A touch of Japan-bashing, a smidgen of nuke-scarifying, and a max of superheated swashbuckling—all in this formulaic Hagberg technothriller (Assassin, 1997, etc.). The Japanese are up to something inscrutable. On the surface, it's just an innocent satellite launch, a joint effort with the US, but the CIA doesn't buy that for a minute. In the first place, the launch is connected somehow to a mysterious nuclear explosion set off by North Korea. More importantly, it's connected to a certain Joseph Lee, an international businessman of the distinctly sinister variety. This Lee, rich, ruthless, at home in the corridors of power—White House corridors among them—regards series hero Kirk McGarvey with a jaundiced eye. Smart, incredibly tough, and endlessly resourceful, McGarvey stands in Lee's way. Rid himself of McGarvey—whose strength is as the strength of Rambo—and nothing can thwart his complex geopolitical ambitions, he reasons. Thugs in Lee's employ toss a bomb into a restaurant where McGarvey, his lover, and his daughter are dining. Bad mistake. Though the lover perishes and the daughter is hurt, the target escapes. And is enraged. Vowing vengeance, McGarvey goes after his enemies as unswervingly as a killer bee. He tracks them down, takes them on, and though they pit armies and arsenals against him, foils their plans. The ill-intentioned launching never happens. The nefarious Lee is null and voided. America's best-ever master spy saves the world. "Even if he's twice as good as his file suggests," says a gun-toting terrorist at one point, clearly whistling in the dark, "he cannot defeat four to one odds." Famous last words. The good news is that it moves fast. Since it's all comic-book stuff, it doesn't drag, but it doesn't grab either.
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