Wednesday, 18 February 2009


PAYBACK (1989)

Directed by: Russell Solberg
Screenplay: Corey Michael Eubanks
Starring: Corey Michael Eubanks, Don Swayze & Michael Ironside

Payback (not to be confused with the slick Mel Gibson remake of Point Blank) is about as meat and potatoes as action flicks get. Playing almost like a 1950s rebel B-movie about small towns, dudes, girls and escaped convicts, Payback is cheap and cheerful stuff. Renowned stunt man Eubanks stars (and does almost everything else as well) as an escaped convict setting up shop in a new town. The townies don’t take too kindly to him moving in on the local hottie and his past soon catches up with him meaning he has to square off to ridiculously pony-tailed Don (brother of Patrick) Swayze. Bad acting, fist fights and some impressively staged stunts ensue with the denim wearing Eubanks setting everyone in order.

Eubanks and director Russell Solberg have worked as stunt men and coordinators on all manner of action films (MI: 2, Die Hard 4) and this was their first attempt at making their own film. Surprisingly it’s not quite as packed with action as one would expect, most of the stunts and gunfire book ending the movie. Instead it’s a cheesy, ho-hum drama as Eubanks’ drifter/convict send ripples through small town America. It’s laughable as it takes itself way too seriously and is hampered by an excess of 80s cheese and styling. Still, if you like this kind of thing (and I kinda do) it’s entertaining, well shot and the great Michael Ironside (Total Recall) pops up as the local sheriff in a rare good guy part. Don Swayze is also all kinds of silly fun as the slimy drug dealer.

The escape that opens the film is well staged with trucks and buses flipping and exploding left right and centre and the final showdown is typical but satisfying stuff as a bunch of bad guys shoot randomly and excessively at the good guys. As said, meat and potatoes stuff that no doubt clogs up late night cable channels now. Eubanks, Solberg and most of the cast also returned for Forced to Kill a film almost exactly the same and featuring just as many cool car stunts and punch ups


FILMNUT1 said...

Have been trying desperately to get a copy of this movie. Is there anywhere that you know of where I can get it?

drive2 said...

picked my copy up in a charity store. it's an old vhs. will sell it to you for a reasonable price if you are interested?