Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Film Review: Close Range (2015)

Close Range (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"You're not going to watch Close Range for the plot, though. You're going to watch it for the action."

When he rescues his niece with brute force, Colton MacReady (Scott Adkins) finds himself fighting a corrupt sheriff and a vicious drug cartel...

Close Range begins with a great action sequence. Colton enters a building, pummels the cartel members in his path, then rescues his niece. Along the way, he also inadvertently steals a USB drive with valuable information. So, the leader of the cartel contacts Sheriff Calloway (Nick Chinlund) and orders him to apprehend Colton and his family. This sets off a chain of violent events where Colton beats up on some more bad guys. I mean, that's really the entire plot of the film. Some cheesy dialogue to fill some expositional conversation, an awesome fight, some more cheese, another fight... You get the gist. It's a repetitive formula, but at least half of it offers some real entertainment. It leads to an predictable ending – it was a bit cheesy, too.

Close Range is a good b-movie. I suppose that's the best way to explain it – and compliment it. When it comes to story, this sounds like it was written in thirty minutes on a roll of toilet paper after Indian food. It's incredibly cheesy, silly, and even a bit disjointed. It feels like the writer lost some sheets of his original toilet paper screenplay, so he just plugged it with more nonsense. Okay, enough of that. I will admit, it got me smile and laugh a few times. It wasn't intentional, but it brought a smile to my face. You're not going to watch Close Range for the plot, though. You're going to watch it for the action. Fortunately, the action scenes are splendid. Scott Adkins is fast and nimble, striking and rolling with great agility. There's a nice balance of chase scenes, shootouts, and fist fights – the latter is the most satisfying. The action works out very well for the film.

The acting is mostly bad. I don't blame most of the cast, though. Yes, some performances were not good, but I think the dialogue was the bigger culprit here. These actors sound very stiff because of the words they are saying – it's just so unnatural. Much like Jason Statham, Scott Adkins does what he does best and plays it safe in his role as... Scott Adkins. He may not be the best actor, but he's more than serviceable and I can watch Adkins pummel bad guys all day. The cinematography was mediocre and the music was discordant. The music was especially repetitive and ill-fitted. The film was written by Shane Dax Taylor and Chad Law. (I think my theory still holds.) The film is directed by Isaac Florentine, who also directed Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear and Undisputed 3. I've bashed the writing enough. The direction was solid, though, especially the action direction. Florentine knows how to craft some great action sequences.

Overall, Close Range is a decent film. This isn't a film you'll be watching for its story – it's just not very good. However, for fans of Scott Adkins and martial arts movies, this film offers a few great action sequences. Should you run out and buy it? Probably not. You should, however, rent it or stream it. You might find yourself with a decent time killer.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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