Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Diamond Dogs


Directed by: Shimon Dotan
Screenplay: Leo St. Pierre
Starring: Dolph Lundgren & Yu Nan

After the excellent triple whammy of The Defender, The Mechanik and Missionary Man, Dolph Lundgren’s latest takes a slight step backwards. By no means a disaster, Diamond Dogs is intermittently entertaining but lacks focus and action. Lundgren has been reinventing his action status by taking up directing as well as starring and doing a damn fine job of it. The three aforementioned films, all helmed by Lundgren, are excellent action flicks and as good as anything Lundgren did back in his 80s/90s prime. Diamond Dogs sees him just starring (though rumour has it he took up a lot of the directing himself) as a security expert stationed in Outer Mongolia hired to escort a bunch of treasure seekers to find some hidden goodies. Of course, there are some bad guys who want it as well and will kill to get at it.

Lundgren does his best and works with what he is given but aside from him and leading actress Yu Nan (Speed Racer), the acting is stilted, amateurish and often downright embarrassing. Shriver who plays the man who hires Lundgren sure isn’t an actor leading to much cringing every time he opens his mouth. People seem to be just throwing out lines in order to hit their mark rather than infuse them with any emotion or realism. The pace is also too languid, going nowhere fast with what little action there is saved for the final twenty minutes. There was perhaps a good story here but it seems to have been cut down to the bare minimum, meaning nothing really happens and a pit stop to get supplies, weapons and information goes on for what seems like forever taking up a good chunk of the movie.

It’s not all a loss. The setting of Outer Mongolia is certainly novel and visually stunning, captured with impressive photography. There are some cool bare knuckle fights at the beginning which set the grittier tone and show Lundgren can still cut it in the fight arena. The end fight in the finale is also brutally staged but features the killing of a character that seems just utter pointless and will have you sitting there going, “What!?” Especially since Lundgren’s character just lies there and watches it happen when he could have got up and stopped it. Bizarre to say the least and the producers obviously deciding everyone must die except Lundgren. Not a great film or one of Lundgren’s best which is a pity after the excellent progress made with The Defender and Missionary Man. Still he’s back in the director’s chair for one of his next, Command Performance, so hopefully he will be back on track.

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