Rare is the combat film that’s as awful, and instantly-so, as “Rogue Warfare,” a thriller as inept as its clunky title.
It begins with a poorly-accented diatribe by the Supreme Leader (Essam Ferris) of a new terror cell called “The Black Mask.”
But Supreme Leader’s mask looks like last season’s sale at Victoria’s Secret. It’s a damned veil, and his whole getup is borderline hijab — feminine. When you’ve wrapped your villain in ninja black with a veil, it’s all downhill from there. And having him go on and on and on about “Your world despises us” to a video camera, asking rhetorical questions (again, in English) about “What pushes my meter?”
Give the guy a lisp and this could be a pre-“woke” comedy.
His followers raid a village, take prisoner the one villager who shoots several of their number, and pointlessly gives him the “You’re either with me or against me” speech, when he knows and we know and the victim knows he’s just going to shoot him and his entire family.
Veteran heavy Stephen Lang makes a car payment for showing up to pen a letter and narrate it in interior monologue (Didn’t even have to memorize lines!) as the president launching Project Rogue.
The script has Trumpian alliance-with-our-enemies overtones, as it includes China and Russia in this international commando team sent to hunt Black Mask and Diana Ross and the Supremes Leader.
The firefights feature digital blood bursts, the dialogue is leftover from 432 previous combat pictures — EVERY guy ever shot in action is told “Look at me! STAY with ME!” — and there’s Chris Mulkey, another veteran heavy, wearing three stars and sending this crack corps into combat.
Some of these dudes don’t appear to have ever held a firearm, and can’t fake it convincingly even when they know the camera is on them.
It’s rubbish, start to finish. And bless their hearts, I see they’ve got a sequel in the works.
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout
Cast: Will Yun Lee, Jermaine Love, Katie Keene, Essam Ferris, Rory Markham, Fernando Chien, Stephen Lang and Chris Mulkey
Credits: Written and directed by Mike Gunther. A Saban Films/Netflix release.
Running time: 1:43