Starring Scott Adkins, Nick Chinlund, Tony Perez, Caitlin Keats, Madison Lawlor, Robert Dill, Dennis Ruel, Jimmy Chhiu
Fight Choreography by Jeremy Marinas
Directed by Isaac Florentine
Scott Adkins has to be one of the best martial arts actors in the last 10-20 years to NOT get a real shot at an A-list film. And no, The Expendables doesn’t count. So many of us like-minded folks have been waiting for Scott to get a Steven Seagal/JCVD film with those budgets and worldwide releases, but alas it may never be, simply due to entertainment today. I’ve come to grips with this, and will enjoy the hell out of whatever he puts out, particularly if Isaac Florentine is behind the camera. More than most directors at his level, he truly understands what martial arts should look like onscreen. While many of us are waiting with baited breath for Undisputed 4: Boyka Kicks More Ass* Florentine and Adkins bring us a modern day man-with-no-name western: Close Range.
Scott Adkins plays Colt Macready, an ex-soldier who is on the run for criminal acts committed while on a mission he didn’t agree with. Now a mercenary, the film opens where many films end, with Colt saving his sister’s daughter from an Mexican drug cartel, and killing a lot of men in the process, but in doing so takes something far more valuable to drug lord Fernando Garcia (Perez). Colt takes his niece back to her mother but their victory is short lived as the local law enforcement led by Sheriff Calloway, who is in the pocket of Garcia, tries to arrest Colt, and it is there that all hell breaks loose as Colt must avoid the police and Garcia and his men, who arrive to end Colt and his family once and for all…
The story here is pretty basic, but very cool in the way the film begins. It does have a western feel to it, and Florentine stretches his directing muscles a bit, with camera angles and a style that does—in a small way— evoke westerns of old. Adkins is okay here, but I had a hard time liking his character, nor that of his family. I wish the film had stopped to expand the characters through their actions. So much of their characters are told in exposition, it was hard to really get into them. The look of the film is spot on, and should be as they didn’t use much of the budget for locations, as the majority of the film takes place on his family’s ranch.
The fights are damn good here, featuring some of Adkins’ best, especially his fight with Reina (Dill) and his end fight with Jimmy Chhiu, which gets to showcase some rare knife fighting from Adkins and some really fast-paced fighting, which are all choreographed expertly by Marinas. I was always looking forward to the next fight, and was never bored as the dynamics of each fight change. Groundbreaking? No, but very, very entertaining to watch.
I would not mind seeing Colt Macready in a sequel film!
Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8
A solid actioner that further cements Adkins as one of today’s best martial arts action stars!
*not the real title. But C’mon!