Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Sofia, Bulgaria

City of Fear (Video 2000) on IMDb

Plot Overview

spudSmall potatoes journalist (“I'm used to covering dog shows”) Steve Roberts (Gary Daniels) practices martial arts to keep him­self fit. Out of the blue he is summoned to help his best-friend-since-child­hood Dr. Charles “Charlie” Venco (Richard Clarkin) who's doing genetic research in Bulgaria. Charlie wants Steve as part of the Foreign Press to cover an impending break­through. He is put up in the Ambassador Suite of the Sheraton Hotel in Sofia.

Houston, we have a problem. Steve's bailiwick is Art and Entertainment, not “cloak-and-dagger sh!t.” According to state security Col. Koslovska (Meglena Karalambova) in her tortured idiom, it is “not normally your cup of soup.” She feels, “You should stick to stories you can handle, Da?” Mystery writer Andrew Lanh has described one similar situation where: “‘we're investi­gators, Jimmy.’ ¶Jimmy sat back as he scratched his head … ‘No, you investigate murder—and mayhem. I investi­gate simple insurance fraud in the Insurance Capital of the world. Cigna, Aetna. Travelers. You name it. Paper trails—not blood splatter. Embezzlement—not blood­letting.’” (65)

According to Charlie's once girlfriend Alexa (Carol Campbell,) “Sofia is a cruel city, the city of fear. The weak die quickly.” Steve's martial arts training will stand him in good stead as the Philistines close in on every side and he must dodge bullets as well.


Steve's sansei tells him, “You still believe that your strength only lies in your physical abilities. Until you realize that the universe is not determined by the physical but [by] how it works in harmony with your mind and spirits, you will never reach your kung ketsu … completion.” His investi­gation will throw him for a loop along the lines of Christian minister Carl Gallups: “What did Jesus mean when he said the last days would be just like the days of Noah and the days of Lot? (Luke 17:26-30). … As end-times technologies burst forth, coupled with a consistent descent into a never-ending moral abyss, numerous prophecy observers are posing an important question: Will there once again be a demonically engineered hybridization effort—maybe some­thing similar to the days of Noah?” (225, 228) Steve's helpful taxi driver Vasyl (Hristo Shopov) warns him, “Sofia is a tricky city.”

The taxi drives past an Orthodox church then arrives at a funeral with a chanting priest where a veiled mourner Alexa catches Steve's eye. In this sacred setting it's fitting for her to be veiled, as (1Cor. 11:10) “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” In the ancient church rituals, the most sacred objects were veiled, their beauty reserved for God or the angelic realm. A woman's vessel is sacred for child­bearing. Alexa will help Steve sort out aspects of the scientific genetic manipulation Charlie was working on. In her urbane job she is but a show­girl in a nightclub. She justifies her loose morals saying, “In Sofia every­one lives as best one can. Every­thing is based on mutual need.”

Steve is tailed by two Interpol agents (Peter Mechkoff & Basan Saad,) one of whom Anton covers his face with a news­paper but only when he is being observed. Steve sneaks out of his room where he was being confined wearing the caterer's cap to fool his guards, but he removes it once he reaches the kitchen. Two thugs on motor­cycles wear helmets while in pursuit. The men's head coverings are temporary for a purpose, quickly dis­carded. Alexa, how­ever, minus the veil still wears a black wig while performing. Then in her dressing room, we see her with brown hair. Finally, when meeting Steve on her own time, her natural hair color is red­dish falling down to her shoulders in frizzy ringlets. Even with­out the veil, she is still covered by her womanly hair. (1Cor. 11:14-15) “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

There is an invisible realm Steve must deal with regarding medical ethics; it's not just a matter of physical prowess against, “cops, and robbers, and mobsters.” The ever pragmatic Col. Koslovska tells him, “My father always said, The hard choices were the right choices.”

Production Values

cap” (2000) was directed by Mark Roper. Its screen­play was written by Harry Alan Towers aka Peter Welbeck. It stars Gary Daniels, Carol Campbell, and Richard Clarkin. The best actors in it were given the short­est screen time. These would be: Vasil Banov who played fishing boat Captain Serge, Margarita Angelova who played a harried but helpful nurse, and Anellya Nikolova who played Loretta “Lora” Titiana a strung-out pole dancer. All the other actors look like rejects from a screen test for another movie. That is, they were good enough to get called in for an audition, but they would have lost out to better stars. I expect that Bulgaria where it was shot was not the top reservoir for acting talent, and that the movie was not promising enough for actors worth their salt to travel to Eastern Europe for. That said, the talent did the best with what they had, and they were at least believ­able. Clarkin was chosen for his showy martial arts moves rather than for his emotive bearing. And he had a dandy haircut.

It contains graphic violence and adult situations giving it a United Kingdom rating of 15. It was filmed in Sofia, Bulgaria. It's 1½ hours long. The back­ground scenery is authentic­ally dingy. The Orthodox priest looks Catholic. If you can't under­stand the plot, no worries. Just figure each new character on scene is about to launch an assault. The female lead scores points for tall women—usually under­appreciated. There's a troupe of Gypsies dancing in the market, which alleviates boredom.

It's got good editing, good camera work, and good integration of the music track. It lacks a well-defined villain to focus the animosity, and there are no super heroes either, just a dog and pony show in a foreign country.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This is the kind of movie made for the discount racks and worth every penny of it. It would make good punishment for a group who couldn't make up their mind what movie to see. It would also be suitable for back­ground play nobody is expected to watch. There's not enough buildup in it to yield dis­ap­point­ment. This one won't put Bulgaria on the map.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Gallups, Carl. Gods and Thrones: Nachash, Forgotten Prophecy, and the Return of the Elohim. Crane, MO: Defender Pub., 2017. Print.

Lanh, Andrew. Child of My Winter. Copyright © 2017 by Andrew Lanh. Scottsdale: Poisoned Pen Press, First ed. 2017. Print.