Thursday, 25 February 2010


RECOIL (1998)

Director and Story
: Art Camacho
Screenplay: Richard Preston Jr
Starring: Gary Daniels, Gregory McKinney, Robin Curtis and Richard Foronjy

is another action juggernaut from the PM Entertainment Group: connoisseurs of the no-frills (read: cheap), pumped-up (read: cheesy), adrenaline fuelled (read: fun ) action movie. Recoil is a car crashing, bone smashing, gun-firing hoot and features some of the best stripped down (read: no CGI) car chases/stunts this side of a Hollywood blockbuster. Starring unsung hero (read: he’s in B-movies), Gary Daniels and a plot so mad (, Recoil is an unpretentious cocktail of action and mayhem that only the most jaded and cynical of viewers could not fail to enjoy.

Detectives Morgan (Daniels) and Cassidy (McKinney) are two cops minding their own business when they are called to a bank robbery in progress. A shoot-out ensues and one of the robbers escapes, with Morgan and the L.A.P.D giving chase. After an exhausting car chase, the runner is killed by Morgan and several of the officers. The dead robber turns out to be the son of underworld crime boss, Vincent Sloan (Foronjy), who sets in motion a vendetta against Morgan and the L.A.P.D. Morgan’s family, partner and fellow cops are all slain, upsetting Morgan, who then sets about evening the score. You can guess the rest from here.

Yes, it’s all pretty familiar (many PM Entertainment films share the same plot) and yes, it’s all very silly, but damn if it isn’t entertaining. The screenplay is nothing more than a framework for massive stunts and sustained gunfights but this works in the film’s favour. The action is its selling point and it’s a point it makes very well. Things kick off with a bang, as the first 20 minutes is a giant shoot-out cum car/motorcycle chase. Things slow down for a bit as the plot (read: ha!) begins to take shape before another car chase livens things up, this time featuring a SUV and a giant truck. A little more downtime follows (with some monks: don’t ask) before yet another car chase explodes across the screen, involving a limousine and a spectacular jump from a bridge by our hero. These three centrepieces are worth watching the film for alone. Stunt co-ordinator Spiro Razatos and director (and fellow stunt co-ordinator) Art Camacho work up the adrenaline ten fold as cars flip (and then flip some more), explode and even split in two. Considering the low budget and the lack of CGI, the stunts achieved really are all the more mind blowing. The opening chase features a spectacular sequence where a car becomes airborne in downtown traffic and takes out a traffic light before crashing down and rolling for about 3 blocks. Razatos is a prolific stunt-man/co-ordinator, having worked on many big action films (Bad Boys 2, Face/Off, Swordfish) and was responsible for many of the stunt sequences in other PM Entertainment films (The Sweeper, Last Man Standing and the almighty Rage). I swear, you could give this guy 10 quid and a clapped out Ford Cortina and he would still manage to pull of an eye-popping car chase.

On top of all the car carnage, there is some thrilling gunplay and even some thumping martial arts. The opening shoot-out (which tips its hat not so subtly to Heat) is well staged, though is dampened somewhat by Daniels’ character walking in slow motion in front of the on-coming gunfire, avoiding being shot (read: bollocks) and managing to take out the gunmen single-handedly, which the rest of the L.A.P.D seemed incapable of doing. Right. However, Daniels does get to shine in the last part of the film. An accomplished martial artist, he gets to cut loose in a series of short but sweet sequences. Unlike many of Daniels’ films (Cold Harvest, Bloodmoon) this is not a martial arts film and those expecting an all out kickathon may be disappointed. The action in Recoil is well balanced with an exciting mix of car chases, gunplay and hand-to-hand combat.

Now to the downside (read: crap parts). The plot is fairly ludicrous and is mainly just a revenge story that’s been seen a million times before. There is the usual tough guy talk (fuck you motherfucker, no fuck you cocksucker), hammy overacting and an ill advised plot development, where our hero spends some time recuperating in a monastery after the slaying of his family and narrowingly escaping death himself. However, the filmmakers should be given credit for at least trying to pace proceedings a little better than is common for this type of film. This is mainly an action movie and is crammed to the gills with it, but the action is paced evenly throughout allowing breathing time between the car pile-ups and explosions. The scenes of Morgan with his family are gentle counterpoints to all the mayhem and never slow the action down.

If you are into action/B-movies with lots of car chases, then Recoil will be right up your car-wreckage-strewn street.

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