Directed by: Giorgio Serafini and James Coyne
Starring: Cung Le, Dolph Lundgren, Briana Evigan, Robert LaSardo, and Vinnie Jones
John Nguyen (Le) has all sorts of problems. After serving his country in Iraq, he comes home to L.A. and has to deal with not just his PTSD, but also his lazy, none-too-bright roommate (not sure of his name, but he could possibly be in the next casting for Jersey Shore, if his acting was better). One night Nguyen unleashes his Martial Arts skill on some toughs harassing local prostitute Tanya (Evigan, daughter of My Two Dads’ Greg Evigan), and some of the guys die. This upsets crime boss Hollis (Dolph).
So Hollis sends some more of his goons to kill Nguyen’s family. Now in full revenge mode, Nguyen vows to go after Hollis - but to get there, he must get info from Bennett (Jones) and figure out what the detectives investigating the case know. Will Nguyen get revenge? Will someone die of PUNCTURE WOUNDS?
Man, this Cung Le guy looks like Cuba Gooding, Jr. I mean, he REALLY looks like him. Note how on the box art, his Cuba-face is strongly emphasized, while no actors’ names are present. Could this be a trick? Well, that aside, it’s a dark day in DTV-land once again, as these modern-day productions prove time and again they cannot hold a candle to their far-superior 80’s and 90’s counterparts.
You know it’s a bad sign when two separate directors get two separate credits (and on the version on Netflix streaming at least, it’s shown under its alternate title, A Certain Justice). Here is no exception. The stupidity is all-encompassing, as everywhere you turn in this movie, something dumb is happening - with the possible exception of Dolph. Whenever he’s onscreen, things are better, but he and his walrus ‘stache can’t save this turkey from its own sophomorically-written ways.
It is indeed hard to believe someone over the age of 14 actually wrote this inanity down on pieces of paper. Hey, writers - instead of writing down to us, how about writing UP to us for a change? We’re action movie fans, not automatons that will just accept any old slop. From the unnecessary narration, to the gratuitous use of slow motion, to the puzzling stylistic choices such as quick cuts and foggy, blurred edges on screen, to printing the names of the characters on screen as if that matters/has never been done before, to the nu-metal-esque soundtrack, the whole thing seems targeted towards the ‘stupid market’.
It all screams “NEW DTV production”, to its detriment. Yes, we’re glad Dolph is still working, and it’s nice to see mainstays like Vinnie Jones and Robert Lasardo (who is in one scene), so we don’t want to seem ungrateful, but Puncture Wounds is just not enjoyable to watch. We’re sorry, but there’s no getting around that, no matter how hard we try.
The premise is even very similar to fellow Cung Le vehicle Dragon Eyes (2012) - Cung moves into an apartment complex in a bad neighborhood in L.A., beats up a bunch of people, and there are crackheads running around. But thankfully Dragon Eyes was directed by John Hyams, so it was better than Puncture Wounds. While we liked seeing Dolph as the baddie, and we thought that was a nice change of pace, it was really a wasted opportunity.
So, yes, Puncture Wounds does have some action, but at what cost? The movie typifies some of the worst aspects of modern-day DTV, unfortunately. We thought it was a tough sit.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty
Also check out a write-up from our buddy, DTVC!