Bangkok Adrenaline: four backpackers lose a card game and now own local gangsters 1 million baht – so they kidnap an heiress and everything kicks off. It looks like (and is) a mid-low budget film, but that gives it a cheesy-charming and admirable vibe; it also makes light of many B-movie action tropes, which is a good touch of humour. Filmed in Thailand and only 80 minutes long, the budget goes a long, long way here. it’s very ‘laddish’ – opening 10 minutes are identical to Lock, Stock – and it’s end-to-end packed with machismo / babes / fighting / gambling / cars /guns and even has a slow-mo walking scene! The story’s pretty simple but the action is an absolute roundhouse kick-o-rama; this is how everyone should choreograph, film and edit action set pieces! There’s about 5 jaw-dropping fight/chase scenes, and the final 20 minutes, all worth picking this up for alone – and all done to a higher standard that most Hollywood films. This won’t be for everyone, for fans on Tony Jaa / District 13 style films it’s a must-see action flick that delivers he goods.
Newsmakers: When Moscow police are left looking weak a hot-shot PR chick turns their next operation in to a media circus live feed news event. The synopsis sounded familiar, but about 5 minutes in I knew I’d definitely seen this before… What starts off with homage feel to Breaking News soon digresses into a scene for scene re-make that doesn’t shake off the lethargic pacing, bizarre minor characters or sushi lunch of the original – although it does leave out the farting! Being Russian, the subtitles are beyond dubious – favourite line was “what the devil are they doing” – also, this is supposed to be about cutting edge technology but still uses classic rhetoric like “Virtual hyperspace“, “multimedia technology” and “information war” – GROAN!! The action however is still pretty sweet, particularly the opening quality gunfight and car-flipping chase scene. Bottom line; Newsmakers isn’t a bad stand-alone film, but when you’ve seen the original it’s a needless carbon copy with less style and flare, poorer direction, and additional to say. Made me feel like I’d been a bit too harsh on the original – which I’d probably bump up a full mark now.