Tuesday, 18 March 2008
DIRECT ACTION (2004)
Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
Screenplay: Greg Mellot
Starring: Dolph Lundgren & Polly Shannon
A perfunctory but fun Dolph Lundgren vehicle, Direct Action goes back to basics and sees the one time Rocky opponent delivering a fun, straight forward action ride. You’ve seen the story, characters, relationships and double crosses a million times before as Lundgren’s no nonsense cop, Frank Gannon, refuses to join his corrupt department in some nefarious goings on. Joined by an enthusiastic rookie partner, Ross (Polly Shannon), Gannon goes on the run and has 24 hours to shut down the cops before they shut down him. A Multitude of shoot-outs and punch ups ensue.
Even in action movie terms, Direct Action’s plot is hardly groundbreaking. What saves it from becoming another case of ho-hum action cliché’s is Sidney J. Furie’s energetic direction, Dolph’s seemingly never fading charisma and a very enthsiastic performance from Polly Shannon, who proves female sidekicks can handle heavy artillery just as well as the boys. Her character is feisty, smart and a dab hand with an automatic machine gun in the action scenes. She brings a bit of spice to the predictable proceedings and a few laughs in some well played moments of slapstick. Despite having played this role a million times, Lundgren is still laid back cool and even gets a great gag of his own when his gun is kicked out of his hand. His reaction is priceless. Furie, also no stranger to these kind of films, directs with precision and while Direct Action isn’t as slick as some of his other action flicks (The Rage, Hollow Point), it’s still well made and decently acted for what it is. Just ignore the fact that the police captain is dressed like a drug dealer and so obviously corrupt.
The action comes pretty thick and fast and while none of it is huge in scale, it’s often punchy and fun to watch. The fights scenes are well handled, Lundgren still in great shape and able to kick butt, and there is a fair use of firepower. A gun battle on a beach and another in a parking lot are well crafted and even get the adrenaline running a little with mucho ammunition being spent. Again, it’s good to see the sidekick/female handling the firepower as well as the blokes. Fun stuff, which shows Lundgren is still turning out entertaining action films even if they are far from original.