I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Security

SECURITY is solid, entertaining old school action in the post-DIE HARD mold. The score by FM Le Sieur even had me thinking of the UNDER SIEGE movies during the watch-as-a-well-orchestrated-plot-by-heavily-armed-criminals-unfolds section about the ambush of a convoy of U.S. Marshals transporting an important witness for a mob trial.

Admittedly this is a Nu-Image production and it doesn’t feel as big and cinematic as those ’90s studio action classics. The supporting cast on the good guy side have a bit of a TV feel, and the shopping mall that it takes place in has got to be some set they keep in a Bulgarian studio to use in various movies. The stores and merchandise are blandly generic – there’s a store called “Gift Shop”! – so it never has that feeling of being filmed in a real location, though the layout works well for action staging.

Everything else is refreshingly on-point. Antonio Banderas stars as discharged Marine Captain Eddie Deacon, temporarily separated from his wife and daughter to deal with psychological issues, struggling to find work, having to beg for a special favor from an agency worker just to be set up with a minimum wage job doing security at a mall. Of course he starts the same night and in the same area as the attack on the US Marshals (actually their uniforms say “USA Marshals,” which is weird) and the witness the attackers are after, a little girl named Jamie (Katherine Mary de la Rocha), escapes to the mall. So Eddie has to play ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 with a crew of young doofuses on his team.

Though DESPERADO is my favorite Banderas role, it seemed weird treating him as an action star by casting him in EXPENDABLES 3. But these days he seems like he could replace Cuba Gooding Jr. as the go-to DTV guy. He’s got GUN SHY coming out (a comedy, but directed by Simon West) and something called BULLET HEAD and of course Isaac Florentine’s ACTS OF VENGEANCE and he’s had a few others. Here he looks a little skinny and short for such an asskicker but he and his doubles do the action well, even pulling out some of his dancerly mariachi moves – sliding on the floor while shooting, two guns aimed in opposite directions, etc.

But mostly he’s just a compelling character who we really attach to in the broody opening in the employment office and cheap motel where he makes a sad late night call to his wife. This is a troubled super-badass humble enough to take it in quiet stride that he has to take orders from silly young guy Vance (Liam McIntyre, Spartacus: War of the Damned) to get money for his family. If I’m not mistaken, though, Vance pegs him for army and he lets him believe he guessed right and get cocky about it, a mild and unnoticed act of disrespect.

The young mall staff (also including cowardly Mason [Chad Lindberg, Jesse from THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS], knows-how-to-make-bombs-from-the-internet Johnny [Taiwanese pop star Jiro Wang] and hungover lady badass Ruby [Gabriella Wright, EVERLY, TRANSPORTER REFUELED]) could disregard this brand new hire, but the script by Tony Mosher (MECHANIC: RESURRECTION) and John Sullivan (RECOIL) is smart enough to make them follow him and work together to protect the girl, with minimum in-fighting. Even Vance, who Eddie has to hit over the head to stop him from giving in to the bad guys, quickly recognizes the wisdom of putting the Captain in charge.

Where most low budget movies of this type would whiff it would be in the villains. They’d have someone totally generic or just kinda dull, or a big name past their prime person not really giving their best. This one has Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley exuding pure calm menace as a guy just calling himself “Charlie.” At first he comes to the glass doors pretending to be Jamie’s dad. When Eddie’s not buying it suddenly a bizarre looking henchman steps out of the shadows with a suitcase full of bribe money. Look at this weirdo! His name should be Igor.

The actor is Velimir Velev, who has previously played such characters as “Male Day Terrorist” (OCTOPUS), “Mime/Spider” (SPIDERS II: BREEDING GROUND), “Alien” (ALIEN HUNTER), “Bald Assassin” (THE TOURNAMENT), “Prison Clerk” (CONAN THE BARBARIAN), “Miner #4” (EXPENDABLES 2) and “Preacher Murderer” (THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD). Here he at least graduates from a noun to an adjective, being credited as “Feral.” He makes a strong impression for a dialogue-less thug.

