Pentathlon is an Olympic competition originally designed by the
ancient Greeks for their sodier athletes. A combination of five
different sports -- running, swimming, riding, fencing and shooting
-- the Pentathlon is the ultimate measure of all -around athletic
ability. The Gold Medalist in this contest is generally considered
to be the greatest athlete in the world.
movie opens with Erich Brogar being interviewed on American television
in Los Angeles, where Brogar, now the coach of the American Olympic
pistol team, is in town to attend a fundraiser with the team
at an elite country club. A montage of his athletic abilities
and particularly the event in Brogar's life which made him a
world-class hero is shown during the course of the interview.
episode took place at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Erich
Brogar (Dolph Lundgren), a member of the East German team, won
the Gold Medal, setting a new world Pentathlon record. He won
even greater attention a few days later when he defected in a
daring escape to freedom at the Los Angeles airport in front
of the international press. The whole world saw the dramatic
footage of Erich fighting his way from his gun-toting East German
Secret Police (Stasi) "handlers". Erich used all his
athletic ability to best the Stasi Chief, Heinz, in a shoot out
and fight out that made Erich a U.S. hero -- while Heinz returned
to East Germany in disgrace.
After his defection, Erich used his influence to obtain the release
of his father, Dr. Rudolf Brogar, from an East German prison.
Dr. Brogar was tortured and mistreated as punishment for his
son's escape to the free world. Dr. Brogar, a prominent research
chemist, was also a human right activist who convinced Erich
to leave East Germany.
Erich arranged for his freed father to work as a research chemist
at the American subsidiary of the big German industrial company,
Drei Farben, in Beaufort, South Carolina, a picturesque antebellum
town on the coast whose cheap land values and even cheaper local
labor has enticed many other German concerns to set up shop in
the area. Beaufort, consequently, has become known as the "Little
Munich of Dixie".
Now we see another shoot out, but of a different sort. The American
Pentathlon team is putting on a shooting exhibition at the L.A.
country club for the wealthy members. One of the members, Tom
Mason, drunk and cocky, offers to donate $25,000 to the Olympic
fund if Brogar, who no longer is a competitive marksman, can
beat the highest score by his team member. Erich rises for the
occasion and shows Mason and the others what Gold Medal caliber
shooting is all about.
That night Erich receives a call from his father. Sounding afraid,
Dr. Brogar only says two words: "They're here," and
then the lines goes dead. Erich tries for hours to get through
to his father, to no avail. Very concerned, he hops the next
plane to South Carolina only to find out, when he gets there,
that his father is dead. The rumor is suicide, but Erich knows
his father loved life too much to kill himself. He also remembers
the words he uttered and vows to find out what his father meant.
A week passes. Erich has buried his father and stays like a recluse
in his house mourning over the souvenirs of his father's life.
Julia Ritter, the daughter of his father's co-worker and old
friend, Dr. Reinhart Ritter, calls Erich and invites him out
for a drink. Pretty and bright, Julia decides to cheer Erich
up by taking him to a redneck country western bar. A graduate
student at the University of South Carolina, Julia is home for
While they're dancing, Julia gets propositioned by gang of very
huge and very tough blonde thugs. When Erich comes to the rescue
-- what he hears comes out of the thugs' mouths shocks him -
instead of the expected redneck drawls, these louts speak German.
A terrible brawl ensues, in which Erich destroys both the Germans
and the entire bar. Afterwards, when Erich leaves, a bartender
who helped Erich and volunteered to speak whith him the next
day about "what was happening" to his once happy city,
is shot by none other than ex-Stasi point man, Heinz. What is
he doing here?
and Julia have an instant attraction for one another. When he
tells her that he's decided to stay on in Beaufort for awhile,
to take care of "family business", she's overjoyed.
Later, Erich goes to the hospital to check on the bartender.
The police are already there; the bartender died a half an hour
earlier. Erich, who knows firearms, discovers that the "murder
bullet" was fired from a sophisticated rifle -- a Russian
riffle. Too many coincidences and Erich decides to go the police.
Beaufort police are very polite, but not overly concerned by
these events. The courtly police chief, Beauregard Gates, shuffles
Erich off to Detective Virgil Porter, the town's token black
sleuth. Gates tells Erich that he's honored to have such a distinguished
visitor in town and that he's a huge Olympic supporter, etc.
This is obviously lip service because teaming Erich up with Virgil
is not exactly the 'red carpet treatment'. Especially when Gates
tells Erich that the "black boys" have been responsible
for a number of curious deaths of white men lately.
In spite of their being total opposites, Erich and Virgil develop
an instant camaraderie. Virgil is extremely dubious that the
local, peaceful blacks are responsible for these murders. What
about the Germans, Erich asks. Model citizens, Virgil laughs.
We cut to Drei Farben to see just how model the Germans are.
Located on Beaufort Island, 1 mile off the coast of Beaufort,
the Drei Farben factory is adjacent to a large castle that was
built before the Civil War by a rich cotton planter with European
pretensions. Three poor assembly line workers leave the plant,
telling each other in low voices that they can't believe "what
After departing the ferry, walking down the country road home,
Heinz's Mercedes caravan picks up the three men and takes them
to the woods. They methodically cut off one's tongue, another's
ears and the other's eyes. After which, they hang and ignite
them -- saying "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil!"
