At last years Comic-Con, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix made a huge announcement. That a Burn Notice film was being put into motion starring everyone’s favorite alcoholic lady’s man, Bruce Campbell as the one and only Sam Axe. But I don’t think any of us expected it to be ready this soon. Nix said that the film was going to show how Sam was removed from the military and ended up in Miami. And boy did he…
The first thing to take note of in this movie is that they kept Sam Axe well, Sam Axe. At no time was Sam given and overly serious story line to fill his back story. It was a simple, small group versus big army storyline. There’s no former lover who was killed. There was no family drama that led to Sam’s military removal. There was no dark crime that was covered up. Nix played it smart and gave us the Sam Axe we already know and love, and stuck him in Colombia.
The film begins with a rather enjoyable bait and switch. You think that it is going to be that dark, brooding back story that gets real annoying, real fast. But then Sam has trouble with a front gate and all becomes right with the world of Burn Notice once again. Sam Axe is at his best when is just being accidentally funny or intentionally cool, and there’s plenty of that in The Fall of Sam Axe.
Take the scene in which Sam is leading a convoy through the dirt roads when he’s stopped by a fallen tree. Now, the shit-gets-real Sam Axe would say “It’s trap! Everyone fall back!” But good ol’ Sam Axe is of the mind set “weeellll, maybe, maybe not.” Which then leads to a wonderful bit involving a chain saw that all Bruce Campbell fans should love.
What also really works in the film’s favor is the lack of an overbearing love interest. Yes, there ‘s a love interest, I’m not denying that. But she’s dismissive towards Sam’s far from subtle advances till the very end, and even then it’s not like her and Sam get it on. They kiss, hug and then go there separate ways. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Sam was watching the 1945 version of Mildred Pierce right before heading to Colombia, and was channeling a bit of Wally Fay throughout the mission.
The point I’m trying to get across is that Matt Nix knew exactly what story he was telling, and there was plenty of Burn Notice cheese to go around. He even managed to sneak in a tiny Michael Weston cameo, which Jeffrey Donovan (who also serves as the film’s director) delivered perfectly and without hesitation. “It had to be an Admiral’s wife?” Yes Michael, because when Sam Axe does something, he goes in balls deep (pun intended).
The only real downside is there isn’t much to say story-wise, because we all know how this story ends up. Sam chills in Miami for a year or two and then has Weston dropped back into his lap, thus bringing us back to present day. Of course, it was also confirmed by Campbell himself that some of the characters from the film will be appearing in the upcoming season, so keep your eyes open for that.
Final thoughts: Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe is one of those few TV movies that totally gets the audience it’s playing to. If you love Burn Notice, then Sam’s fall from the ranks of military, is probably exactly what you were hoping for.
To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.