As everyone browsing this site ought to know, Sam Jackson‘s back as Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Don’t you just love ol’ Nick? He’s cool, he’s badass and he’s the only guy outside the pirate genre who can rock the eye patch look. But would you believe that Jackson isn’t the first person to play the super spy? Nope, in his first live action appearance he was portrayed by… wait, what? This can’t be right! Are they serious? I… hang on a sec. Holy crap. I… wow. You’re not going to believe this! He was played by, of all people, THE HOFF! You heard me! David Hasselhoff played Nick Fury!
This was waaaaaaaay back in the forgotten time of 1998. Ah, 1998. When Shania Twain was in the charts, the world was split between those who liked Armageddon and those who liked Deep Impact and The Simpsons was funny. It was a simpler time. It was a happier time. Anyway, the thing I’m talking about was a television movie called Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. And was it any good? Well let’s see who wrote it. David S. Goyer? Ummmm… that’s either good or bad. This is the guy who did Blade, Blade II and Dark City but also did Jumper, Man of Steel and Blade Trinity. It’s too close to tell.
So the film begins in a cryogenics lab (Insert Walt Disney/Phillip J. Fry joke here) where the frozen body of Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker is being kept. Wait… Baron Strucker! Ooooooh! He’s from the comics! Ooooooh! He’s a big villain! Ooooooh! *Slaps self* Get a hold of yourself, man. This is no time for a geekout! And how do we know that it’s the Baron being kept on ice? Because one of the soldiers awkwardly tells us via unnecessary exposition before being shot by a traitor and dying in the most unconvincing manner ever put to film. Goddamn it, this thing jut managed to get me excited. Now it’s ruined. Bad acting and bad writing and we’re only three minutes in.
So why was he shot? Because HYDRA (Oooooooh! *Slap*) is invading the base so they can steal the Baron. Oh no! Who can stop them? Well, remember that guy I said died really badly? Well it turns out he didn’t die. Yep. He faces the HYDRA troops and shouts: “Let us rock and let us ROOOOOLL!” before being shot a few more times by a German accented woman who mugs possibly even more than he does. And not just any woman. It’s Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation! Why do I bring this up? Because it’s just that stupid. Meanwhile in the Yukon, we see a tunnel with the sign “You’d better have a damn good reason for knocking on this door” over it. I can’t tell if that’s incredibly stupid or incredibly cool. Let’s compromise and call it stupidly cool. Inside we see the Hoff himself, eye patch and all. He’s visited by Alexander Goodwin Pierce, played by Neil Roberts, who tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants him to come out of retirement. However Nick is less than happy that he got retired in the first place and tells him to leave. But another agent arrives. Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, played by Lisa Rinna who manages to counterpoint the earlier overacting by underacting like there’s no tomorrow. She tells him that HYDRA took Baron Strucker and that they killed Clay Quartermain. Wait… that guy back in the base was Clay Quartermain? One of the greatest S.H.I.E.L.D agents ever and you kill him in the first five minutes after getting a terrible actor to play him? How dare you!
Needless to say, Nick rejoins S.H.I.E.L.D and they take him to… the Helicarrier? Hot damn! Not only that but they did a pretty decent job using 1990’s television CGI. Things slow down as they are trapped in a lift after the security system doesn’t recognise Nick. So what does he do? He shoots the computer part of the lift. Like a boss! They meet Dum Dum Dugan, played by Gary Chalk who introduces him to Kate Neville, another agent who can read minds. As you do. He then meets the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D who gives him the standard “you’re a goddamn loose cannon” speech from every action film of the 80’s and Gabriel Jones, who is a scientist rather than an agent in this version. So basically we’re introduced to most of the characters that SHOULD be in Marvels Agents of SHIELD! Y’know, the characters from the actual comics? Why do we have Melinda “But if I emote how will the audience know I’m supposed to be a badass” May when we could have gotten Jimmy Woo? WHY?
So Gabe gives him Judge Dredd’s gun (It won’t fire unless Nick himself holds it, so yeah it’s Judge Dredd’s gun!) and we get a pretty awesome scene in which a Life Model Decoy of Fury is being made. We are then told that Strucker’s body was stolen by his children Werner and Andrea Von Strucker as his corpse contains the Death’s Head Virus, a super virus made by Armin Zola in WWII. HYDRA plans to get Zola, currently being held in a S.H.I.E.L.D safehouse and weaponise the virus. So we’ve got S.H.I.E.L.D going up against HYDRA over a virus that could wipe out millions. Awesome! It’s a simple but effective premise.
