The thing you need to know about 1989’s Snake Eater (the first in a trilogy!) is that the film opens with Lorenzo Lamas’ crazy undercover cop doing crazy stuff. How crazy is he? He’s wearing a wire but can’t resist stripping down to nothing to sex up a gangster’s moll in an abandoned building. Caught, he tries to fast talk his way out of the situation, but doesn’t need to because in addition to hiding a wire really well, he’s also adept at rigging floor boards to suddenly sprout nails. That puts the drug dealers out of commission, but just proves that he’s too crazy to work with! Besides, where did he hide his wire, his waiting-in-the-car partners ask. Lamas slaps his acid-wash-denim-clad ass in response.* Meanwhile, his father and mother are brutally murdered on a houseboat and his younger sister kidnapped and raped. Yes, I guess you could say there’s a tonal problem here, one that is not corrected by a weirdly sloppy roadhouse brawl (Lamas reveals his penchant for bon mots during it) or the creation of a motorcycle jet ski later on.
Even in the low-rent world of ’80s action movies, where low-fi special effects and that particular style of muscularity that has since gone out of fashion make even the worst movie an exercise in pleasant nostalgia, Snake Eater is pretty bad. Unless you happy to love Lorenzo Lamas, in which case you’ll have plenty to enjoy.
*He actually hid it in his giant hair and that was just classic Lamas humor!