Stewart and his UNACO Men
When ever there is a threat of a nuclear weapon being stolen it is Malcolm Philpott (Patrick Stewart - Lady Jane) of UNACO, (United Nation Anti Crime Organisation) who must bring the situation to order with his team of agents, including Mike Graham (Pierce Brosnan - The Lawnmower Man). So when former Soviet general, Benin (Christopher Lee - Incident at Victoria Falls), has a German scientist construct two nuclear weapons from stolen plutonium it is UNACO who are called in to action especially when the weapon ends up in the hands of an American mercenary on a hijacked German train.
Let me get to what is so surprising about "Detonator", which was once called "Death Train". Here is a movie originally made for TV which stars Christopher Lee as a Russian general, Ted Levine as a crazy American mercenary who the General hired, Patrick Stewart as the head of a crime fighting organization, Pierce Brosnan as one of his heroic agents as well as Alexandra Paul as one of the crime fighting team. That is a lot more talent than you tend to find in TV movies and unsurprisingly it is very much their talents which help to make "Detonator" semi entertaining even now almost 25 years after it was made. When Patrick Stewart barks orders as Philpott he has that gravitas which makes him believable whilst Pierce Brosnan, a few years before playing James Bond, brings plenty of what he would bring to Bond to his role as heroic Mike.
Another big part of what makes "Detonator" work is actually when it was made because the storyline about a crazy mercenary on a hijacked train with a nuclear weapon on board is pretty standard stuff. But back in 1993 there was still plenty of love for these types of action movies which in many ways heralded back to the late 70s and as such it doesn't feel like it was just tossed together on a tiny budget. That is exactly what would have happened if "Detonator" had been made a decade later and would have then probably starred either Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme and instead of being made for TV would have gone direct to video.
The thing is that whilst "Detonator" doesn't feel like the rush job of later action movies and is improved by the calibre of the cast it is still a pretty routine action movie with many typical scenes such as are hero on top of a moving train being fired at by someone inside through the roof. Even the twists when it comes to a Soviet General employing an American mercenary to hijack a German train doesn't really lift this in to being more than just an okay action movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Detonator" is the sort of movie I would have loved if I had first seen it back in 1993 but now it ends up just an okay, pretty standard action movie which has a surprisingly decent cast for a made for TV movie.