Retrograde (2004)

Retrograde (2004) -* *

Directed By: Christopher Kulikowski

Starring: Dolph Lundgren and Gary Daniels

Dolph In Space!

So far unreleased in the U.S., (almost with good reason). It's for die-hard Dolph fans (like myself) only.

Retrograde is about John Foster (Lundgren) who has to stop a bunch of bad guys who are trying to take over a boat in the future. Yes, that sounds like a poor plot and it is, but deep down it looks like they were trying. The budget is low and the special effects are cheap, but Dolph and Gary put in decent performances.

The movie's worst sin was to not pit Dolph and Gary Daniels' characters to a fight to the death. That would've been awesome.

To tell you the truth, if you liked Direct Action you won't like Retrograde, unless you are a Dolph superfan.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

The Detonator (2006)

 The Detonator (2006) -* *

Directed By: Po-Chih Leong

Starring: Wesley Snipes and Silvia Colloca

Poor Wesley Trent Snipes. He can't catch a break. With his recent tax troubles and movie career down the drain, all he can do is make cheap Romanian action movies. If all the action stars (Seagal, Snipes, Lundgren, and Van Damme) are in Romania, when are they gonna team up and make the ultimate action flick?

In The Detonator, Snipes plays Sonnie Griffith, a secret agent whose newest job is to protect Nadia Cominski (Colloca) from gangsters and corrupt police. That's it. The action scenes are entertaining but once again Snipes looks disinterested in the proceedings. Silvia Colloca was hired to look sexy and she does it well. The biggest problem is the laziness brought onboard by Wesley: He doesn't care, and he took the Seagal route and dubbed his voice. Half of the time it doesn't sound like Snipes, just a poor impersonator. Hey, on the bright side, at least we're boosting Romania's economy.

Overall, it's a decent one time watch, but I think it's a step down from 7 Seconds (2005) and Unstoppable (2004)

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


Pursued (2004)

Pursued (2004) -* * *

Directed By: Kristoffer Tabori

Starring: Christian Slater, Gil Bellows, Estella Warren, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Saul Rubinek

Pursued is a fun, if silly thriller. Jack Nicholson's long lost "cousin" Christian Slater stars as Vincent Palmer, a headhunter for a transfer company. Ben Keats (Bellows) becomes a target after Keats refuses Palmer's offer. Vincent becomes increasingly persistent even stalking Ben's family. Can he escape?

Christian Slater is excellent as Palmer. He knows how to be calm and to be ruthless at the same time, and make you believe it. Bellows is boring and Duncan doesn't have a lot of screen time. The ending is suspenseful, but a little ridiculous.

 Pursued is worth watching for a hyped-up Slater and the unusual plot.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Ripley's Game (2002)

Ripley's Game (2002)-* * *

Directed By: Liliana Cavani

Starring: John Malkovich, Ray Winstone, Lena Headey, and Dougray Scott

Ripley's Game is a very good film. It's been dumped on video with little to no fanfare.

Tom Ripley (Malkovich) manipulates a dying man named Trevanny (Scott) into killing people for money. Trevanny accepts this so he can give the cash to his family after he dies, but after the first killing, he has to do another, but he wants to stop, but he can't because Trevanny is trapped into Ripley's mind game.

John Malkovich is perfect in the role. He oozes menace with just a smile. One of the best scenes is where Ripley and Trevanny have to execute three gangsters on a crowded train. It's very suspenseful and surprisingly violent.

Ray Winstone plays one of Ripley's sinister friends and he almost steals the movie with a solid performance. Dougray Scott was decent, but his character motivations were a little rushed at points.

Overall, Ripley's Game is a great movie and I highly recommend it to people who like a smart, well-written thriller.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


Into The Sun (2005)

Into The Sun (2005)-* * *

Directed by: Mink

Starring: Steven Seagal, Matthew Davis, and William Atherton

Into the Sun is one of Seagal's better efforts of late. "Travis Hunter" (Seagal) goes to Japan to stop the Yakuza. This time he has a partner named Sean (Davis). They uncover a drug ring bigger than Seagal himself.

Most Seagal movies nowadays are shot on the cheap in Bulgaria. But this time around they shot it in Japan. That was a good choice because the colors are bright, and there's a lot of breathtaking sights. Seagal puts in his routine performance, but he smiles!.... On second thought, It's probably a stunt smiler. There's also a few scenes where Hunter speaks Japanese but the townspeople don't. That was weird. I guess only "reported egomaniac" SEAGAL can speak the language. He does put some energy into the fights though, and the climax with the samurai swords was cool.

Into The Sun had a $35 million dollar budget and was supposed to debut in theaters. I don't know why it didn't, it's not a masterpiece but it's just as good as Exit Wounds (2001).

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


Hard Luck (2006)

Hard Luck (2006) -* *1\2

Directed By: Mario Van Peebles

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Mario Van Peebles, Cybill Shepherd, Jackie Quinones, and Luis Guzman

Hard Luck tries to be different but fails. Lucky (Snipes) is an ex-con who (as usual) wants to go straight. After a botched stakeout, Lucky finds himself with $500,000 and an accomplice named Angela (Quinones). Now they are on the run from corrupt cops and Captain Davis (Van Peebles), who has an old score to settle with Lucky. If that's not enough plot, Cass (Shepherd) is a totally unrelated character who likes to torture people. Everything makes sense in the end.... or does it?

