The search for bigger and better weapons has been going on ever since one of mankind’s distant ancestors figured out that small rocks hurt and big rocks hurt more. During the Cold War that search sometimes reached epic proportions, with countries everywhere rushing to find something that would keep them from being crushed outright by a stronger country. And of course both the US and the Soviet Union led the charge to “peace” through really big bombs. In Bunker: Project 12, however, some Cold War-era mercenaries have been sent after a different sort of super-weapon, left lying in cold storage since the project was shut down at the end of World War II.
The team isn’t even sure what they’re after, but they’ve been hired by a very wealthy businessman, John Henderson (Eric Roberts), and he’s paying them enough that they don’t ask too many questions. I’m fairly sure that Bruno (Timothy Gibbs) thinks he’s in charge, or at least wants to be, but as much as they even have a leader that would be Tabeel (Joaquín Sánchez), who seems to be the one thing holding the group together. Well, him and the money, presumably. Along with Irina (Natasha Alam), Alan (Tony Corvillo), and Carl (James Ferguson), they take their first step towards tracking down the mystery weapon by kidnapping Balanowsky (James Cosmo), one of the few people alive who knows his way through the mazelike underground facility that holds the weapon.
The Russians want Balanowsky dead so their secret will be safe, and frankly he isn’t a whole lot safer with the mercenaries, especially Bruno. Though Balanowsky knows exactly what they’re looking for, he isn’t talking, and by the time the group starts closing in on their goal, they quickly realize that they’re in way, way over their heads this time.
The film starts out a lot like a Bond movie, which is to say that you’re not entirely sure what’s going on or who’s on which side, but you can be absolutely certain that things will explode and a lot of people will get shot. It’s inside the research facility that things really get going, however — the stark, abandoned look of the structure makes its narrow corridors even more claustrophobic and eerie as our “heroes” start to discover who and what their real enemy is. And of course Eric Roberts is always brilliant at looking like he’s up to something, which also helps build the suspense.
It’s also about as logical as a Bond movie, which is to say not very logical at all, and it only gets worse at the end. But the action and the tension help pull you in despite this. The characters are interesting and in some cases even strangely likable,
despite their dubious profession, and the acting is solid throughout. While you might guess at the secret of the weapon, it’s still a different and intriguing idea that I wish was explored a little more. Of course, the ending leaves things cleverly open for a sequel, so that still might happen. It’s primarily a popcorn flick, but if you can ignore the occasional inconsistency, it’s a wildly entertaining action film.