Hellbound is an ’80s movie trapped in 1994, from the Miami Vice attire to the police chief outraged at her “loose cannon” cop to, well, Chuck Norris, the aforementioned loose cannon. And, of course, there’s the black sidekick, doing what black sidekicks of the ’80s did best (besides dying): comedy! While Chuck Norris is walking around with granite-jawed intensity, his Whoopi Goldberg-esque (male) sidekick is getting knocked out, having his pockets picked, leaping at the sight of a dead body, whining about being hungry, whining about being hot, whining about his hotel room and otherwise being a useless schmuck. Plus, he gets to deliver lines like, “Get off me, sucka!”
If there’s any doubt of the pecking order in this film, the character names should tell you all you need to know: Norris plays…FRANK SHATTER!!!!!!! His sidekick, played by Calvin Levels, is…Calvin Jackson.
This movie plays like a running “Chuck Norris facts” joke-fest, which shouldn’t be surprising, given it’s directed by his brother Aaron. When Shatter punches a guy, he’s lifted off his feet and goes flying OVER the hood of a car. Within seconds of meeting a sexy archaeologist (Is there any other kind?), she mentally drops her panties for him. Shatter plays by his own rules — fist-fighting criminals in custody, firing guns randomly to prove a point — stuff that some people might call being a bad cop. But those people are pussies. Did I forget to mention that he kicks Satan’s ass?
The plot is negligible; all you need to know is there’s an evil guy with Kermit the Frog eyeballs running around ripping out people’s hearts, and Shatter — fulfilling an ancient prophecy! — is here to save the day. He drags Calvin along when the case leads to Israel (lower shooting costs?) and proceeds to intimidate people over there as if he has any jurisdiction whatsoever. When Calvin reasonably suggests they turn the case over to local police, Shatter dismisses him. When Calvin demands respect, Shatter replies, “If I didn’t respect you, you wouldn’t be my partner.” Like a typical abusive relationship, Calvin goes along, contributing precious little to Shatter’s pummeling of Evil Kermit, which ends with one of the more pedestrian “finishing lines” in action movie history: “Eat this!” Consider it eaten.