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The SmarK DVD Rant for Recoil

“Kill ‘em all!”



Yeah, that’s the kind of movie you’re getting into here. Thrown back to the 80s and proud of it. See, apparently Steve Austin has made a lot of movies since retiring from wrestling in 2003, although almost none of them have made it to the theaters outside of The Condemned and his supporting role in The Expendables. I’m sure he’s OK with that given the piles of money he made from t-shirts in his career, but maybe someday he’ll find the breakout role that translates his wrestling persona into a big movie star persona. This probably isn’t it.

The Film

Released by E-One Entertainment

Directed by Terry Miles

Starring Steve Austin and Danny Trejo

Steve Austin is Ryan Varrett, a former police officer who rolls into the small town of Hope (yeah, I know…) in his classic Mustang, looking for revenge and not much else. Thankfully it’s not a role that requires much in the way of in-depth dialogue (Sample: “You killed his brother, right?” “Well, technically, the explosion killed him.”), which is kind of strange for a guy who used to give 20 minute monologues in the ring every week on RAW in between beatdowns. So you see, Hope is a town with only a sheriff (on the take, of course) and a biker gang standing between it and anarchy, and naturally the biker gang is run by DANNY TREJO. Because who else do you call, right? The biker gang are very bad people, which you know because they have an Octagon set up in their hideout for settling scores and UFC fighter Keith Jardine is one of the underlings.

The plot, which I’m sure you can recite beat-for-beat, sees Ryan progress up the ranks of the biker gang, looking for revenge because they…well, I’m sure you can guess what happened to him to make him an embittered loner, unless you’ve never seen a movie in the past 30 years. And just like in every other movie of the genre from 1985, he takes out the series of henchmen in increasingly stylish manner, walks away from giant explosions in slow motion, and gets to witness the comic relief sidekick brutally murdered just to Make Things Personal. The ridiculously hot love interest gets kidnapped, things boil down to a one-on-one fight in a conveniently set up Octagon of heroin, and of course never trust that the bad guy is dead because he might just pop up and try to settle the score one last time.

We’ve all seen this before countless times, from Commando to The Boondock Saints most recently, and if I’m sounding down on the whole thing that’s not my intention. I had a good time for 90 minutes and Steve Austin was suitably badass, but really this was a cheaply made Canadian action movie and didn’t aspire to be anything more than another starring vehicle for Steve Austin. I’m OK with that. I like Austin, I like Trejo, I know what I’m getting into with these sort of things and it’s not a movie that insults my intelligence by throwing needless twists and turns at me or attempting to be something it’s not. Some stuff blows up reasonably good, there’s slow motion fight scenes where needed, and it’s all competently made and efficiently delivered. It’s not gonna rock your world, but it’s probably gonna be cheap to pick up, and it’s worth checking out. Not exactly glowing praise, I know, but these sort of movies are aimed at a specific audience and I’m a member of that audience.

Mildly recommended.

Audio & Video

I got this one on Blu-Ray, and it looks nice for a low-level release. Everything is clean and watchable, although details are a bit murky at times. Probably more to do with the original source than the transfer. The DTS audio is pretty impressive at times, especially in the low end. When Steve Austin is putting the hurt on the bad guys, each punch (or gunshot, or barehanded crushing of the throat as the case may be) is generally punctuated by a WOOF in the sub. It’s a nice touch. Surrounds aren’t really in play because everything is happening in the center so it’s really a glorified stereo mix, but dialogue was clear and the gunshots were crisp and defined, so it does the job.

Bonus Features

Well, you get a copy of the DVD, so there’s that. As for the actual features, there’s a 7 minute fluff piece on the making of the movie, plus 5 minutes of deleted scenes, and a trailer. It is what it is.

The Pulse

I would definitely call this one worth a rental or worth a buy if you find it under $10 and love cheesy “Badass out for revenge” action movies that hearken back to a simpler time. I really think someone should put Steve Austin and The Rock together in one of these sorts of movies, though.