Russian Raid [AKA Russkiy Reyd] (2020, dir. Denis Kryuchkov)

A former soldier hires mercenaries to help him with his revenge plan. Interesting if not wholly successful attempt to remake/localise Gareth Evans’s The Raid. It starts slow with some lazy sub-Tarantinoisms, but gains confidence and panache over time, plus Ivan Kotik is an unusual action star in the making.

Here’s the trailer.

Honest Thief (2020, dir. Mark Williams)

A retired safecracker tries to confess so he can live a guilt-free new life, but matters go awry. Contrived thriller with a little less action and a touch more character work than typical Neeson genre efforts. No gamechanger, but fine while it’s on. That sounds like faint praise: it kinda is.

Here’s the trailer.

Mortal Kombat (2021, dir. Simon McQuoid)

VFX laden film reboot of the now tired violent 90s video game where good and evil martial artists with special powers battle to the death. Checkbox ticking fan pleasing fap-along! Visually pretty in places – but the dull gaps between fights will quickly exhaust your brains and patience!

Cannonball! [AKA Carquake] (1976, dir. Paul Bartel)

Various racers compete – and cheat – in a trans-American car race. Enjoyably ramshackle road comedy typical of the subgenre packed with lo-fi vehicle stunts, sly humour, and cameo appearances from Roger Corman’s phone book: everyone from Martin Scorsese to Sylvester Stallone shows up.

Here’s the trailer.

Without Remorse [AKA Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse] (2021, dir. Stefano Sollima)

A special forces soldier seeks revenge on the agents who kill his wife. Sub-par military actioner intended to be a franchise-starter. A terrible script, lacklustre action, and variable playing (only Jodie Turner-Smith stands out) plus that European backlot aesthetic. A couple of visually-interesting moments, but that’s it.

Here’s the trailer.

The Abyss (1989, dir. James Cameron)

A team of deep sea drilling experts attempt a rescue on a sunk nuclear submarine. Overambitious but in parts dazzling SF/action hybrid. There’s too much going on, but the film looks great, feels as authentic as it might, and is still impressive in technical respects.

Here’s the trailer.

Die Hard 4.0 [AKA Live Free or Die Hard] (2007, dir. Len Wiseman)

John McClane and a young hacker track down a cyberterrorist. Fourth time out, the franchise has been retooled for pan-generational appeal, with muted levels of violence/language to suit. That said, it’s an entertaining analogue v digital thriller, with all digi-tropes present and some panache in the action design.

Here’s the trailer.

SAS: Red Notice (2021, dir. Magnus Martens)

An SAS officer is caught in a Channel Tunnel train hijack overseen by disgruntled mercenaries. Boorish, overlong action thriller that’s both hideously contrived and has some properly dumb ideas. A decent TV-ish cast and some effective stunt work help, but this is clunky, obvious stuff throughout.

Here’s the trailer.

Welcome to Sudden Death (2020, dir. Dallas Jackson)

An ex-forces security guard takes on hi-tech thieves during a basketball game. Straightforward DTV reprise of the 1995 Peter Hyams/Van Damme minor action classic: Michael Jai White is as charismatic as ever, and while the movie’s not great, it delivers lo-fi fisticuffs, some OK jokes, and a couple of neat ideas.

Here’s the trailer.