So once again we have survived.

Recoil

tn_recoil“You killed him?”
“Technically it was the explosion that killed him.”

In his latest, RECOIL, Steve Austin plays a little bit darker version of his usual screen persona. A little Stone Colder. He’s still an ex-cop who knows how to beat the shit out of people, still a stranger drifting into a small town and getting into trouble with the local criminals, still a scary-looking regular working man with a no bullshit attitude and an inherent sense of decency, but at least at the beginning he’s more of a Terminator than usual. He drives into Hope, WA in his black 1968 Plymouth GTX with 12 score marks burnt into his arm, apparently representing the number of killers and rapists he’s executed in his travels. He’s way ahead of the FBI, who want to put “24 hour surveillance” on a child killer before they figure out Stone Cold already “made abstract art out of him” 2 days ago.

At first he barely talks. When he finds a biker pointing a gun at a dog he beats him unconscious without saying a word. He’s tracked down the hangout of The Circle, the biker gang that controls the town, because one of them is a rapist and killer he wants to kill named Rex (Noel Gugliemi). Luckily Rex is the one sent to deal with him after the dog incident, so he’s easy to find. “I know what you’re thinking,” Rex protests as Stone Cold straps him to the front of a car. “I was acquitted! I swear to God I was!”

mp_recoilTrouble is, Rex’s older brother Drayke is the president of the biker club, and perhaps more relevant to our purposes here he’s played by Danny Trejo. So Stone Cold has to stay in town to do battle with the gang. Usually when Trejo’s on a DVD cover I assume it’s a glorified cameo like in URBAN JUSTICE, but here he actually is the lead villain. They wisely establish him as a threat to Stone Cold by showing his hobby of punishing his subordinates by competing with them in a ramshackle fighting cage. He’s small but he has skills, and badly beats a guy a guy of Stone Cold size. I love it when they do that “here is a part where he fights just so we know what we’re dealing with when he fights again at the end” storytelling move, like with Craig T. Nelson in ACTION JACKSON. Alot of movies these days don’t bother with it, but I’m old fashioned, I expect it. It’s just good manners.

Other than that it’s not a standout character for Trejo, except for one great moment: as Stone Cold blows up his brother Drayke bolts awake, as if he senses it happening. As the camera pulls back a little he’s comforted by the two women in bed with him.

Stone Cold stays in a hotel which doesn’t seem to have any other guests (or rooms?) but does have a smokin hot owner named Darcy who he develops a sweet Platonic relationship with. Here’s what she looks like:

still_recoil

(she’s the girl on the left, not the guy on the right that looks like Stone Cold. That’s Stone Cold.)

So it’s respectable that he’s nice to her without trying to get down her pants. She’s a widow, he’s a widower, it would be okay for them to go for it but it’s kind of nice that they don’t. No time, too many bikers to shoot.

The actress is named Serinda Swan, and I knew I recognized her from somewhere. It took IMDB to remind me that I’d previously enjoyed her in the magical world of inside computers:

still_serindatron

Also in the cast as the most dangerous of the bikers is the mixed martial artist Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine, who Stone Cold also fought in TACTICAL FORCE. In that one Stone Cold promised “You got the drop on me, but it won’t happen again, Buttercup.” Sure enough, in this one he (SPOILER) puts Jardine in his trunk and drops him off at the social club on fire. Which in my opinion is a good way to handle him. If he fights him in a third movie I hope he pulls on his trademark goatee, sort of in the tradition of Bruce Lee pulling out Chuck Norris’s chest hair.

And yes, there is a biker named Jester in this movie. There always seems to be a biker or Hispanic gang member named either Jester or Joker. I don’t know why.

Like all Stone Cold characters, this is a good one. He doesn’t talk much, but has some good smart ass lines. He seems to have a supernatural ability to suddenly be standing near somebody and they didn’t even notice he was there. For example Jardine fucks up playing pool and sends his ball flying, suddenly Stone Cold is standing right next to the table and catches the ball. Amazing. He also has a great idea for how to spice up his climactic fight with Drayke: he duct tapes their left arms together so they can just take turns punching each other in the face over and over again.

This could change at any time, but I consider Stone Cold to be the most reliable DTV action star of the last few years. He’s coming out with movies frequently and other than the family movie KNOCKOUT they’re always watchable. Even in the weaker ones like KNOCKOUT and TACTICAL FORCE he’s always good and can be proud of his work. And now he seems to be knocking through a list of all the cool action people to co-star with: Michael Jai White and Darren Shahlavi in TACTICAL FORCE, Trejo in this one, Steven Seagal and Michael Pare in the upcoming MAXIMUM CONVICTION, Dolph Lundgren and Jerry Trimble in the upcoming THE PACKAGE.

I still think DAMAGE is his best, but this one is completely solid, up there with HUNT TO KILL I think. Another successful title defense for the reigning Intercontinental Champion of DTV.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 3:34 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

16 Responses to “Recoil”

  1. Man, sounds awesome. This one slipped by me, and I really love biker movies – Stone Cold (movie) has to be watched at least once a year, Fixing the Shadow second favourite (and a must see if you like biker movies but havn’t yet caught it), but some elements are even better. Stone also a seriously great local one, so given all the Stones only a matter of time for Stone Cold (actor). Mad Max sits high, but unfortunately lead biker’s absense of charisma keeps it out of top 5. Son’s of Anarchy has been spectacular to be sure, but not a movie.

