Mach 2 (2001)

Throughout recent film history NFL star players have tried their hand at acting, in the hopes of transmuting their NFL popularity into silver screen stardom. Many of these players are household names to this day, and others just fade into obscurity. This usually happens when it’s finally realized that they have as much acting ability as a piece of granite. Here’s a short list of memorable (or not so) NFL player film appearances:

OJ Simpson – The Naked Gun films

Fred Williamson – The most successful of the bunch with over 100 acting credits

Bubba Smith – The Police Academy movies

Brett Favre – There’s Something About Mary

Dan Marino – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Jim Brown – Any Given Sunday, Mars Attacks & many more

Carl Weathers – Rocky films, Predator & Happy Gilmore

Lawrence Taylor – Any Given Sunday & The Waterboy

Brian Bosworth – Stone Cold

Now of all of those, the Lawrence Taylor cameo in The Waterboy is far and away my favorite. The main reason there is the blatant irony of his appearance speaking to a group of young boys about not smoking crack. Taylor was notorious for rampant drug use throughout his NFL career. He was subsequently busted a few months after the film’s release for, you guessed it, crack cocaine possession. That may have been the funniest thing to occur in any Adam Sandler movie. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not up there just because he never played in the NFL due to injury, but his acting career in in the stratosphere as he has become a huge box office draw. Most of these are just cameo appearances or supporting roles, but some were starring role attempts. This brings me to the man at the bottom of that list, Brian Bosworth.

Bosworth was a bust as a linebacker in the NFL, but his “colorful” personality should translate well into an acting career….right? His first feature, Stone Cold, was pretty much as big a failure as his NFL career. It’s too bad that using steroids doesn’t make you a better actor. He’s making movies so technically he has a career, but the quality is seriously lacking. Take Mach 2, for example. Bosworth plays an Air Force officer who can’t fly a plane. That’s only the beginning….

After a successful thwarting of terrorists wearing Wrangler jeans and LL Bean sweaters, Jack Tyree (Bosworth) is assigned to protect a presidential nominee on a hostage negotiation trip to The Balkans while aboard a Concorde jet. It seems every exterior shot of the Concorde jet was stolen from Airport ‘79. Using public domain stock footage is one thing, but stealing part of another movie to use as as your own is pretty low. What was shot originally for Mach 2 was done so in Burbank, California, so I suppose that explains the palm trees at the airport when the plane took off from Washington DC. As an Air Force officer, I would have assumed that Jack Tyree would know how to hold a pistol properly. Bosworth, however, portrays this act by sticking his pinky out like Nathan Lane drinking a cup of tea. Delivering one-liners is a staple of action films. Surely this would be why The Boz is given these acting roles? Bosworth delivers such gems as “Maybe next time he’ll buy a ticket.” (after throwing a terrorist off a train) with as much charisma as a lump of seaweed. They probably would have been better off casting one of Bosworth’s shriveled testicles in the lead role here (Adult Swim is already working on the series).

Michael Dorn, who will forever be known to me as Lt. Warf from Star Trek: The Next Generation, shows up on the plane as Secret Service. Soon, Warf and his partners highjack the plane, kill the pilots, steal some top secret intel and leave the the passengers for dead. A Skydiving sequence ensues, though there is not actual footage of the skydive since they have no external shots of the plane that weren’t stolen. So the bad guys jump out of the plane and immediately appear in a car on the ground being chased by French police, who apparently are armed with bazookas.

Who could be responsible for this joke of a film? His name is Fred Olen Ray. You may be familiar with his B movie schlock if you ever watched USA’s Up All Night or Monstervision on TNT in the 1990’s. Ray has at least 8 different director aliases, so you may have seen one of his movies and not even known it. He’s directed over 120 films, at least 16 of these have the word “Bikini” in the title. The guy obviously knows what he’s doing, as there are too many hilarious moments in here for this to be unplanned. A character surprisingly gets shot and falls backwards onto a piano, which makes the appropriate sound for a shocking turn of events.

This comes really close to falling into the “It’s so bad it’s good” category of movies, but it’s Bosworth, the star of the film who tries to take this too seriously. I’m sure he imagined himself the next Arnold Schwartzenegger, but Arnold has 100 times more onscreen charm than this clown. Still, I laughed my ass off at this movie.

-Wes Kelly


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