Another day, another VOD screener. Today we’re taking a look at an upcoming Scott Adkins feature in ‘Close Range’. To be honest – and honesty is always the best policy – I haven’t been a fan of Adkins’ last few movies. Two other recent movies of his I could not get into at all, Re Kill and Zero Tolerance. These are poor movies that can’t be recommended simply because Adkins is in them. This one though, where he re-teams with Isaac Florentine, is fairly solid for a low key VOD release. I think we can all agree that VOD movies across the entire spectrum are taking a turn for the worst, but this one, although terribly written, has some good workmanship in it. It’ll also have a theater release on December 11th, so keep an eye out.
It’s probably best that you don’t pay too much heed to the story of this movie. We have a very basic action foundation here. Jake La Botz (we all like this guy, remember him in Rambo IV?) plays Walt Reynolds, a deadbeat father who has gotten himself into financial trouble with the Cartel. As a result of not paying what he owes, they kidnap his daughter. Scott Adkins plays Colton MacReady, the girl’s uncle. He shows up and basically says the shit ain’t gonna stand. And for our intro sequence he leads a one man assault on the Cartel compound where the girl is held, stabbing and maiming (“there’s a fucking gringo up there killing everyone!”) his way to her rescue.
Afterwards the Cartel give chase to Adkins at the family ranch, where the girl has been safely returned to. It’s hunting season, as they try to terminate the man with the aid of corrupt Sheriff Nick Chinlund (fuckin’ love that guy, reminds me on the great Marty Kove), but as expected they find their men beating beaten to death and shot to pieces.
It’s cliché city of course, I mean the dreaded disc with incriminating evidence shows up, a bail out sign if ever there is one. But crucially the movie is aware of its limitations and instead feeds its viewers relentless action, checking in with some ‘story’ now and again over the course of its short 85 minutes. The fighting and action remind me of John Hyams’ crude, cheap but brutally effective Universal Soldier movies. I mean, the cameras are steady and you see professionals like Adkins and his stuntmen apply their craft with moves that would leave normal actors severely injured if they didn’t know what they were doing.
Along with Adkins’ usual stellar performance (there’s nothing worse than certain other actors who show up in small movies with obvious contempt in their demeanour for the whole thing), the final shoot out at the house, with its great line-of-sight, steady, camera work, leaves me wanting to bump this from a six to a seven.