Hey, Girl. Hauer You Doin'?: New World Disorder (1999)

Hello, everyone, and welcome to a new feature here on The Lair as part of April Action, Hey, Girl. Hauer You Doin'? For the next four weeks, I'll be looking at the films of every gal's biggest dreamboat, Rutger Hauer. I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Hauer a couple of weeks back at Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, and he is just as you might imagine him. With his blonde hair swept back, black unstructured jacket, paisley patterned scarf draped around his neck, and elastic waist banded track pants, he practically oozed the essence of a European actor. Apart from looking like a dashing adventurer in his way to a marathon, he was a lovely fellow, and I found it quite wonderful that he donated all the proceeds from his signing to charity. Rutger has his own organization, The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, tasked with helping children in Africa infected with AIDS. Not only did it ease the pain if shelling out money to meet a celebrity, it also gave me even more respect for an actor I've loved ever since I first met him as Roy in Bladerunner. Today's movie is also about the future, but less of a visionary masterpiece than a half hacked miasma with a tacked on title that carried cultural cachet in the late 90s. This is New World Disorder, and the future is now... Or then... Or, what the hell is Andrew McCarthy doing here... The future is sometime, the review starts now.

In Silicon Valley (I know, when's the last time someone said that instead of referring to a companies' "campus"), a gang of techie thugs breaks into a computer firm late at night interrupting programmer Mark Ohai (Hari Dhillon) and is buddy who are working on a strictly off the books project. The thugs get away with half of Ohai's super secret security program, and the other half becomes the MacGuffin around which the rest of the film flies. FBI Cyber Division Agent Kris Paddock (Tara Fitzgerald) is heading up the investigation, but when old school detective David Marx (Hauer) butts his way into the case he ruffles feathers and uncovers leads. As the unlikely duo of cops grow closer, the case grows more and more dangerous with gang leader Bishop (Andrew McCarthy) killing everyone in his path to get the program.

Despite the title New World Disorder, which sounds like a mid-90s Wrestling promotion, the film actually manages to be silly entertainment as long as you aren't looking to drive busses through plot holes. If you're looking for that, I have good news for you; this is the film for you too. It's got wide open expressways at every turn just ready for those who would like to rip it a new one. Personally, I took it for what it was, a "turn off your brain" film. Rutger is utterly charming in a smart alecky kind of way, and his movie wardrobe, consisting of bowties, a vintage jacket, and at least a couple cardigans and scarves, would be the envy of many a hipster fashion plate. His whole look is designed to focus the audience in how out of touch Rutger's detective really is. The character is made a Luddite in style and expression, and even his few cultural references, such as when he tells Agent Paddock that she must be good at Space Invaders, are hopelessly dated.

New World Disorder rings quite a few gags out of the detective's technophobia, but the problem is that this interplay comes between himself and Agent Paddock played by Tara Fitzgerald. I don't think I've seem a more unconvincing FBI agent in my life. There was nary a moment whan I could take Fitzgerald seriously especially when she paired her serious FBI suit with quirky, tween level barrettes. I will give it up for her cramped hair in the dance cub scenes, but seriously, if my high point of the performance was crimped haired then something didn't go right. Speaking of hair, rocking a mess of facial hair and enough piercings to qualify for the Hot Topic training program, Andrew McCarthy chews up the scenery as the leader of the nerdy thugs. With their black trench coats and keffiyeh hiding their faces like high fashion bank robbers, the entire group comes off looking like a cut rate version of Neo's pals in The Matrix.

While director Richard Spense has dabbled in the same thematic waters as Rutger, directing a 1994 Armand Assante TV movie called Blind Justice, spiritual brethren of Rutger's Blind Fury, this was only Spense's second feature film debut. For most of his career, he has worked in low budget television, and his roots show. Without the charismatic performances of Hauer and McCarthy, there wouldn't really be much here to talk about. New World Disorder spends much of the running time warning Hauer's character that he's hopelessly out of date, but without the 80s throwbacks in the lead roles, the movie's craving to be hip and current would have been completely intolerable. That brings us to the just an honorable conclusion to this first installment of Hauer You Doin'? Join us back here all month for more action goodness, and every Wednesday for more with Rutger.

Bug Rating

1 comment:

  1. On the Hauer front, I keep thinking I gotta watch The Hitcher again. Haven't seen it in like 12 years, and I really liked it back in the day...


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