Ready For 100 CCs ...of Crap!
wanted to like the script for Codename: Courage.
I wanted to love it.
based on Commander Courage starts off with no bigger
fan than I -- except for Don. But from the opening
scene I knew this was not a film I could stomach.
movie opens with our nameless and nearly faceless
(he wears the mask for the entire film) hero waking
up in the morning. The first thing our tough guy
does is pull a revolver out of his bedside table.
He holds it to his temple and clicks the trigger.
No bang. He says
ready for this "I'm not
gonna die today." Oh please. I haven't even
finished reading page one and I'm gagging on the
the shame of it all...
If that little moment of near suicide isn't enough
to clue us in that Codename is a hard-ass wait til
you see how he makes his coffee. A bit groggy he
stumbles to his messy kitchen. Groggy? I don't know
about you but I think a game of Russian Roulette
might get my heart racing plenty fast enough first
thing in the morning.
Codename gets out his coffee and looks around his
kitchen but finds the box of coffee filters is empty.
He removes the black sock from his foot and pours
the ground coffee into it. Holding this sock above
his mug he pours the boiling water into the sock.
He slurps down the hot coffee with a satisfied "ah."
for me right off the bat I don't like this guy.
He's not tough as in "as impenetrable as the
Liberty Bell itself;" he's tough like "look
I'm on 'Jackass'".
it wouldn't be an action movie if we had to wait
too long for some explosions. No sooner has he finished
his morning cup than he whips his head toward his
front door. A shadow moves under the frame. Codename
dives across the room and rolls to his closet. Now
he has his guns and they have their guns and it's
pretty standard issue action movie stuff. The enemy
bullets come close but strike mostly his bed pillows.
Yes the script calls for the obligatory John Woo
white feathers flying while light pours through
the bullet holes in the door.
now on page three of the script. I think you get
the basics. Don't get me wrong: that sequence reads
well on the page and I imagine it'll make a great
bit of pyrotechnic action onscreen, but so far we
don't know who this guy is. Why does he do these
things? Is he a hero? So far he's just a tough guy
getting shot at. He could even be the villain. The
only clue we have that we should root for him instead
of against him is that he's being shot at by Arabs.
Apparently in today's Hollywood shorthand, that's
reason enough to know someone is evil.
tracks down his COURAGE (Covert Operations Unit:
Reconnaissance And Guerilla Enforcement) "control"
and demands to know who's after him and how they
knew where he lived. It turns out agents of Scarlet
Jihad may have infiltrated the top secret COURAGE
division which Codename works for. Scarlet Jihad
has ties to Sadam Bin Jazeer.
and his control agent Frank Harner decide that Codename
must go into Damascus to find a lead to Bin Jazeer.
Just as Codename is about to leave, Harner adds
"one more thing."
arrival in Damascus, Codename is to go to the famous
open market, Souk al-Hamidiyeh, and seek out a basket
vendor named al-Sahaf and say "I'm a friend
of your daughter." An American tourist will
answer "He has no daughters but has many wives."
This tourist will be Codename's contact and partner
with a codename of Liberty. He growls "I work
alone". And Harner tells him not this time.
This entire spy meets spy exchange is only slightly
less tired than "the blue gull flies at midnight".
I should point out I'd be utterly clueless as to
when any hero remotely related to Commander Courage
might appear if it weren't for the title of the
script. The codename of Liberty has me thinking
maybe there'll be a Liberty Lad character. But unfortunately
I already knew that wasn't going to be the case.
course at the Damascus street bazaar Codename is
shocked to get the counter signal from a gorgeous
blonde woman. Aha, agent Codename: Liberty is Liberty
Lass. And the odd couple pairing begins. Codename
doubts any woman can be as competent as he is and
Liberty Lass finds ample opportunities to prove
him wrong. Both "heroes" are gruesomely
violent as they dispatch their Arab opponents.
won't give away the ending as far as do they find
Bin Jazeer. You can probably guess that one. The
trail of Bin Jazeer leads them to a remote island
evil compound with (conveniently) no women or children.
So our heroes can shoot any thing that moves and
not have their consciences awoken.
there is a prophecy established that freedom will
only come following a great rain in the desert.
And in recent Hollywood fashion with almost zero
build up (other than having been in the trenches
together -- literally) Codename and Lass have their
romantic moments in the final pages of this script.
as Codename leans in for the kiss it begins to pour
rain down on the duo. Lass says "It's rain."
Codename says "Is it rain? I hadn't noticed."
And they swap some spit. Awww. So sweet. After the
big kiss, Lass leads him off into the sunset -and
yes the sun is setting in the rainstorm.
are we going?" Codename asks "Somewhere
great, I hope." She replies.
great like straight to video maybe? There's so much
wrong with this script I can't let myself go on
much longer or I'll never stop. There were so many
quintessential Courage moments in the sixty year
history of the comics they could have borrowed or
paid homage to. Almost none of that is in this movie.
I bet the screenwriter and the studio development
people didn't even know there was a romantic line
of Courage comics called "The Courage to Love".
Any given issue of that book would have provided
a less cheesy romantic wrap up than the rain in
the desert scene.
would I rate this script? From hero to zero, no
thanks to "Ice Tray" for getting the script
to Donald and me.