Later he’s the first guy to storm the castle, and he does it in a delightful way: sprinting toward it screaming like a maniac, running up an SUV, leaping onto the wall, climbing up it using two axes. I do not want to fuck with this guy! And he’s only the second best henchman because Charlie’s #2 “Dead Eyes,” sort of the Everett-McGill-in-UNDER-SIEGE-2 character, is played by my current pick for most underrated action guy:

That’s right, it’s MMA legend Cung Le, who starred in John Hyams’ DRAGON EYES, played Bronze Lion in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, and excellent supporting villains in BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS, THE GRANDMASTER and SAVAGE DOG, among others. And they seem to have designed his role with fans like me in mine, keeping him around for intimidation until a climactic okay-then-I’ll-do-it fight. Of course it’s not the high level of martial arts of any of the movies I just listed, but it’s a good fight considering it’s against the dude from the Pedro Almodovar movies. (Fight choreographer: Borislav Iliev [EL GRINGO, ENEMIES CLOSER, LONDON HAS FALLEN, played “Three Fingers” in WRONG TURNs 3 and 5].)

The fighting and grappling is decent, not great, but it’s mostly taking-cover-from-machine-gun-fire-and-creating-distractions-and-strategizing kind of action. It’s well staged, with excellent, tension-raising use of security monitors and a camera on a remote control car that Jamie cleverly uses for reconnaissance. There’s also a nail-spewing booby trap, minor use of consumer drone, a good bow and arrow scene, and of course a few explosions and highly detailed vehicle crashes. Here’s a nice DIE HARD 2 moment with the added quirk that he has to use a silly looking toy walkie-talkie:

I can’t take credit for finding this one. I only know about it from the recommendation of Sternshein, later backed up by other commenters. Thank you!

We’ll have to keep an eye on this director, Alain Desrochers, a Genie-Award-nominated Canadian director who got his start with a couple episodes of the The Hunger TV series. His action movies include NITRO (2007), its sequel NITRO RUSH (2016) and the upcoming BON COP BAD COP 2. (He didn’t do the first one.)

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 Monday, November 6th, 2017 at 11:39 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.

26 Responses to “Security”

  1. I have to say, ‘Nitro Rush’ is delightful sequel name progression.

  2. “Here he looks a little skinny and short for such an asskicker”

    So you’re saying he wasn’t the biggest Mexican you’ve ever seen?

  3. This one is actually on Netflix over here, so now it’s a coin toss between xXx³ and this one tonight.

  4. Crushinator Jones

    November 6th, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve seen this on Netflix but didn’t know if I should take a chance on it. Now I will.

    Thank you Sternshein, and thank you Vern.

  5. Really enjoyed this one as well and after watching ACTS OF VENGEANCE I think we have a new solid go-to action star on the DTV-front with Banderas.

  6. This isn’t a knock on Vern because Vern has more pressing matters to deal with but I feel like I must take up the mantel with, at least, letting you guys know which DTV films are worth checking out or not or what is coming up.

    For example, they made a movie with Ethan Hawke that is directed by a stunt guy and it’s filmed like John Wick so it’s essentially Ethan Hawke’s John Wick but with a more outlandish premise. It’s called 24 Hours to Live and The Action Elite has already gave it a rave review. Watch the trailer.

    Tell me you don’t want to watch this movie ASAP. I fee like we’ve finally rode out the wave of post-action films because we’re back to clearly, well staged action film.

    BTW, another one that I liked that is on Netflix but is not as good as Security is Gridlocked. It doesn’t quite live up to its premise but I still liked it.

  7. The coin directed me to SECURITY* and it was really worth it. Nothing that will set the world on fire, but super solid and nothing, that anybody involved should be ashamed of. (And holy shit, it took me a while to realize that the at first douchy security team leader was fucking Spartacus #2!)

    *Note: I didn’t toss a coin, but I suspected that I would like it more than xXx³

  8. CJ, go watch XXX3. It’s pretty great.

  9. Even if SEXY BEAST sort of viped out Kingsley’s Gandhi vibe, I still think it’s hard to see him as anything else than peace loving and humble (even if we know now that Gandhi was an asshole). And the painted on hair and colored beard got me thinking of Walker, Texas Ranger…

  10. BTW, that opening scene, where Banderas tries to find a job, ANY kind of job, even if would qualify for higher paid ones? That shit totally triggered me. I know the experience of “We know you are looking for a job, but we can’t give you that one, that no other wants, because you are OVERqualified, so enjoy your unemployment!” too well.

