Title: Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Director: Rod Hardy
Writer: David S. Goyer (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox Television
Starring: David Hasselhoff, Lisa Rina, Sandra Hess, and Neil Roberts
Release Date: May 26th, 1998
David Hasselhoff stars as Nick Fury in Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. When Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker’s (Campbell Lane) children Viper (Sandra Hess) and Werner Von Strucker (Scott Heindl) threaten to destroy Manhattan with a deadly virus known as Death’s Hand Virus, the world is held hostage once again by HYDRA. Now it’s up to Nick Fury and allies La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Lisa Rina), Alexander Goodwin Pierce (Neil Roberts), and Timothy Aloysius “Dum Dum” Dugan (Gary Chalk) to stop them once and for all.
The Avengers is only a few days away (for us Yanks), and we’re taking a look back at yet another Avenger here at ComicAttack.net. While Captain America, The Hulk, and even Thor have had plenty of chances to shine on the silver and small screen, Nick Fury had remained in the shadows until Marvel Studios started making films. However, there was one attempt at making a Nick Fury film, titled Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. This is one of those films where you can see the potential good and bad right from the get-go. The positive is that it has David Hasselhoff, who’s the only major actor from the 90s who looked like Nick Fury (aside from Kurt Russell). Plus, it’s produced by Avi Arad and written by David S. Goyer. On the downside, it’s a TV film during the 90s Marvel. Plus, it’s produced by Avi Arad and written by David S. Goyer.
NF: AoS is very much a TV production. Everything you’d expect from a 90s TV production will happen. The opening montage shot of helicopters flying over a beautiful landscape. Location titles at the start of almost every new setting. Old school computer monitors displaying pointless information. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. However, NF: AoS had an impressive budget when you consider that it’s a 90s TV film. The film/sound quality is decent enough, there are some entertaining action scenes (though not as many as there should be), and there’s an amazing number of film sets (remember, adding different settings jacks up the production budget).
The uncanny valley takes a brand new low.
Look wise, David Hasselhoff definitely fits Nick Fury. As far as his portrayal…probably a good deal of the script’s fault. Certainly not even close to being the worst performance in a comic book film (see Howard the Duck). It’s just that Hasselhoff’s Fury comes off as two dimensional from time to time. In a weird way, this Nick Fury reminds me of a serious Ron Burgundy. However, as corny as Nick Fury is here, it definitely fits in with the film’s tone and style, so it’s somewhat entertaining if you just let it be. Plus, did I mention that Hasselhoff looks and sounds a lot like Nick Fury?
The rest of the cast is TV movie casting, which is to say no matter how good the actors are, all of the acting here comes off as completely cheesy. The acting is either deadpan (Lisa Rina) or over-the-top (Sandra Hess). Certainly no one’s getting an Emmy here.
As I said before, a lot of this has to do with the script. It’s not so much the dialog, which is your typical camp fair, as much as the story itself. If I didn’t know anything about Nick Fury, I’d be completely confused with this film (not to say I wasn’t a little bit confused). Non-comic fans would be able to piece together most of the basic elements, such as S.H.I.E.L.D. equals good and HYDRA equals bad. But a lot of the characters’ relationships and past backgrounds would completely go over their heads. In some ways this feels more like a sequel in the sense that it assumes some things and doesn’t set them up. Assumptions aside, this isn’t the best script in the world, either. It does have its superiority over many bad comic book films, such as the fact that it does have a logical sequence of events and it attempts to keep things interesting. But that doesn’t hold it up to the better Marvel films.
And you though Luke and Leia's relationship was creepy.
The biggest flaw with this film is the pacing. Although there are some decent action scenes (for a TV film), there actually aren’t that many. Therefore, the film has to rely on the story. Unfortunately, the story isn’t the best comic book story out there, and thus, sometimes it can feel painfully slow. One of the greatest strengths of the superhero genre, whether it be comic books or films, is the characters. Aside from Nick Fury, no one else is really interesting, and there’s not a lot to invest in this film. Therefore, it’s pretty easy to tune out the film most of the time.
With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised with NF: AoS. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing great. But it was decent enough to where I could watch it the whole way through without rolling my eyes, and even be entertained every few moments. Then again, I’ve watched The Asylum films and every other terrible film, so perhaps I’ve become immune to bad films. If you’ve watched TV films, then you know what you’re in for. Certainly nothing to pay money for, but if it’s a Saturday night and there’s nothing better on the movie channels, give it a go.