DVD Review - Close Range

This is sheer, old-school masculinity on display. It's an action flick in the vein of those films of the 1980's and 90's. There's martial arts and gun-fights. Its protagonist could be played by Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris or Jean-Claude Van Damme. It's for those who want to see a muscle-bound male kill a bunch of bad guys, often with his bare hands but occasionally with weapons like tiny knives and various guns. It's also for those who want to see a bunch of character-less Mexicans die one by one at the hands of a white savior, so it's a movie that Donald Trump or his ilk would like.

Scott Adkins stars as Colton MacReady, a guy whose back-story is inconsequential but it's one that prepares him to be the aforementioned, muscle-bound male who kills bad guys, often with his bare hands but occasionally with weapons. Colton's sister, Angie, played by Caitlin Keats, calls and asks him to rescue her daughter and his niece, Hailey, played by Madison Lawlor. A Mexican cartel has kidnapped Hailey and Colton has to get her back by killing all the Mexicans, and eventually one white guy.

This is an introduction to Scott Adkins for me. He's a 39-year-old, action star who is a trained, martial artist. He's from England but he got his start in Hong Kong cinema. He got work in British TV, but his first lead role was in the direct-to-video feature Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing (2006), which was directed by Isaac Florentine who is also the director of this current movie.

Adkins had a small role in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), as well as parts in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012). Yet, his most high-profile role would probably be in The Legend of Hercules (2014). He got to flex his acting muscle in that film, whereas in The Expendables 2 (2012) or in this movie, he just or mainly flexes his biceps and triceps. He runs and punches, and that's basically it.

Florentine tries to make it about this ruthless, Mexican cartel called the Bulletproof Cartel, or El antibalas. The leader of the cartel is Señor Fernando Garcia, played by Tony Perez. They give him a MacGuffin to chase and a dead family member to avenge, but it all ends with Fernando as a stereotypical bad guy, no depth or significance.

Florentine even runs through nearly a dozen Mexican guys and bothers to show us their names, but that's it. It's nice that Florentine gives these Mexican guys names. Yet, he still leaves them as cannon fodder, or as Puttys for the Power Ranger that is Colton to pick off.

Nick Chinlund co-stars as Jasper Calloway, the Arizona sheriff who is corrupt and secretly working with the cartel. He corners Colton at his sister's farm where a standoff takes place. Jasper brings with him two deputies. Given how they're dispatched, normally they wouldn't be worth mentioning, but one of the deputies is Logan, played by Scott Evans.

Scott Evans is the younger brother of Chris Evans who famously plays Captain America in the Marvel Studios films. However, Scott Evans made a name for himself in television. He became a sexy and heroic, soap stud and then guest starred in a bunch of successful, prime-time shows like Law & Order where he played bad guys. This opportunity provided him a chance to play a more complex character, a deputy who takes orders from a corrupt sheriff. Having to reconcile that could have been interesting, but the movie doesn't really do much with him, which is a waste.

Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but contains language and violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 25 mins.


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