  11. I saw PAUL BLART: MALL COP and didn’t think it was that bad, so maybe I should check out this gritty reimagining.

  12. Funny that the parody should come before the actual film.

  13. I loved this movie, the writer shared a few details over on BMD:

    Action Fans: You Need To Watch SECURITY Immediately

    2017 continues to deliver quality cheap thrills.


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    johnnyblackout . • a month ago

    Fun fact, I wrote it for Steve Austin after my movie Recoil with him came out. Steve passed, and was set to do Brawl in Cell Block 99. Obviously he dropped out of that. And basically didn’t want to do movies anymore anyway. I thought the script was dead, but Millennium are hustlers and got Antonio and Ben on board. I think it was a good trade off. Proud of this one. I’ve written a lot of B movies, but this is the only one to have an Oscar winner and an Oscar nominee. Fun fact 2: Nicolas Cage and Wesley Snipes were considered as well. Nic Cage was going to be the main baddie. Nic wound up passing on it though. Yeah, Nic Cage actually passes on stuff.

  14. So much to unpack in that quote. You get the sense that Nic Cage is putting off his inevitable transition to late-period Dennis Hopper villain roles as long as possible, because he knows once he crosses that line, there’s no coming back.

  15. I, for one, cannot wait for that day.

  16. Ha ha ha, I was feeling bad about BMD beating me to SECURITY, but then I realized there’s a direct line between the post and me telling a friend that SECURITY came highly recommended from commenters here. That writer often catches on to obscurities that my friend recommends on letterboxd, which is what he did when he watched SECURITY while I was still in October horror-only mode.

    I need to start holding this shit closer to my vest! But I consider Sternshein to be uncredited executive producer of that post.

  17. Thank my daily habit of searching out movie trailers on YouTube for this.

  18. One thing I’ll say about this movie, is that even though it was only about 80 minutes long, all of the good guys (and even a few of the villians) had distinct characters introduced and carved out, and their deaths actually carried a little weight. Like the head security guy, who would usually just be fodder for the meat grinder in a movie like this.

    These guys really made a lot out of little, this crew needs to be on the next GI Joe movie, should they ever make one.

  19. BTW, the next big action movie you’ll probably hear me rave about is 24 Hours to Live starring Ethan Hawke and directed by a stunt guy, just like John Wick.

  20. It certainly looks fun. Also Rutger Hauer.

  21. Waddayaknow, this is actually decent? Guess I’ll open that review copy and pop it in after all. Thanks, Vern and Sternshein.

  22. Welp, 24 Hours to Live was awesome. Ethan Hawke might be our most taken for granted actor in America. Action was great, the story was solid. The acting, though was so good in this.

    Also, I found out that the director was stunt coordinator on most John Woo American movies. The action owes more to Wick than Woo but you could totally tell Woo’s influence. I really now hope with Woo’s new movie that we can get more films that are like 24 Hours to Live but have the crazy gun fights with well staged action. That style is poised for a comeback.

    Also shot our to Saban Films. I hope they can become the Blumhouse of action films.

  23. Heard Rutger Hauer was dubbed. That true?

  24. It’s possible but it sounded like him.

  25. bastardjackyll – I get what you mean. Reminds me of RAGNAROK (a movie I liked and gave same grade as SECURITY) that was a half hour plus longer and spent a good amount of that extra screentime (or fat as some might argue) all in the name of character development or making you care about stock characters or what the hell ever and yet ultimately after all that how many really cared? Not as much as RAGNAROK was hoping for or assumed.

    That’s where a good decent cast of character actors come in handy, helping to flesh out trope parts or take inches of yarn and make miles out of it. Hell even Kingsley is decently effective here, and he’s done scores of these shot-in-Europe-over-a-weekend villain gigs (like the atrocious COLLIDE earlier this year) but he works here towards the movie’s benefit.

  26. New Antonio Banderas movie that also has Adrian Brody, John Malkovich and Rory Culkin. By the director of Grace.

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