    Of course, there’s always Grease 2 as a must watch biker film, though despite the hordes of bikers in it, and ultra-character face of villian biker leader, there are some people who dun consider it a biker movie. The best of the best like Road Warrior and Steel Frontier aren’t true biker films, and thus arguably in same category as Grease 2. Hell Ride and Easy Rider prolly the 2 most disappointing – watchable, but honestly, not in same league as Grease 2 cos not rewatchable.

    Ta for head’s up Vern, really lookin forward to this one. Love to know if you dug Fixing the Shadow if you’ve seen it.

  2. Vern, if you read Hunter S. Thompson’s book about Hells Angels you’ll see that every gang actually has a joker who isn’t that popular with the chicks and mostly drinks and goofs around.

  3. I think Dolph Lundgren and Scott Adkins does better work, as Stone Cold have done some terrible films like The Stranger, which is only film that actually has V (for video) behind his title on imdb.

  4. Darth Irritable

    March 6th, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Is this another fine WWE production from WWE films?

  5. “Where’d you learn to fight like that?”
    “From Fighting.”
    Ah, a Channing Tatum fan, I see.

  6. Yes, feel free to picture Stone Cold watching STEP UP, now.
    http://youtu.be/yxrYXHTg3yo

  7. Uhm…okay. I think now I have seen everything.
    But who agrees with me that “Stone Cold Steve Austin Epic Dance to RickRoll’D! ” is the douchiest name for a YouTube video EVER?!

  8. “Stone Roll’d” would have been better.

  9. Ghost – I can see an argument for Dolph or Adkins, but here’s my thinking on this. I’m just going on the last few years to make it current. Since 2009, Dolph has done 4 starring roles. ICARUS was the best and was totally unmemorable. I haven’t seen IN THE NAME OF THE KING 2 so if I’m wrong to assume that it is crap then I apologize. His only great role in that time has been in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION, but it’s kind of a guest appearance like Alec Baldwin in GLENNGARRY GLEN ROSS. Admittedly that movie and role are better than anything Stone Cold has done in his career, so that’s a plus.

    A better argument can be made for Adkins. NINJA and UNDISPUTED III are both great DTV movies where he has the starring role. ASSASSINATION GAMES was okay, and I think we can count as DTV since it only played a few cities and probly more as a promotional stunt than a serious attempt. THE TOURNAMENT was also pretty good although him not being in it very much was one of its weaknesses.

    With Stone Cold I was impressed that he’s as prolific as Dolph and Seagal were several years back. He’s got DAMAGE, THE STRANGER, HUNT TO KILL, KNOCKOUT, TACTICAL FORCE and RECOIL in those same years. In the tradition of Charles Bronson he seems about the same in every one of these, but always seems cool even in the shittiest ones. But now that I look at it I realize I never saw THE STRANGER, and KNOCKOUT does suck, and TACTICAL FORCE is pretty bad too (but at least not in a bland way like most bad DTV).

    How ’bout we give Adkins the World belt and Stone Cold Intercontinental? Whether or not Adkins gets the unified title this year probly depends on whether or not the new UNIVERSAL SOLDIER is released theatrically.

  10. “Whether or not Adkins gets the unified title this year probly depends on whether or not the new UNIVERSAL SOLDIER is released theatrically.”
    What if they release an R-Rated Cut of EXPENDABLES 2 exclusively on DVD/Blu Ray that features more stuff with Adkins? Would you factor that in too?
    Incidentally, I did create Yuri Boyka as a custom character in the latest WWE game, and earned him both World Titles in the season mode, making him literally Undisputed.

  11. On a (sort of) related note, Sylvester Stallone said in a recent interview that for the first time in his acting career he’ll use his own voice in Walter Hill’s Bullet to the Head. What the hell does that mean?

  12. pegsman – I think it’s like how Nic Cage spoke with his own voice in G-Force. He doesn’t do it too often, with good reason.

  13. The only movie I can remember Sly speaking with a different voice is Oscar, where he spoke faster than usual and with a higher pitch. But I can’t really see that working in a movie about a hitman.

  14. I saw this last night. And liked it. It’s cool in a somewhat unspectacular way. I’ve seen Steve Austin in a few starring roles now, and the best compliment I can give him is that he’s the kind of guy my mother would like. No. it’s not a joke. She likes her action heroes to be grown men with moral and a developed sense of what’s fair. Up until now her short list is as follows;
    1. Charles Bronson
    2. Bud Spencer
    3. Steven Seagal
    And Steve might just be number 4 on that list.

  15. I though ICARUS was memorable because it teamed up Dolph with Bo Svenson. As a swede I thought that was great, even though they share very few scenes together. INGLORIOUS BASTARDS meet UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. That´s a crossover I´d like to see…

  16. Good article. I will be experiencing a few of
    these issues as well..

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