AS GOOD AS DEAD is a 2022 straight-to-VOD Michael Jai White vehicle that I caught up with when it came to DVD back in March, but I was deep into Ronny Yu studies so I held off on telling you guys about it. Sorry about that.
Back in 2009 when White made the stone cold classic BLOOD & BONE we wondered why he wasn’t getting theatrical releases, but what was considered low budget then seems like sheer extravagance compared to many of the independent action movies today. I’d love to see White making a couple mid-sized action vehicles a year like Jason Statham used to do, but instead he’s gotta cut in a couple scenes of Mickey Rourke or Tom Berenger just to shoot something small out in the desert. Despite this injustice, AS GOOD AS DEAD is a great time because it’s written by the person who best knows how to showcase Michael Jai White – the same man who wrote and directed NEVER BACK DOWN: NO SURRENDER – Michael Jai White. So it’s a solid traditional action structure where he gets to glory in his own badassness, have some good fights, some inventive moves, and get a few laughs. Honestly it has most of what I hope for in a movie like this except for a strong visual style or atmosphere.
White plays Bryant, a gruff American loner who moved just over the Mexican border to escape some mysterious past. He lives alone in a trailer on a humble patch of land, works as a surveyor, comes home and practices fighting on a wooden post with tires attached. When he does that he notices a young man named Oscar (Luca Oriel, Shameless) watching from a hill and shadowing his moves. Later, while having lunch in town, he notices the same kid hiding behind a car to avoid some gangsters in a lowrider, and feels sympathy for him. (read the rest of this shit…)