Then they carve the initials "E.C." in the corpses.
E.C. stands for Ebony Coalition, a black rights group the Stasi
want to frame for the killings.
Returning to the Drei Farben plant, Heinz enters the castle and
goes to the antique office of the company chairman, Bruno Kunst,
a mega mogul who imported Heinz and other Stasis, displaced by
the reunification of Germany, to America by giving them false
immigration papers and new identities. He's employed them to
use their East German hi-tech Stasi terror techniques to intimidate
the poor local work force into keeping his deep, billion dollar
Drei Farben is ostensibly making industrial chemicals, but it
is also making deadly material for chemical warfare, exporting
it secretly to Germany where it will be sold for huge profits
to Third World war-mongers.
Heinz has seen Erich Brogar in Beaufort and, given their past
relationship knows that this could pose a danger. Kunst, alarmed,
orders Heinz to terminate Erich immediately.
Erich, dining with Julia and Dr. Ritter questions the strange
goings-on in Beaufort. They say very little, changing the subject
as much as possible. Later that night, on his way home, Erich
is ambushed by Heinz's men, all in black leather, on a fleet
of motorcycles. This time Erich gets a glimpse of Heinz, face
to face, but Heinz gets away. Though Erich upends a number of
these not-so-easy riders, when he complains to the police they
explain that the riders are simply members of a local German
biker club and that they were only out for fun.
A bit bruised, Erich calls Julia and asks her to meet him at
his fahter's house. Shocked at what has happened, she tends his
wounds. Later, they make love. Julia has fallen hard for Erich
and is concerned for his life. The next morning, she tells her
he attack on Erich. Ashamed and scared, Dr. Ritter breaks down
and cries. He also tells Julia the deep and dark truth about
the evil doings at Drei Farben.
Julia goes to find Erich, but she's too late. He's already gone
off with Virgil. As she leaves the Brogar house she is snatched
by Heinz's men. Erich and Virgil, meanwhile, have gone out to
Drei Farben, on it's fortress island, surrounded by a space age
security system not to mention Dobermans and guards in speedboats,
where they meet the imperious Kunst. They walk the assembly line
and question the workers who are clearly too terrified to reveal
anything relating to Erich's father's death.
All charm, Kunst invites them to visit his castle near the plant.
Wanting more information and afraid of nothing, Erich agrees
to go. Besides, he has the law -- Virgil -- with him. At the
castle, Kunst asks Erich for a fencing display in his great hall.
His opponent will be Kunst's hitman Thor, who secretly puts poison
on the end of his rapier. A fierce match ensues, in which Erich
He invites Erich and Virgil to see his Arabian stallions. As
they depart for the stables, Heinz and his motorcycle gang reappear.
They handcuff Erich and Virgil and take them to the torture chamber
in the casle's basement where, to Erich shock, Julia and her
father are also being held. Kunst tells Erich that he is to die,
just like his father. Dr. Brogar had been forced to help develop
a poison gas formula, after which he was no longer of use and
too dangerous to keep alive. Kunst is controlling the town. Gates
is on the payroll, along with other leading local politicians.
The town's power structure is totally corrupt.
Now Kunst, who fancies himself a great sportsman, makes Erich
one final proposition. He will set Erich free on his island and
give him one final chance to escape. It is a sporting gesture,
but Kunst laughs his evil laugh, and says he knows he will win.
Still, he loves the Pentathlon and wants to see Erich gives his
all trying -- and dying. Stripped to a loin cloth, Erich is let
loose on the island -- filled with all the terrors of both nature
and man. There are wild boars, snakes, alligators, rabid Dobermans,
quicksand, swamps and dozens of Stasi killers stalking Erich.
Yet somehow Erich survives, using all his Pentathlon skills,
swimming, riding an Arabian stallion he commandeers, racing through
booby-trapped and mined woods and shooting with guns he takes
from the Stasis he killed with his hands. Single-handedly, he
defeats Kunst's army. This war culminates in a sword battle in
which he beheads the hated Heinz and then takes on the guards
at the factory and blows it up.
Then Erich comes back to deal with Kunst himself. Returning to
the dungeon, Erich finds Virgil and Dr. Ritter, beaten and chained,
but alive. But where is Julia? Erich races through the castle
and spots them making their way to the dock for a speedboat escape.
Erich chases them in a guard boat only to be attacked by Chief
Gates in a helicopter. Erich, with the greatest shot in his life,
guns the chopper down to a fireball in the Atlantic.
Then, after a massive game of aquatic chicken, in which the two
speedboats collide, Erich and Kunst square off underwater, and
in the alligator and snake infested swampy marshes Erich feeds
the villain to the reptiles.
Afterwards, Erich rescues Julia, who is clinging to the boat
wreckage. At the end, Erich has avenged his father, rid the world
of another dealer in chemical death, made a lifelong friend,
Virgil and fallen in love with Julia.