• Attica

    Attica

    ★★★½

    I remember being quite horrified as a young lad after watching the HBO original movie depicting the events of the Attica prison rebellion. John Frankenheimer’s Against the Wall is a powerful dramatization of the carnage and injustice perpetrated against the prisoners, guards, and families of all those inside those walls. It left a tremendous impression on my adolescent brain. I simply couldn’t understand why we live in a world where spaces like this exist and things like that happen inside…

  • One Shot

    One Shot

    ★★★

    A “single take” (one shot, get it?) bit of cinematic junk food. Somehow feels like less of a gimmick than in other films. Not reinventing any wheels here, just cruising at the speed of Scott Adkins’ limbs. Ryan Philippe is well cast as a CIA weenie. If you like this sort of thing, it’s not half bad.

  • Halloween Kills

    Halloween Kills

    Look, I know I’m way late on this. It usually takes me a year to catch any new movie. Gimme a break. 

    Not good. Like so many contemporary Hollywood efforts to resurrect the past to capitalize on established fan bases, this tries to be everything and winds up as nothing. 

    Lacking in any sense of tone, composition, and pacing. Not scary, not funny, and not interesting. Hell, some of the now defunct original sequels are better than this. 

    The only star I’m giving this is for John Carpenter’s score, the only saving grace in this wreck of a movie.

  • Castle Falls

    Castle Falls

    ★★★

    Maybe I’m pressing here, but I kinda dig the way this represents the shit state of America. A group of people, including immigrants, criminals, and a traumatized exotic dancer, kill each other over drug money hidden in an abandoned hospital prepped for demolition. Director Dolph Lundgren somehow manages to capture the rot that has seeped into almost every aspect of our crumbling institutions. Prisons are filled with corrupt guards, everyone is out of work and struggling to survive, the cities…

  • Boyka: Undisputed IV

    Boyka: Undisputed IV

    ★★★

    “Every champion fights himself…” - Johnny Hallyday in Jean Luc Godard’s DETECTIVE

    Scott Adkins’ Russian convict Yuri Boyka completes his journey of redemption through a series of bare knuckle fights in a cheap gangster’s private club. For the first time, Boyka puts it all in the ring for someone else’s survival. 

    Amazing fight choreography and stunt work. Seeing Adkins twirl, flip, and fly around the ring illustrates that Boyka’s only truly free when being forced into an underground MMA tournament by Russian oligarchs in shiny suits.

  • Avengement

    Avengement

    ★★★½

    Watch this excellent goddamn movie and listen to The Gauntlet podcast throw down like a brawl in an English pub.

  • Seized

    Seized

    ★★★

    Come for Scott Adkins on a murderous rampage, stay for Mario Van Peebles playing a sicario with a heart of gold.

  • The Night Comes for Us

    The Night Comes for Us

    ★★★★

    Was thoroughly unprepared for the amount of gore in this. 

    A collection of brutal, intense, and masterful action set pieces soaked in blood. The brawl in the butcher shop alone is worth 4 stars. Timo Tjahjanto’s experience in the horror genre brings an inventive gusto for dismemberment and carnage. Also, hits notes of betrayal, honor, and redemption in a much more straightforward and simple manner than the bloated Raid sequel. 

    A nightmarish ballet set in a charnel house.

  • Triple Threat

    Triple Threat

    ★★★

    Solid action sequences handled with typical JVJ economy and lucidity. Sure, the spaces between the bare knuckle fights and frantic gunplay aren’t as confident. Though, not sure we should blame the Asian actors for having to deliver half their lines in English. And, while there may be a good smattering of pro-China sentiment punctuating the flick, I dig the prol vibes of the southeast Asian heroes fucking up a bunch of Euro and American PMC’s. 

    Great to see Tony Jaa kicking the crap out of people again.

  • The Debt Collector

    The Debt Collector

    ★★★½

    It’s hard for me to put my finger on precisely what makes most of Jesse V. Johnson’s DTV B-movies rise above the trash heap. Scott Adkins presence goes a long way to this end. Johnson gives this criminally underrated talent a platform to showcase his comedic timing and effortless charm. Here, it is especially on display through a charismatic partnering with Louis Mandylor. The duo play off each other with genuine chemistry that elevates the meathead action tale to something…

  • Battle of Westerplatte

    Battle of Westerplatte

    ★★½

    An attempt to reconcile with Poland’s rapid capitulation during the opening salvos of WW2. The implication here is that the bravery and willingness to resist the German advance by Polish soldiers was hampered by a policy of planned surrender by the highest authorities. Though there are some flashes of dramatic interest, soldiers and officers descending into madness as their desperate holdout gradually appears more and more meaningless, it’s pretty standard Euro propaganda. In this case the goal is acquitting Poland’s…

  • Don't Breathe 2

    Don't Breathe 2

    ★★★

    More Stephen Lang plz