budget special effects, including some air-to-air missiles, helicopters and a jet crash. The best of the effects are computer-generated. There is also an interesting "heat wave" effect used to designate the use of telekinetic force. Digital effects were done by Harry Eisenstein, Kevin Gendreau and Dave Jerrard. The opening title sequence uses a nice negative image effect. The camera work calls too much attention to itself in most of the film. I thought I was going to get dizzy when the camera kept circling around a table in one scene. It was too much.

This is a below-average film which looks like it was made for television or was made to go straight to video. The DVD has no extras, no widescreen option, no scene selections, no previews, no sound options, no subtitles, etc. Just the movie in full screen format. This film rates a D.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2002 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)