Review: Nick Fury – Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. / Cert: 15 / Director: Ron Hardy / Screenplay: David Goyer / Starring: David Hasselhoff, Lisa Rinna, Sandra Hess, Tracy Waterhouse / Release Date: January 20th
Those of you who are only familiar with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury may be surprised to learn that the original comic book Nick Fury was a grizzled, hands-on white male with a full, if greying, head of hair. Bar an attitude and an eye-patch, Jackson’s ‘Ultimate’ Fury differs in many ways to the regular ‘616’ Fury. And much like Jackson’s version, this alternative version of Fury has also received the movie treatment.
Way back in 1998, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was produced as a direct-to-TV movie. Here we find a ‘sent out to pasture’ Fury (Hasselhoff) being brought back into the S.H.I.E.L.D. fold to help nullify the reignited threat of the dastardly HYDRA organisation. Determined to bring her father, the evil Baron von Strucker, back to life and make HYDRA a feared force once more, Andrea von Strucker (Hess) decides to make a statement of intent by levelling Manhattan. Only Fury, complete with the assistance of S.H.I.E.L.D. faces old and new, can foil HYDRA’s plan and save the city.
With an opening that looks like it’s been pulled from Airwolf, this outing is certainly indicative of its time. With low-budget, primitive CGI, and full of late '90s haircuts, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be scoffed at by many. But thanks largely to David Goyer's ripe script, this is very much a comic book movie; there’s dialogue so cheesy that it could be spread on crackers; there are crazed, maniacal, completely over the top villains; there are bad attitudes a plenty; and there are enough cigars chewed throughout to make viewers feel the effects of passive smoking.
As Fury, the Hoff delivers an equally brilliant and ludicrous performance. Delivering a gruff, grizzled leader of men, Hasselhoff gives us a Fury pulled directly from Marvel comics of yesteryear, with a gaggle of instantly quotable one-liners. Opposing him, we’re ‘treated’ to some truly horrendous accents, particularly from Sandra Hess’ Andrea von Strucker. Known as Viper in this – not to be confused with The Wolverine’s villainess – Hess’ character has an accent that makes Cameron Diaz’s Gangs of New York performance look credible. On the other side of the fence, Fury is aided by Lisa Rinna’s Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, another character pulled directly from the comic book pages.
Don’t take it seriously, enjoy it for what it is, count the rather cool amount of comic book references, and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself moderately entertained by Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Sure, it’s nowhere near as glossy or polished as the cinematic Nick Fury fans are now accustomed to, but it sure isn’t anywhere near as bland and formulaic as the Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. TV show.