Awfully Good: Nick Fury with David Hasselhoff! + Captain America (video)
As the Avengers assemble in AGE OF ULTRON this week, we look back at the true beginnings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998)
Director: Rod Hardy
Stars: David Hasselhoff, Lisa Rinna, Sandra Hess
One-eyed bastard Nick Fury must take a break from routine misogyny and chain smoking to return to S.H.I.E.L.D. and save the world from a Nazi virus.
Before Samuel L. Jackson wore the eye patch, there was David Hasselhoff. That's right; The Hoff was the original live-action Nick Fury for one glorious television movie back in 1998… and it's just as amazingly bad as you imagine.
It's the superhero Rubber Neck Man! Oh, wait, that's just the guy from Baywatch.
The other key player here was David Goyer, future DARK KNIGHT screenwriter and would-be godfather of the current DC cinematic universe. Goyer helped kickstart the modern comic book movie craze with BLADE the same year as this made-for-TV film and the two could not be more different. NICK FURY: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is a cheap and cheesy embarrassment, plagued with low production value, shoddy acting and a script so terrible that only David Hasselhoff could pull it off.
Avi Arad was also involved, so we're lucky it's even this good.
And pull it off he does! Hasselhoff is by far the only enjoyable part of this dreck, mainly for how much he embraces the B-movie quality all around him. His Nick Fury is a master class in overacting and hamming it up, and The Hoff plays up the arrogant asshole side of the character to the boundaries of social acceptance. Just watch the videos below to see him at his best—demeaning women as sex objects, abusing his superiors, and just engaging in general dicketry as much as legally allowed. I honestly don't know if this is a result of Goyer's script or Hasselhoff just running with it, because every amazing line seems tailor-made for the former Baywatch star. I can't imagine any other actor pulling off this incarnation of Fury.
"Knight Rider or Baywatch… when did you most want to f*ck me?"
When we first meet Nick Fury in the film he's smoking a cigar and digging in an old mineshaft in the Yukon. Why? It's not explained, but I assume it's because it was in The Hoff's contract to appear as manly as possible. When he's approached by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Fury immediately kicks him in the balls without question. (This ends up being Alexander Pierce a.k.a. Robert Redford in the MCU.) Another former co-worker shows up—Contessa Valentina de Allegro Fontaine played by soap opera star Lisa Rinna—and while Fury doesn't knee her in the privates, he does call her "Master of Sexpionage" in front of her colleagues. After much cattiness and even more exposition, it's revealed that someone broke in to S.H.I.E.L.D., killed Fury's best friend, and stole the frozen corpse of his arch-nemesis Baron Von Strucker—all to send a message to the one-eyed former agent. "Looks like I heard it!" says Hasselhoff, in his most overdramatic voice.
After his troubled teenage years, it's no surprise that Powder had to turn to evil to pay the bills.
Thus begins the film's ultimate mission/plot: Von Strucker's Euro-trash children (and their inexplicably albino Mr. Freeze henchmen) have extracted a biological weapon from their dead dad—Hitler's personal doomsday virus called Death's Head—and are going to unleash it on Manhattan. Naturally, Colonel Nick Fury is the only person who can stop them, even though at no point in the film does he visibly possess any skills or information that sets him apart from the literally thousands of better trained, in-shape agents. (The script does brilliantly have Fury slowly dying from a poisoned kiss, which helps to explain Hasselhoff's slow fight moves and groans of pain during the action sequences.) Along the way he's aided by two dreadfully boring and worthless sidekicks: Contessa, the agent he previously slept with, and Pierce, who actually has the line, "I was top of my class in Advanced Silent Killing."
"I am programmed to love Germany and cheeseburgers."
In addition, to the wafer-thin characters and plot, Goyer also wrote a bunch of lazy cheats in to his script. There's the team psychic, who only comes in handy at the end when they need someone to mind read the villain for deactivation codes. But most offensive is the inclusion of Life Model Decoys. LMD's are a legitimate part of the Marvel Universe, but their presence in this movie serves no purpose except as an utterly predictable deus ex machina at the end. You see it briefly in the beginning when The Hoff walks in to a lab and encounters a robot version of himself…and then at the very end when it appears that Fury has been shot and killed. Even M. Night Shyamalan could see this lame twist coming. Not only is it an inevitable plot device, but the LMD makes absolutely no sense. So Fury was carrying around a RoboHoff in his pocket during the entire final act? Was the real version just hanging around outside the evil lair waiting for RoboHoff to die so he could make a grand entrance? The script makes no attempt to answer any questions. Goyer is really lucky that BLADE was already in production when this movie came out, because I can't imagine this movie doing his career any favors.
It's time for an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. parallel universe crossover show. Make it happen Marvel!
I will admit that it's amusing seeing Fury, Von Strucker, Arnim Zola, Pierce, and even "Dum Dum" Dugan turn up here in such completely different, inferior ways compared to the current MCU. It just makes you that much more thankful for the slate of modern superhero movies and that David Goyer has no part in---aw, dammit!
The best of David Hasselhoff's Nick Fury. And I mean "best."
Some hilarious action moments, terrible special effects and of course more Hoff.
None. Here's something to make up for it.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Nick Fury rebels against authority
- Fury hits on a woman or makes a sexist remark
- One of the Von Strucker siblings' accents goes in and out
- The S.H.I.E.L.D. director is mad at Fury
- Fury takes a cigar out of his mouth
- A magic spray fixes something
Double shot if:
- Fury gets kissed
Hold on there, Marevelite! We've got one more Awfully Good entry for you, this time from Jesse Shade's Awfully Good Movies, featuring none other than 1990's CAPTAIN AMERICA! Relive the not-so-golden era of Marvel with director Albert Pyun's chesseball classic it all its awful glory!