What would a fun TV show be without its very own movie spin-off? And, more importantly, what kind of fools would cast a cult movie icon like Bruce Campbell and not award him the opportunity of hamming it up in his very own feature-length special? Fortunately, the folks behind Burn Notice were neither fools to the fact that they had a devoted fan base in Bruce Campbell fans, nor were they blind to the idea of making a television prequel.
During the hiatus between Burn Notice’s fourth and fifth seasons, the writers of the hit USA series decided “Aw, what the heck!” and penned a story that would finally give their faithful viewers a chance to see what sorry bit of bad luck landed poor Sam Axe in Miami once and for all.
The story, set way back in the near-Paleolithic days of 2005, focuses on Axe’s final mission as a Navy SEAL. After being caught in the sack with a commanding officer’s wife, Sam (Bruce Campbell) is sent to Latin America on a wild goose chase of a mission by his vengeful chief. The story is told in flashback as Sam recounts the details of his operation to a military court; Sam was sent to Colombia to uncover some information about a terrorist group known as the “Espada Ardiente.”
But, as he soon finds out, the Intel Sam received is all wrong — and those who are allegedly on his side are the actual villains. Thankfully, Axe’s inimitable way of making friends and winning over other people’s confidence comes in handy, as he assembles a motley crew of farmers, doctors, rebels and refugees to help him out as he puts the pieces together and forms a new mission of his own.
Bruce Campbell is back in action here as he spouts one deliberately-corny line after another and busts some chops when it’s time to do so. The story is a thoroughly-entertaining one — one that you shouldn’t expect anything too wholeheartedly serious or meaningful from, I might add — and has a strong ‘80s TV vibe to it (lots of explosions and fights, but no real on-screen deaths).