Catching up on some recent action releases I’ll start with Battle for Skyark. The film is the classic “Great Concept, Terrible Film” in the sci-fi genre. In a post-apocalyptic world, the poor live in terrible conditions on Earth while the rich live in Skyark away from the monsters and devastation. A Skyark boy is sent to Earth where the young kids think he is their savior because of the number of marks on his arm. He helps the rebel kids try to fight the monsters and get rescued to Skyark. You don’t see too many films where kids are the rebels/heroes so I liked that. Young kids too, not like Luke Skywalker aged, much younger. Unfortunately they found some of the worst child actors in the world. I’m not trying to be mean, but the kids weren’t very good including the older ones. It could have been a kid version of Elysium, but the acting is just so bad you really don’t care if they get passed the monsters and to safety. There isn’t a lot of backstory either, you just get thrown into the fray, have a little story dispersed throughout, but for the most part you just have to believe what’s going on. I liked the idea of the film, didn’t like the film whatsoever.
Next we have Close Range. Scott Adkins is one of the kings of Straight-to-Video action movies and that’s not necessarily a slight. Sure there’s nothing original or all that interesting about this one, but Adkins does his thing and the fighting isn’t bad. It’s your standard drug cartel and dirty cops type story, but do you really watch a Scott Adkins film for a story? Not really. It’s over the top violent and has some balls to the walls scenes, so if you like that, watch it. If you have no idea who Scott Adkins is, well this isn’t for you. I call this a “It is what it is” film and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t mind them, they give me a break from other films and I like seeing legs get broken and people exploding. Watch the trailer and decide for yourself. It’s an 85 minute break from life with lots of guns and violence.
Third we have Memories of the Sword. I watch a lot of Asian cinema so unfortunately this was just another Asian period piece to me. It has some great action sequences, even better cinematography and great wardrobe/costuming, but there is nothing special/unique about this one. Even with Byung-hun Lee who I really like, the film just doesn’t get beyond being another revenge film. There are a lot more positives than negatives, but I watch at least one Asian film a week so this one just compares to all the others out there.
Fourth we have Mercury Plains starring Scott Eastwood. Scott will never be confused for his dad Clint acting wise, but he’s not bad in this. He’s not given a whole lot of dialogue so maybe that helps. Just like the Scott Adkins film, this one is also pretty generic and by the book. Eastwood joins a paramilitary group in Mexico, but soon finds out they may not be on the up and up. There’s lots of guns and drugs like you expect in a cartel type film. Plus he takes his shirt off whenever he gets the change. Once they accidentally explode a car, you can figure out where the film is heading. It’s your standard action film, but if you want to check out Scott Eastwood, it’s good enough I guess.
Last we have The Guardsman. Like previously stated, I watch a lot of Asian cinema and this fits right into what I usually watch. The Emperor sets out to see what is wrong with his country and his enemies, along with pirates, try to assassinate him. His loyal followers must protect him. It feels like a lot of other movies out there (Assassination comes to mind), but the action is pretty solid and the direction is cool. It’s another period piece with great costuming and backdrops, but this one was easy to follow and understand. I seemed to have liked it more than other reviews I’ve seen, but I just thought it was pretty cool. It’s not great or anything, but it fits what I want, cool fighting and sword play, great sets and design, stylistic wardrobe and more. I thought it was a pretty solid flick.