Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.

McBain (1991)

Mcbain2Genre: ’90s Mercenary Action

Walken in Short: He’s the lead, he has a few good speeches, he hams it up and gets to kill a bunch of people who, some of whom possibly deserve it. Not an AMAZING role, but it is rather amazingly bad, which is just as entertaining, just perhaps not in the way that Glickenhaus was intending.

Movie in a Sentence: Bobby McBain (Walken) leads a rag-tag group of middle-aged Vietnam-vets on a mission to avenge the death of their friend Santos (Vennera) and liberate the people of Colombia from the tyrant (Victor Argo) who killed Santos and oppresses the people,


Walken does chin-ups the hard way

Director: James Glickenhaus

Writer: James Glickenhaus

Duration: one hour and 42 minutes

MPAA Rating: ‘R’ – The death-count is high in this, and the expletives flow like cheap wine. Although there isn’t an equal measure of sexual titillation here, there is a limo full of blade-brandishing, hotpants-wearing prostitute-assassins, and of course the many, many scenes showcasing Maria Conchita Alonso’s petite-but-defiant breasts as they perch erect-nippled and moist behind various cottony tank-tops. So it’s got that going for it. Which is nice.

The Simpsons Connection: Despite predating this film, the TV show THE SIMPSONS was forced to change the name of their Schwarzenegger-spoof character from ‘McBain’ to ‘Rainer Wolfcastle’.

Actors Other Than Walken:

  • Chick Vennera plays ‘Santos’, the spirited 0828132356-01revolutionary who led the team during the war, and freed McBain from imprisonment. He does alright here, I guess, but no, actually he just comes off looking silly. But I blame the director, the writer and those stupid glasses, He was in THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR with Walken a few years back. Here’s a fun fact: He also was the voice of ‘Pesto the Pigeon’ in the TV show ‘The Animaniacs’. Pesto was one of the Good Feathers (the Joe Pesce-one)!
  • Michael Ironside plays ‘Frank Bruce’, the mcbainironsidecynical explosives and technology-expert. In my humble opinion, Mr. Ironside is fantastic in everything he does, and this film is no exception. Great expressive face, and a tremendous gravelly voice. He plays a lot of bad guys. You might remember him from ROBOCOP, SCANNERS, TOP GUN, and the original TOTAL RECALL. You also might recognize his voice, because in addition to the TV voice-work he’s done, he’s also been the voice of Sam Fischer, the main character in the videogame franchise ‘Splinter Cell’, Another little factoid for you: in his youth he was a professional arm-wrestler! Awesome, right? Unfortunately, him and Walken haven’t appeared in any other films since this one.
  • Steve James plays ‘Eastland’, the muscled, black,0830130224-01 hand-to-hand fighter that’s afraid of flying. Sound familiar? *coughMr.Tcough* That’s okay, though. Because he’s great at it. The script doesn’t give him a lot to work with but his charisma shines through. You may remember Steve from the AMERICAN NINJA trilogy (I know I do!) or as ‘Kung Fu Joe’ in I’M GONNA GET YOU SUCKA! Unfortunately he died just three years after MCBAIN was released.
  • Maria Conchita Alonso plays Santos’ sister0828132356-00 ‘Christina’, the tempestruous Colombian freedom-fighter that finds McBain and asks him to help her and her people. Her dramatic performance? Ehhhhh, she gets the job done, I suppose, and looks good doing it. And come to think of it, a sincerely great performance by her wouldn’t have fit in this inadvertently comedic film anyways. So kudos to you, Maria!
  • Victor Argo plays the Colombian despot0828132357-02 ‘El Presidente’. What can I say? Argo is awesome. He’s a cigar-chomping megalo-maniac, and in this bad-action-film world, it works. I’ve talked about him in my KING OF NEW YORK review, and I’ve mentioned the other films he will share with Walken. We’ll see Argo again, and soon.
  • There are two other guys on the team, but you know what? I don’t care about them. One’s a doctor, and the other’s a cop. They are mildly entertaining in their ineptitude as hardened mercenaries, but their characters are pretty lame compared to the other guys. Not only do neither one of them appear in any other Walken-films, neither go on to act in anything interesting.
  • FUN FACT: Director Glickenhaus makes a cameo as the driver of the cigarette boat!

mcb2migAvailable to Own: For Americans this is still only available on VHS. but if ‘Region 2’ is an option, you have a DVD and a Blu-ray release to choose from.

Similar Films: The Expendables (2010), Rambo II (1985), Missing in Action (1984), The Dogs of War (1980, this is also a Walken-film)

Christopher Weldin'

Christopher Weldin’

Walken Content: 70% – There’s a lot of Walken in here, doing some great stuff. He spot-welds a bridge, fights in a cage-match, and destroys a fighter-jet with a pistol, This is basically ‘The A-Team’, and he makes a great Hannibal. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for his absurdly high-waisted pants that he runs around in. Great stuff!

0830130223-00Walken Quote: Okay, so the team gets together, but they need a whole bunch of cash to finance the mission. After getting some advice from the magnificent Luis Guzman (in possibly the best, and most bizarre scene of the film), they decide to extort it from the mafia. Sporting a fedora and a muddled continental accent, Walken threatens the mob-boss thusly:

“If the 10 million gets there, quick, we’ll leave you alone. If not, you’re going to be going to a lot of funerals, including your own.”

~ McBain (Walken)


art by futuredami

Should You Watch? Yes. Let me underline: this is a bad movie. But it is a gloriously bad movie. The direction is ham-fisted, the performances are cheesey, and the script is a half-baked ham and cheese mess of a casserole, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t yummy!

Need further proof? The brilliant people from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 (now called Rifftrax) have chosen this very movie to ‘riff’ upon. I literally JUST found out about this, so haven’t yet experienced it, but oh yes, it will be mine. And I’ll let you know how that goes when I do. In the meantime, here’s a link to the sample they provide on youtube.

McBain is fertile ground for snarky criticism, I’m sure Rifftrax will have a field-day with this one. Enjoy the bejeebus outta it, however you see it.

7 comments on “McBain (1991)

  1. Leanne Kubicz
    August 30, 2013

    I had no idea there was a real ‘McBain’; too cool!

  2. sunshinehours1
    September 4, 2013

    What an awful film. I’m glad I watched it. 🙂

    • Jamie Leigh Hartley
      January 22, 2023

      So many of Waken;s movies are described that way

  3. Something Something (todd)
    September 4, 2013

    If you like that one, check out ‘The Dogs of War’. Also starring Walken, also mercenary, and also really “good”.

  4. Pingback: True Romance (1993) | walkenchronicles

  5. Pingback: The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) | walkenchronicles

  6. Jamie Leigh Hartley
    January 22, 2023

    Walken always wears his pants up to his armpits. Was never sure why lol

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