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Not Rated
Copyright 1987 Sage Productions.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Don - Dying of cancer and committed to having a child by surrogate. He takes the enjoyable route and picks out a pretty stripper to do it in person with. Dies of gunshot wounds.
  • Mackey - Tom Skerritt? Just kidding, though it is an eerie resemblance.
  • Ted - The other main good guy, he goes around hugging all the women.
  • Denise - Don's barren wife, she starts this mess by fooling around with a crooked DEA agent. Shot "by accident."
  • Lisa - Mackey's wife. Yup, important character here.
  • Alex - Surrogate mother and stripper.
  • Kevin - Very old looking friend of Don's, even though he only spends a few minutes on screen he is the only one who slips up and glances at the camera. Good job Kevin.
  • Tom - DEA agent involved in drug smuggling activities. He will do anything to cover up the operation.

The Plot: 

I get films sent to me now and then. Sometimes they are pretty good, sometimes they are down right awful, and sometimes whoever made them had (what seems) a decent idea, but screwed up the execution. Our topic today falls into the final category.

According to the press kit, "In Service to America" was realized after twelve years of shooting and editing. This explains a few things I'll be complaining about shortly. The complaining will not be short, just the time period until I begin.

First and foremost, you had better get used to the camera staying in one place. Not for certain scenes mind you, but for long sections. Anything that lasts three or four minutes with (possibly) one change of perspective usually drives me nuts and this is no exception. Meanwhile, the acting talent ranges from downright painful all the way up to no impact, no idea. By that I mean it didn't jump out at me as being especially bad or especially good. Lucky that all the main actors fall into the latter category.

Where are we at for plot? Imagine "Lethal Weapon" (hmmm, this is 1987 and that was 1987) with some adultery/surrogate mother stuff thrown in. We shall not go into specifics, because that involves entering the disturbing muddle which was the plot to me. I don't understand why such an important letter was where anyone, including the married woman you are having an affair with, could find it. Nor any number of other important questions that arose for that matter. What I do know is that the legendary (in my mind) fight scene saved the day.

Ah, the fight scene. It lasts all of maybe forty seconds and snatched me back from the waiting clutches of Morpheus. Suddenly the camera is changing positions more than every few minutes and what is happening interests me. Pity the fact that the movie did not have another one or two of these.

On the subject of last plot notes: there is a longer "International Version" which sports some nudity and runs twenty minutes longer. It resolves some of my confusion, but it's twenty minutes longer.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • People in militia units love to play darts.
  • Playing pool in a strip club has some unique challenges.
  • Vehicles registered to special DEA task forces can be looked up in the DMV database.
  • Cops usually frisk people after pulling them over for running a red light.
  • Ambulances take several hours to respond.
  • Women: if you are going to sleep with a guy at least know his last name (this doesn't apply to us men though).
  • Military people wear camouflage face paint when having sex.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - Gee, I have no idea why you are seeing a psychologist...
  • 16 mins - Comedy!
  • 20 mins - I think that might have been a joke, but I'm not sure.
  • 26 mins - Call me funny, but I actually wonder if the two guys in this scene were filmed separately.
  • 30 mins - The bullet must have knocked him unconscious without breaking the skin.
  • 48 mins - Bad guys searched the entire house and never checked the trash can, very sloppy.
  • 55 mins - Well, I guess he found Mackey at some point. Gotta jog to catch up with the plot now, I'll be back.
  • 62 mins - We are stuck in a time loop!
  • 80 mins - The distance is maybe a hundred yards and he is using a rest, why has he not opened fire yet?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note inservice1.wav Mackey: "Well, we have to get cleaned up. We have a hell of a party to go to and be a part of it and you're going to be there, dying or not."
Green Music Note inservice2.wav Kevin: "Mack, we're not living in a firefight in some jungle. We're in a civilization where there are laws and lawmen..., I'm just concerned."
Green Music Note inservice3.wav Mackey: "I could have a problem kidnapping cops! Maybe, well maybe just a small one."
Green Music Note inservice4.wav Mackey: "Listen to you two! This guy is killer, we need to bust his face."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 



 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipinservice1.mpg - 3.2m
The fight scene. Thank goodness for it.

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