When the Shepherd character is introduced, the movie goes off the rails. Even though it's a different idea to throw a serial killer into an "ex-con goes straight" story, it doesn't work at all. Snipes has a lot of energy this time around, after glumming it up in Blade: Trinity (2004) and The Detonator (2006). Van Peebles' character has a great intro, but his story with Lucky isn't explained too well. One other problem is the constant pop culture references. They mention Super Size Me (2004), Catwoman (2004), and even Abu Ghraib prison. It gets tiring fast.

Overall, Hard Luck is decent, don't expect it be another Snipes action movie though.

Hard Justice (1995)

Hard Justice (1995) -* * *1\2

Directed By: Greg Yaitanes

Starring: David Bradley and Charles Napier

David Bradley is on a lower level than Seagal or Van Damme. Just like Sasha Mitchell, Olivier Gruner and Mike Norris, he's not too bad an actor, but he can't make it to the big leagues.

Hard Justice is without a doubt David Bradley's best movie. Nick Adams (Bradley) goes undercover in a prison to root out his best friend's killer. He realizes that not only is the prison corrupt, his arch enemy Jimmy Wong is back to even the score. The plot is basically a rip-off of the Van Damme movie Death Warrant (1990), but it makes up for that in the action sequences. The opening is fantastic, with almost non-stop action. The climax is also well-executed. But the middle, where Adams is in the prison does lag a little.

Charles Napier is great as the evil warden. The fight choreography does show off Bradley's martial arts ability, thankfully the filmmakers didn't over-edit the scenes. Overall, this is the Bradley movie to see.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


The Alternate (2000)

The Alternate (2000) -* *

AKA: Agent Of Death

Directed By: Sam Firstenberg

Starring: Eric Roberts, Bryan Genesse, Larry Manetti, Michael Madsen, and Ice-T

Watch out for this company:

If you watch a lot of Direct-To-Video flicks like me, the company pops up a lot. They make on-the-cheap knockoffs of Die Hard (1988) and monster flicks like Octopus 2: River Of Fear (2001).

The Alternate is no exception. For the millionth time, John McClane....I mean "The Replacement" (Roberts) has to foil a plot to stop terrorists from killing the Prez. Michael Madsen plays the Reginald VelJohnson part as the agent on the ground. All he does is bark orders and waits to tuck into the craft service table. Bryan Genesse plays the terrorist leader. He's okay. Eric Roberts is his usual self as the hero. The action scenes are ripped off from Die Hard wholesale. The scene with Eric hanging on to a building, and the climax. I'm surprised there wasn't any stock footage. Ice-T pops up to make a cameo. He reads his lines off the cue card like the pro he is.

Sam Firstenberg is also the director of the Michael Dudikoff classic American Ninja (1985).

Overall, The Alternate isn't bad, It was just written with no personality.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Voodoo Dawn (1998)

Voodoo Dawn (1998) -*1\2

AKA: Fait Accompli

Directed By: Andrezej Sekula

Starring: Michael Madsen, Rosanna Arquette, Balthazar Getty and James Russo

Voodoo Dawn is a not-too-thrilling thriller. Michael Madsen stars as Frank, who is let out of prison after a curse is set upon him. He wants to reclaim his status as a bar owner. But the voodoo curse won't let him... As you can see, the plot is minimal, and as the movie progresses, it gets even smaller.

Madsen and Arquette try, but can't get anything out of this except a paycheck. James Russo plays a washed up hick. If that is the character or him in real life, I couldn't tell. Madsen has been in better Direct-to-Video productions like Supreme Sanction (1999), or Executive Target (1997). Rosanna Arquette is one of the better Arquettes, but she needs to pick out better material. I like all the actors involved, But I wish they will put their efforts into something more worthwhile next time.

Also known as "Fait Accompli".

Comeuppance Review by: Ty


Paper Soldiers (2002)

Paper Soldiers (2002) -*

Directed By: Damon Dash and  David Daniel

Starring: Kevin Hart, Stacey Dash, Michael Rapaport, Jay-Z, and Memphis Bleek

Shawn (Hart) is a petty robber, who wants to make it with the big boys of thieving. But he doesn't have the guts. But he does get into a lot of wacky situations which aren't the least bit funny.

This movie is terrible. They are no laughs at all, every joke is strained, and the delivery is off. I guess when that didn't work, they turned to weak melodrama, which falters immensely. Kevin Hart should not try to be a dramatic actor.

Michael Rapaport is always worth watching, and his cameo is slightly humorous. But the other cameo by Jay-Z looks like a freeze frame. He doesn't say a word.

If you're looking for a quality African-American flick, watch Dead Presidents (1995).

Comeuppance Review by: Ty

Overdrive (1997)

Overdrive (1997)- *1\2 

Directed By: Lev L. Spiro

Starring: Steve Guttenberg and Robert Wagner

When I think "action", my first thought is always Steve Guttenberg. Not Van Damme or Tony Jaa.

Stricker (Guttenberg) is a race car driver with a temper. When he doesn't finish his latest race because of rage, he quits. He is then embroiled with a gangster who wants to kill him.

This is a Roger Corman production, which means low-budget crap. Guttenberg and Wagner look like they don't want to be there. The racing scenes are okay, but if they had more energy to them, it would be better. This is the time when Guttenberg was trying to be an action star, another example would be Airborne (1998). and as you can see, it didn't pan out too well.

Overdrive isn't horrible, but it's lazy and poorly paced. Skip it.

Comeuppance Review by: Ty