In the Middle East, the Islamic terrorist Abdul (Behrouz Vossoughi) is horrified that the Israeli Government have imprisoned so many of his brethren and seeks to make amends. To do so, he bands together with a collection of his fellow terrorists, and hops aboard a flight to the United States of America (on which he can call the stewardess an infidel for trying to help him with his seatbelt), where he can set his plan in motion. It's a modest idea, a simple kidnapping, but the target is anything but modest, none other than Margaret (Lysa Heslov), the daughter of the President himself, who they corner in a Beverly Hills boutique. Who will help her?
Stallone, that's who, but not THAT Stallone, the other one. In the nineteen-eighties, Sylvester Stallone sought superstar status with a series of macho action blockbusters, but just as Liberace had his brother George, so did Sly. Well, he had his brother Frank, but it was largely the same arrangement as, tired of trying to get his music career off the ground (and also off the back of his brother's movies), he had a go at this acting lark too. He went on to become one of the highest paid and respected action leading men of his generation - ah, no, not really, he became a punchline for TV comedy and internet wags alike, and with efforts like this, little wonder.
Cheap doesn't begin to cover Terror in Beverly Hills, an all-expenses spared endeavour that demonstrated how not every Israeli family-produced American action movie could be put down to Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus at Cannon in this era - this was from the Bibiyans, a couple of brothers who did their best to muscle in on the muscle movie market and singularly failed to set the box office alight, though video renters of the time might have recognised their names. Desperate video renters who were left with very little choice just before the store's closing time, that was. Here, as with Cannon, their favoured bad guys were the Arabs, and that was not the only cliché.
Stallone essayed an ex-marine who has retired to spend time with his family, but wouldn't you know it, he is dragged back into the melee at the request of the President, played by action staple William Smith, yet his voice was dubbed, presumably either because he couldn't be arsed getting involved with post-production, or because it was decided his actual, hard as nails speaking voice was so overwhelming that audiences would be expecting Smith to take matters in hand and rescue Margaret himself. As it was, he spent the whole movie behind a desk with a Presidential seal on the wall immediately behind him as he phoned the unheard and unseen Israeli President - convincing didn't begin to cover it. The same could apply to the rest of the project, as corner-cutting was evident in every frame.
For this and other reasons, Terror in Beverly Hills has picked up a small cult following of the "so bad it's good" brigade, but although there were laughs to be garnered here from the insane amounts of thrift on display (including one woman typing important information into her computer without moving her fingers one millimetre), it was more boring than fun. Fortunately, one actor was here to save the day: no, not Frank, it was Cameron Mitchell as the Police Chief, who obviously didn't give two hoots about any of this as long as he was paid, and peppered his lines with gratuitous swearing that sounded less like hardboiled dialogue and closer to a cry for help. His exchanges with the single (!) camera crew who showed up to cover the hostage situation were a masterclass in not being remotely bothered if anyone would see this shite. As for Stallone, playing one Hack Stone (?!), he was offscreen for most of this till the final twenty minutes or so whereupon he did what you'd expect; gotta love the heroic SWAT team who unleashed a hail of bullets at the crumpled body of a man who has just leapt from a high window. Plinky plonky synths by Alan DerMarderosian.