Monday, November 09, 2020

Mack Bolan, The Executioner #445: FINAL ASSAULT (2015)

A quick stop at the skeevy thrift store on my way to the beach paid off with a couple new Bolans for a mere 49 cents each. I spotted BLOOD RITES (#439) first and realized that where there’s one Bolan there are probably more. 

Sure enough, amidst the discarded TWILIGHT books and pregnancy guides there was FINAL ASSAULT and its alluring tagline of “Pirates steal the spotlight on a publicity stunt gone deadly wrong.” SOLD! 

It wasn’t long before I secured my favorite spot near water’s edge and cracked open Joshua Reynolds’ taut tale of terrorists, modern day pirates and, oh yeah, Mack Bolan. 

When “sustainable technologies wunderkind” Nicholas Pierpoint hired Georges Garrand and his team of international mercs to hijack his super-yacht’s star-studded maiden voyage he assumed any publicity was good publicity. But he didn’t count on a double cross that would find him held captive on his own ship, helpless to stop an auction of the floating city to some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. 

Cue a bevy of Feds who can’t let the Demeter’s technology fall into the wrong hands and would rather see her blown to pieces, resting in a watery grave. If only there was a man capable of taking the ship back before it’s too late… 

Recruited for the gig by old pal Hal Brognola, Bolan enlists help from a band of Somali pirates in order to defeat the mercenaries, rescue the hostages and send the Demeter to the ocean floor before she can be turned into a floating – and potentially impregnable – criminal fortress. 

Reynolds’ book reads like a ready-made, action-packed Bolan film franchise entry (don’t I wish!) with sly asides to everything from DIE HARD and UNDER SIEGE to Tom Cruise (“he looked a little like a certain American movie star, the one who’d made that film about bartenders and liked to stand on couches”). 

The mercs and who’s who of international criminals are colorful and so perfectly drawn I couldn’t help but cast the film in my head as the pages breezed by. Bravo, too, to Reynolds for giving Mack some formidable foes to deal with. 

Despite knowing that nobody executes The Executioner, the final few chapters find our hero dealing with harrowing scenarios featuring tough as nails villains, near drownings and a shark feeding frenzy. 

As I looked up from the last page I could almost see Bolan and Brognola having their debriefing on the deck of a CIA-owned “fishing boat”. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor/publisher of Exploitation Retrospect and he longs for a big budget Mack Bolan flick. This review originally appeared in our super-sized 30th anniversary issue, available from Amazon and direct from the publisher.

FINAL ASSAULT is available from Amazon.

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