Andrea (who I shall henceforth call German Sony Blade) assembles the leaders of HYDRA and tells them that they are going to release the virus over New York. I bring this up because the scene is made unintentionally hilarious due to the fact that she chews the scenery like a champ. It’s probably the funniest instance of overacting I have ever seen in my life. Anyway, Nick and the Contessa go to the safehouse to pick up Zola but German Sonya Blade manages to infiltrate it and capture him before they can get any useful information. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she manages to poison him to boot. So in addition to the already cool virus set up, they’re adding a ticking clock to the whole thing? This is surprisingly exciting! And of course the Struckers have the only cure.
German Sonya Blade demands 1 billion dollars ransom in exchange for not releasing the virus on New York. This makes Fury put on his serious business face and he makes a plan. The Contessa will lead a team in New York to find the Virus while Nick will take Pierce and Neville to find the Struckers. As the search goes on, Fury finds the symptoms of the poison are accelerating. But he doesn’t have time to worry about that as the plane they are on is shot down. Despite that they make it to a HYDRA base and proceed through it. However, Fury notes that everything’s been too easy up to this point and shortly after they are ambushed by HYDRA agents and presented before German Sonya Blade who mugs it up as usual, telling them that she’s going to release the virus regardless of whether she gets the money or not. She even plans to kill her brother as well.
Meanwhile in New York, The Contessa catches up to Werner Von Strucker and the virus and discover that they’re going to launch it at Manhattan through four missiles. Nick and the others are held captive before they manage to break out using an explosive device Nick kept in his eye socket. Clever. Disgusting but clever. With the countdown to the missiles launch getting smaller, The Contessa is told to stop the launch despite not hearing anything from Fury. She ambushes Werner and kills him only to find out that the missiles are still going to fire if they don’t input the abort code which German Sonya Blade has. Elsewhere, Fury’s symptoms start getting worse and he orders Pierce and Neville to leave him and get to safety. He makes it through the base to Zola and German Sonya Blade. Zola tries to shoot him with the Judge Dredd gun, which promptly electrocutes him.
Fury and German Sonya Blade fight, which you’d think would mean she couldn’t mug any more, right? Wrong. It’s amazing how easily she overacts. It’s like she was born for a steady diet of scenery. And that diet proves to be a healthy one as she beats Nick and kills him. Except PLOT TWIST! She was fighting his LMD the whole time. Wait… when did he have that? Their plane was destroyed, how could he have brought it with him? Hello? Explain? Helloooo?
So ignoring that small plot canyon, Fury reunites with Pierce and Neville and subdues German Sonya Blade. Neville reads her mind for the code as HYDRA agents attempt to get to them in a genuinely nail biting and tense scene. Luckily the launch is aborted in time and S.H.I.E.L.D comes in to clean up the mess. They manage to get a cure from German Sonya Blade before she escapes with the frozen body of Baron Strucker. Back at the Helicarrier, Nick is cured of the poison, he hooks up with the Contessa and celebrates with the team like the heroes that they are. But what’s this? The film ends with German Sonya Blade resurrects her father? Uh oh!
So is this film any good? Well… yeah. It’s kind of a mixed bag if I’m honest. The plot is great. Kind of your bog standard action plot but, y’know, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it. Most of the actors are pretty good and the ones that aren’t are either underacting or overacting to the point of hilarity. But is the Hoff good as Nick Fury. Hell yeah! This was a surprise but he actually nailed the role perfectly. You might be wondering if he’s better than Sam Jackson but you can’t really compare them, partly because they are written differently. The Hoff’s Fury is a gritty action hero and Samuel’s Fury is a cool, slick super spy. Hasselhoff does it his way and Jackson does it a different way but both are good characters so it doesn’t really matter. Would I recommend this film though? Damn right I would. You’ll enjoy the good parts and the bad parts because the bad parts are so unintentionally hilarious! It’s the best of both worlds. Give it a watch and you’re guaranteed a good time (Notaguaranteeap2hycisnotresponibleandcannotbeheldliableforabadexperiencewatchingamoviesosuckit).
What do YOU think of Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Was it a rollicking spy romp or should they have skipped it and waited for the post credits scene in Iron Man? Why not let us know in the comments or on Twitter?