Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Final Round


Directed by: George Erschbamer
Written by: Arne Olsen
Starring: Lorenzo Lamas, Kathleen Kinmont, Clark Johnson & Anthony De Longis

Blatant low budget rip-off of The Running Man, Final Round gets by on Lamas’ likeability, Kinmont’s looks, De Longis’ slimy bad guy and a pace that’s keeps everything moving fast meaning we get just about 75 minutes of B-movie action entertainment.

De Longis is the evil Delgado (what’s with all the De’s??!!) who was once the right hand man to the also evil Munro (Stephen Mendel) but has now branched out as a crime kingpin in his own right. And his evil specialty? Organising a Running Man/Hard Target/Most Dangerous Game style event where rich bastards place large bets on humans being hunted by “skilled” hunters. Thrown into the gauntlet (an abandoned industrial estate encased by an electrical fence!) is motorcycle loving, non-shirt wearing and all round kickboxing badass Lorenzo Lamas. He’s been scouted (it seems breaking up one bar fight and not wearing a shirt are all the requirements one needs to be thrown into the game!), drugged and kidnapped and now must fight for his life. Along for the ride is his busty date Kinmont and some other random dude (Johnson), whose only function is to have some banter with our hero and prove inept at every fight he gets himself into. At least Lamas can kick ass and he does so in this by the number action cheapie.

Lamas has made better action vehicles than this (Bounty Tracker, Viper) and the limited budget is really stretched to breaking point (the unconvincing inescapable hunting arena: they could have knocked that fence over no problem!) but if you can forgive its shortcoming’s (the naff infra-red eye patches the hunters wear: they don’t even look cool!), Final Round is passable early 90s B-movie action. We get Lamas being cool and a badass (despite wearing quite possibly the worst action movie outfit ever: stonewashed denim dungarees! Nothing says hero like stonewashed denim dungarees, especially when you’re rocking one strap undone!!), Kinmont is lovely on the eye (though is disappointingly relegated to the screaming damsel in distress: not cool, this lady can kick ass. Check out CIA Alexa 1 & 2 for proof), Johnson (who would go on to helm big budget action pictures S.W.A.T and The Sentinel) is fun as the forever-crap-at-fighting sidekick and De Longis is perhaps the best of all of them as the evil Delgado. He even gets to put his bull whip expertise to use in the final fight. Cool.

This brings us to the action. There is certainly plenty of fights as Lamas takes on various bad guys (including kickboxing champ Ian Jacklin) but between the lack of threat from the bad guys (many of them looking a little over-the-hill rather than like deadly hunters) and the less than dynamic choreography, means the fights lack punch. Still, there are a few nasty kills (including a particularly horrible hook-to-the-face moment!) and as mentioned, Final Round doesn't outstay its welcome with its barely 75 minute run time.

Cheap, not always cheerful and with a decent amount of action Final Round is a watchable Lamas flick. 

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