Thursday, 27 October 2011
WAR WOLVES (2009)
Written & Directed by: Michael Worth
Starring: John Saxon, Tim Thomerson, Adrienne Barbeau, Michael Worth, Natasha Alam, Siri Baruc, Daniel Southworth
A squad of Special Ops soldiers (Worth, Southworth and a trio of beauties) return from battle in Afghanistan forever changed. Not only mentally scarred they have been physically altered. During a firefight they were attacked by a ferocious pack of werewolves and infected with the wolf virus. Six months later, back in the US and a little more than shell shocked, Jake (Worth) is trying to come to terms with what happened and the changes taking place within him. Unbeknownst to him, he is being tracked by two veteran soldiers (Saxon and Thomerson) who know what happened to him and what virus he carries. At the same time the rest of his squad are turning into beast fast and getting a taste for killing and also hunting down Jake for what will be the ultimate battle between man and beast.
War Wolves sure is an oddity from filmmaker and kung fu whiz Michael Worth. Definitely a B-movie but striving for more in the character department, War Wolves takes its barmy premise and spins a yarn, that while flawed and occasionally plodding, is an interesting piece that admirably tries to combine drama, action and werewolves to create something a little different. Worth (who has been in some cool action and fight films: Street Crimes, US Seals 2) takes this distinctive premise and a minuscule budget and has made a decent genre film that is a little unique, offbeat and, occasionally, action packed. There is perhaps too much going on (former soldiers feeling out of place in the everyday world, alcoholism and at one point a minor subplot about a pregnant woman and her abusive boyfriend) for what is essentially a flick about werewolf soldiers but Worth at least tries, and mostly succeeds in, infusing this little flick with some character. As the grizzled, and possibly too long in the tooth, geezers tracking down Worth and his crew, Saxon and Thomerson are on fine form both dramatically and comedically. It’s nice to see the older and wiser gents getting a good share of the screen time rather than yet another pair of generic, hip, know-it-all youngsters. Thomerson cracks wise as well and is a hoot.
The budget is certainly low (and once you see the make up effects of the transformed werewolves, you’ll see how low) and the tone wanders all over the joint (from horror, to drama, to comedy, back to horror, to martial arts) you may at some point wander what kind of film you are watching. However, War Wolves manages to hang together and provide just enough character, horror and action to make it an entertaining ride. Not as action packed as you might expect a B-movie about werewolf soldiers to be Worth and (the ever underrated and underused) Daniel Southworth get to cut loose in a couple of wickedly choreographed kung fu werewolf fights (yep, you read that right!).
If there had just been a few more of those wicked fights scenes and the pace and tone tightened up War Wolves could have been a much more fun and faster B-movie but with its unique approach to character, this is still a fun genre flick from the ever talented and watchable Michael Worth. Plus any film that also finds time for genre favourites Adrienne Barbeau and Martin Kove and also manages to name drop Lance Henriksen in one particularly cool moment of movie referencing, is all right by this B-movie action fan.