Monday, 26 March 2012
House of the Rising Sun
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (2011)
Directed by: Bryan A. Miller
Screenplay: Chuck Hustmyre & Brian A. Miller
Starring: Dave Bautista, Amy Smart, Dominic Purcell, Craig Fairbrass, Danny Trejo
Man Mountain wrestler Dave Bautista takes another shot at acting after appearing in Wrong Side of Town, playing the lead in this would be gritty thriller. Bautista plays Ray a former dirty cop, now out of prison and attempting clean living by heading up security at a local crime boss’ bar/strip club. Now, that’s maybe not exactly clean living but he is trying to go straight and it’s about the only place that would hire him considering his crime-strewn background. Making for an imposing figure, Ray tries to run a tight ship but is caught off guard one night and the place is robbed ending with the death of said crime boss’ son. Caught between pushy cops who want to put Ray back in prison (seems they haven’t forgotten what a dirty cop he was) and the crime boss itching to blame Ray for his son’s death, Ray has no choice but to find the killers himself and clear his name.
For most of its running time, House of the Rising Sun (referring to the club where Ray works) is a pretty decent little flick with a fair few knuckle dusting fights and the odd outburst of gunfire and revenge dispensing action. While not a straight up action film, the flick seems to be striving for a more gritty and serious tale of a once bad man-trying to put his wrongs right. It can’t always escape its B-movie trappings but with some nice photography, location work and most of the principals turning in decent performances the film, despite the tired formula, is a fairly entertaining 80 minutes or so of head busting thrills. Ok, thrills may not be the right word to use to describe the film as proceedings do take a somewhat laid back approach and a good bit of tension and momentum could have helped make the narrative move more. Bautista is pretty good in the lead role, very watchable and is certainly imposing as the man out to find who is setting him up. Likewise, Dominic Purcell (Prison Break, Blood Creek) makes for a fun bad guy (who is obviously behind everything from the get go!) and comes across as a complete douche who would just as soon as shoot you in the face as look at you. Amy Smart and Craig Fairbrass offer decent support (though it would have been nice if Fairbrass had had a bit more screen time) and Danny (I’m in every freaking movie that is made these days!) Trejo makes his obligatory cameo.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of action save for a few fistfights here and there and a couple of shootouts peppered through out. Could have done with a couple more of these or the action scenes featured could have at least been a little more sustained. Plus, the makers insist on playing iffy rock songs over many scenes of action robbing what is happening on screen of any tension. The flick is perhaps not always as gritty as it thinks it is but for the most part this is a nicely played and filmed tale of a tough guy going up against the gangsters that set him up. It’s certainly better than Wrong Side of Town (be nice to see Bautista in more action roles) and a step up for director Bryan A. Miller from his previous effort, Caught in the Crossfire. Some may be disappointed that this isn’t quite the action fest the DVD covers suggests but House of the Rising Sun is still a decent little thriller.