Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No One Is Safe

Pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin takes above-the-title billing in 2011's RECOIL, a meat-and-potatoes action flick that plays like a Brian Bosworth picture of the 1990s. Filmed in Canada on a low budget, RECOIL eschews big setpieces and visual effects in favor of old-fashioned punch-ups.

As former Dallas cop Ryan Varrett, Austin invades the small Washington town of Hope(less) looking for a rapist and killer named Rex Salgado (Noel Gugliemi). After checking in at the local fleabag owned by weary-beyond-her-years widow Darcy (Serinda Swan), Varrett kills Rex in an explosion, which puts the ex-lawman at odds with Rex’s biker gang, the leader of which is Rex’s badass brother Drayke (Danny Trejo, who brings extra depth to his heavy), who also runs Hope. Turns out Ryan has been cruising the country, taking out bad guys who escaped punishment in the courts. On his tail is FBI agent Sutton (Locklyn Munro), whose goal is taking down the vigilante.

RECOIL hasn’t an original bone in its body—the coroner eats a sandwich in the morgue, Austin walks away from an explosion in slow motion, the self-loathing sheriff is on Drayke’s payroll—but it isn’t bad either. Outside of Austin, who is wooden and dull, the performances are decent, particularly Adam Greydon Reid as an unlikely looking deputy who wants to do the right thing and Patrick Gilmore as a nice-guy gas pump jockey. Swan, a good-looking brunette, isn’t quite “tough chick” material, though she’s generally appealing and believable. Terry Miles’ directorial skills are uneven, but he generally knows where to put the camera and doesn’t spoil the action scenes with an overuse of CGI.

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