Fatal Deviation (1998)

Fatal Deviation (1998)- * * *1\2

Directed by: Shay Casserley and Simon Linscheid

Starring: James P. Bennett, Mikey Graham, Nicole O' Sullivan, and Johnny Murray

After ten years in a reform school, a young Martial Artist named Jimmy Bennett (Bennett) returns to his hometown of Trim in County Meath, Ireland. It's not long before trouble finds him. The evil gangsters that killed his father are harassing him and his newfound love, Nicola (O'Sullivan). Jimmy is invited to take part in a local no-rules Punchfighting tournament called The Bealtaine. 

The baddies don't want him to win, but Bennett plays by his own rules. Also, thankfully, he and Nicola befriend a wise monk from the abbey (Murray), and he helps Bennett train and train and train. It all comes to an explosive head when said baddies kidnap Nicola and Bennett is forced to go into overdrive to save her - and save the day. What in the world is a FATAL DEVIATION? All will be explained...

What can we say about the great Fatal Deviation that hasn't already been said? It's billed as "Ireland's first Martial Arts action movie" and this shot-on-video project has a DIY feel and a ton of heart that's easy to love. It's funny and fantastically entertaining. It's unique and one-of-a-kind. We here in the U.S. had Razor Sharpe (2001). Ireland had Fatal Deviation. It's the movie that dares to make the natural connection of "County Meath, Ireland" with "Martial Arts". You've got to see it. You just have to!

The star of the show is, of course, James "Jimmy" Bennett. He was born to be an action star. He clearly has spent the time working on not just his physique, but also his technique. His line readings are gold. If Schwarzenegger can come from Austria to make it big in the U.S., why not Bennett? It was nice to see such a Van Damme fan get to indulge his fantasies (VanTasies?) - Bennett:

- Does splits like Van Damme

- Stands on a motorbike and shoots his pistol like JCVD does in Hard Target

- Wears a similar blue shirt to Chance Boudreaux

- Fights in a tournament as Van Damme does in The Quest (1996)

- Has flashbacks to childhood training like in Bloodsport (1988)

- He leaves St. Claude's Academy at the beginning of the film

...and we could probably go on. Yes, there are monks, but since Dennis Rodman was not involved, they're not of the Cyber variety. They may not have been able to get Rodman, but they did get Mikey Graham from the boy band Boyzone.

One thing we have yet to see is Van Damme riding bumper cars at the Funfair or beating up miscreants at the local market. There is a lot of charm on display here, and it's just fun to see. 

There are many more examples, but another one is, when the gangsters are threatening Bennett to take a dive in the tournament, they hand him a note that says "Loose or Else". At first we weren't sure what sort of threat that could possibly be. But, then again, baddies aren't known for their spelling. 

Featuring an unknown song that's a lot like "Young, Cool, and Groovy" from Houseboat Horror (1989), A better Ireland tourism video you could not find. Fatal Deviation almost inadvertently combines the natural beauty of the Emerald Isle with the awesomeness of Jimmy Bennett. Fatal Deviation is a must-see.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty


force_field said...

A veritable classic of rudeness in such large quantities that it’s almost unfeasible. I remember watching this for the first time in total disbelief. It’s that great. The supermarket scene is hilarious and so is the picnic he has with the ‘hot babe’ where they sit about an inch from the side of the road. It’s also amusing when he gets into the time honored bar room brawl and shouts at the bartender ‘BEER.’ It must also be asked why that guy was taking a bath outside in the final scenes. Whatever the case. 4 stars isn’t enough for this masterpiece.

Explosive Action said...

This looks beyond awesome!

Ty said...

Force Field: Agree with everything you said. Good breakdown. James Bennett is a national treasure!

Explosive Action: It is! It's everything you probably think it is Haha