Wednesday, 19 August 2009

City of Fear



CITY OF FEAR (2001)

Directed by: Mark Roper
Screenplay by: David Welbeck
Starring: Gary Daniels, Carol Campbell and Meglena Karalambova

City of Fear is an entertaining little thriller that could have been better with a bigger budget and faster pacing. Gary Daniels is reporter Steve Roberts, who is asked to go to the city of Sofia (the city of fear) in Bulgaria to do a story on his best mate Charlie’s medical research. Upon arriving he soon discovers Charlie is dead, and wanting to investigate his childhood buddy’s death, Roberts finds himself up to his neck in corrupt cops, mafia goons, suspicious showgirls and deadly drugs.

City of Fear
is a decent attempt at a low budget thriller. The characters are given time to flesh out and director Mark Roper (Queens Messenger) manages to bring a little polish to proceedings considering the obviously tight budget. However, things fall apart somewhat due to slow pacing and a couple of poorly staged action sequences. The first half drags as Roberts investigates his friend’s death with the supporting actors not being up to par to create the tension needed. The budget limitations show in a shoddy warehouse shootout and a very unconvincing car chase.

However, things are buoyed by a solid performance from lead, Gary Daniels, and a series of short but sweet fight sequences. Daniels gets to stretch his acting chops carrying the movie, proving he is more than just a kung fu kicking machine. He still gets to show off his martial art skills in some energetic fight scenes, the best being a scrap with two security guards.

Nothing groundbreaking and die hard martial arts fans may be left disappointed but City of Fear is a decent attempt at Daniels trying something different and an enjoyable thriller if you can get past its weaknesses.

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