Bad Movie Friday, and Farewell

by Brendan I. Koerner


So my time here is at an end, as you'll be getting a whole new crop of guest bloggers come Monday. As a small token of my appreciation for your forbearance, I'd like to loop you into one of the most popular weekly features I run on Microkhan, my own daily blog. The feature is called Bad Movie Friday, and it's a loving celebration of the dregs of filmdom. Yes, I have a strong affinity for such high-culture exemplars as James Joyce, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and operas about jealous clowns. But I also love to see ninjas go on the attack, preferably accompanied by lots and lots of explosions caused by the unnecessary use of rocket launchers. Guess that makes me a Renaissance man of sorts.

This week's Bad Movie Friday victim comes from Michael Dudikoff's late period, a good ten years after the, er, "glory" of American Ninja. Like many a terrible movie, this turkey goes by two names—either Virtual Assassin (America) or Cyberjack (abroad). If the clip above leaves you confused, this handy plot summary from the pages of Variety should tell you all you need to know about the proceedings:

Baby-faced Michael Dudikoff toplines as Nick James, a guilt-ridden ex-cop drinking himself silly to forget losing his partner to a creepy baddie with a white fright wig and the inexplicable name of Nassim (Brion James looks scary, but he has a mouth full of marbles). Now wearing spray-on stubble and working as a janitor at a high-security research lab, Nick gets his chance for revenge when said stinker and his gang of designer villains show up there, intent on "cyberjacking" a super-virus developed by a top scientist (Jon Cuthbert) and his—what else?—lovely daughter (Suki Kaiser). Guess which one ends up a pawn in the resulting macho showdown.

I've always had a soft spot for Suki Kaiser's work. Her six episodes on Nash Bridges? Glorious. Just glorious. (Also, for an instant, I thought I caught a slumming Isiah "State Sen. Clay Davis" Whitlock Jr. at around the one-minute mark, playing a hologram named Johnny. I've rarely been so happy to be mistaken.)

And with that, I humbly bid goodbye. But this needn't be the bitter end. I've got a book you can check out, as well as a steady gig over at the eternally fantastic Wired. I also post daily over at Microkhan, about topics ranging from Burmese economics to sand smuggling to reptilian stunts. I hope some of y'all will see fit to put my polymathic project into heavy RSS rotation.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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