Monday, 9 June 2014

Evasive Action


Directed by: Jerry P. Jacobs
Screenplay:  Tripp Reed, Sean McGinly & Brian Rudnick
Starring: Dorian Harewood, Roy  Scheider, Delane Matthews, Clint Howard, Don Swayze, Ed O’Ross, Blake Gibbons, Keith Coogan & Ray Wise

This Royal Oaks Entertainment (Crash Dive, Counter Measures, Fugitive Mind) action cheapie is a whole lot of low rent fun mainly due to its impressive cast of one time A-Listers and B-movie action stalwarts.  The ever great Roy (Jaws, The French Connection) Scheider chews the scenery and has fun doing so as a onetime mafia kingpin (!) hell bent on busting out of jail when he and his other prison buddies are transported cross country on a train. Yep, it’s Con Air on a budget as Scheider and his cronies cause trouble and mayhem for out-to-stop-them-local sheriff Ray (Robocop) Wise along with the help all round solid character actor and familiar face Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket, Sudden Death). Shoot-outs, locomotive action and just general outright looniness (mainly courtesy of Clint Howard!) ensue in this rollicking low rent action absurdness.

Actually, proceedings kick off in a rather serious manner as Harewood is framed for the murder of his wife (all shown through some nifty POV shots and dramatic slow motion), is wrongfully sent to prison and just wants to do his time and get out. However, after a prison yard scrap (with Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones no less: this flick certainly packs in the quality B-move cast!) earns him the trust of Scheider, he’s forced to take part in the daring escape whether he wants to or not. However, after several shoout-outs, confrontations and a feisty bar maid tagging along (Matthews), Harewood is forced to take up the hero role and make sure Scheider doesn't complete his escape.

This all leads to much B-movie action craziness (Howard bizarrely only quoting lines from famous films!) and an awesome cast of “Hey, it’s that one guy...!” who buoy this frantic flick making it a lot more fun than it should have been. To be fair the cast are all pretty good (well, Howard seems completely out of place and like he has walked in from another set altogether: but seems to be having a hoot!) with Scheider oozing evil charm, Wise providing good support as the would be hero sheriff and Harewood making for a refreshingly normal and unexpected leading man/action hero.

It’s all pretty well shot, the momentum is kept up nicely and for a Royal Oaks Entertainment production, stock footage (from bigger budget films inserted to pad out the action sequences) is only used for the big crash come the end (it being footage from the Pryor/Wilder flick, Silver Streak). There are a good amount of fist fights and shoot-outs though the flick does have a habit of cutting away from the action just as it’s getting good as presumably they couldn’t afford to show it: see, a bomb going off not being shown and Harewood’s daring jump from a motorcycle onto the moving  train which is, yep, not shown!

Awesome cast make this a solid B-move action quickie which is best enjoyed late at night with a whiskey in your hand: which is exactly how I watched and enjoyed it!

(aka Steel Train). 

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