Friday, 9 November 2007
Back in Action
BACK IN ACTION (1994)
Directed by: Paul Ziller and Steve DiMarco
Screenplay by: Karl Shiffman
Starring: Billy Blanks, Roddy Piper and Bobbie Philips.
Former soldier and now cab driver, Billy (Blanks) finds his sister mixed up with a bunch of dangerous gangsters. Attempting to lure her away from the gangster’s dubious lifestyle, Billy gets caught up in a deal gone wrong. The deal is raided by tough cop Rossi (Piper) whose partner is killed in the subsequent gunfire. Out for revenge, Rossi eventually crosses paths with Billy who is turn after the gangsters who have now kidnapped his sister. The two team up, along with an intrepid reporter (Philips), to take down the gangster establishment.
The plot matters little in what is essentially a no hold barred avalanche of action showcasing the fighting talents of Blanks and Piper. This is a B-movie with a backbone: a backbone that is continually broken, bruised and blown up. Blanks (Showdown) is a gifted fighter and gets to cut loose in scene after scene of martial arts action. His scene taking on a group of dudes in a garage is particularly memorable as he hops from car to car. Pro wrestler, Piper (They Live), is no slouch either, displaying some of his signature moves in a series of brutal confrontations. While the action is the main driving force, the success of a movie like Back in Action relies also on the chemistry between the two leads. Luckily, Blanks and Piper have a great rapor much as they did in their earlier film together, Tough & Deadly.
Back in Action is as about slick as B-movie action flicks come. There is decent support from the lovely Bobbie Philips (TC 2000) and Kari Sarmekum as Blanks’ sister. The bad guys are thankfully not as over-the-top as one would expect (it seems to be derigour to have pantomime villains in action films), instead coming across as quite vicious. Production values are above par and the action and stunt work is of a very impressive standard. Lensed in Ontario, Back in Action must have employed almost the entire Canadian stunt community to pull off the vast amount of action sequences. The film is jam-packed with fights, gunplay, explosions and several car chases. Make no mistake; Back in Action is a fun movie but an extremely violent one. The body count is high but the action is of a strictly comic book style. In fact, it is the comic book energy and fast action that makes Back in Action so appealing.
On par with any of Arnie or Sly’s action hits, Back in Action is a fast and furious ride. Piper and Blanks were a mini action dream team, blazing onto the video store shelf with two of the best B-movie action flicks of the 90s. It’s a shame they don’t movies like this anymore.