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This movie made me realize how fun it actually can be to still watch a B-flick from time to time. You normally would think of the '80's when it comes down to fun and simplistic action-flicks but in all truth there actually still are plenty of capable directors and actors out there that make some pretty decent genre movies, with as an only different that these type of movies immediately disappear into obscurity after release, due to the ever changing market.

Having said all that; no, of course this isn't a great movie. It even isn't really a good one to be perfectly honest but I definitely got an '80's vibe from it and it was pretty fun to watch, when ignoring most of the flaws and weaknesses. My guess is that this movie was heavily inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Commando" in terms of story, action and even its music. But luckily it's not just another lazy knockoff. There's plenty of originality in the story, though there still isn't much story to begin with, to be honest.

The movie is a bit of an odd mix of martial arts- and gun fights & explosions action. I have to say I was liking the movie better when it was just being a stupid and simple martial arts flicks, though at the same time I also still have to say that the all of the other is pretty decent as well to look at. It's just that Scott Adkins is so much better and more convincing when doing fight scenes. It's actually a bit of a shame how he isn't a well known- and much appreciated actor by now. Sure, he's very well known in certain circles, and in a way that's fine but the large portion of the more mainstream public has still yet to meet Scott Adkins.

All of the fight scenes are pretty well choreographed by director Jesse V. Johnson, who's a stunt coordinator and performer himself. It's of course pretty silly to watch a couple of guys perform some martial arts in the midst of a conflict zone but hey, it's a silly action movie after all. I kind of liked the tournament aspect of the movie and would have been fine with it if the entire movie got centered around it but the movie itself had different plans. It's not like the movie becomes worse to watch once the gunfights become more prevalent but it just doesn't go very well with the earlier tone and settings of the movie. Having said that, the gunfights are pretty well handled as well. It was actually good to see how the movie wasn't holding back with its violence and the movie actually is a pretty bloody and brutal one to watch at parts.

Everything else about the movie is pretty weak unfortunately. It's not entirely unexpected that the story isn't a very impressive or well written one. What's worse though is that certain aspects within it just don't work out at all. For instance the whole romance and more dramatic angles seem like a big waste and don't work out at all. The movie does an incredibly poor job handling any emotions, which maybe isn't just the writing but can also be blamed on the acting.

One of the things the movie also is lacking is a decent enough main villain. The movie instead features a whole bunch of 'small' villains, without a clear 'big' and main one. The villains in the movie are all pretty good and fun but none of them have a big enough impact on the movie and its main story.

It also seems like a big waste how this movie is supposed to be set in 1959 instead of modern times. It sounds like a cool and original enough idea but it in fact adds absolutely nothing to the story and movie doesn't even ever look or feel like it's set in the '50's. The look and style of the movie is far too slick and modern for that, which normally wouldn't be a complaint of course but in this case it somewhat is. Other than that I appreciate the movie for being such a good and professional looking one, though it's still far from perfect and has a couple of 'cheap' looking moments in it.

But really, if you're into simple and fun B-action movies this one still remains a pretty watchable and good enough one for you to watch. It's definitely a tad bit better than the average modern genre attempt and Scott Adkins always is good to watch in these type of things.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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