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The Good & the Bad of Direct-to-DVD Action Flicks
on November 7, 2012
I grew up watching the over the top action movies from the 1980s and early 1990s, so I was more than eager to review the 4 Movie Collection featuring Attack Force, Into the Sun, The Russian Specialist, and Conspiracy, courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment and Tower PR in exchange for an honest review.
Steven Seagal plays Marshall Lawson, a commander of an elite military unit, in the 2008 direct-to-DVD Attack Force. While in Paris, three of his soldiers are brutally murdered in their hotel room. He starts his own investigation into their deaths with the help of his much younger girlfriend, Tia, and his military friend Dwayne. He learns that the soldiers deaths are linked to a military drug called CTX, in which Tia was one of the original scientist that helped create it. Whoever takes the CTX becomes an unstoppable killing machine.
I'm not the biggest Seagal fan and it has been awhile since I have seen one of his movies, but Attack Force has to be the worst. The plot is unrealistic and confusing. The fights scenes are ridiculous, the acting is laughable, and half of Seagal's lines are dubbed due to the script being changed after the movie was filmed. Attack Force is one of the worst movies ever made.
Steven Seagal plays an ex-CIA agent Travis Hunter in the 2005 direct-to-DVD Into the Sun. Hunter is brought in to look into the murder of Tokyo's governor along with his new FBI partner Sean Mac (played by Vampire Diaries' Matthew Davis). The murder is linked to the Japanese mafia known as Yakuza. Hunter was raised in Japan and knows the customs, but his new partner doesn't know about the culture and is more of a distraction. Hunter ends up sending Mac on a surveillance mission, but it ends up in disaster. As Hunter gets closer to the killers, Yakuza kills someone close to him, resulting in Hunter taking matters into his own hands.
Despite from the incorrect CIA/FBI jargon, Into the Sun wasn't a bad action flick. Yes, the whole drug kingpin plot has been done to death, but there are some decent sword fighting scenes that kept the movie likeable.
Dolph Lundgren directs and plays the main character, Nikolai "Nick" Cherenko, in the 2005 action flick The Russian Specialist (aka The Mechanik). Nick left Russia and moved to America after he witnessed the brutal murder of his wife and son. He's trying to get over his loss by working as a mechanic. That is until a wealthy woman offers him $500,000 to find her daughter who has been forced into the sex trade industry in Russia. At first he rejects the job, but then he learns that the kidnapper is Sasha Popov, the man that killed his family. Nick returns to Russia and joins forces with William Burton and his band of mercenaries to take down Popov's mob.
I wasn't expecting too much from a movie that I had never heard of before, but I found The Russian Specialist to be a well written and nicely directed action movie, minus the odd fade-to-black after each scene.
Val Kilmer stars as a disabled ex-Marine William "Spooky" Macpherson in the 2008 direct-to-DVD Conspiracy that is somewhat inspired by 1955 film Bad Day at Black Rock which was based on the short story Bad Time at Honda by Howard Breslin. After receiving a phone call from a fellow Marine, Spooky packs up what little belongings that he owns and travels to border town of New Lago. To his surprise, nobody in the town has ever heard of his friend and he is not wanted there. He soon learns that the small town is owned and controlled by John Rhodes (played by Gary Cole). Spooky is arrested, but quickly escapes to lead a one man war against Rhodes and his crooked sheriff office.
Conspiracy is another action movie that I have never heard of before. The premise is interesting and Val Kilmer and Gary Cole do their best, but there are numerous plot holes. The Marine jargon is incorrect and the supporting cast is horrible. New Lago looks like it came out of the 1800s. The town looked more like a tourist attraction than a realistic small town. I don't care much for Val Kilmer, but he does a decent job with what little he had to work with. Gary Cole is the best part of the film as the corrupted villain. In the end, I did find Conspiracy to be somewhat entertaining with a few decent action scenes.
Attack Force, Into the Sun, and Conspiracy are all in 1.85:1 aspect ratio with English 2.0 audio. The Russian Specialist is in 1.78:1 aspect ratio with English 2.0 audio.
My expectations were low for these for action movies that I have never heard of before. Considering there are two movies per disc, all the films have a good picture quality to them. These movies are never going to win any awards. That is probably why they were released direct-to-DVD. Attack Force is a complete waste of time to watch. Conspiracy has its share of plot holes, but it held my interest thanks to Gary Cole. Into the Sun and The Russian Specialist are both worth watching. Overall, this 4 Movie Collection isn't even close to being perfect, but it does have two decent action movies in it.