Rogue (2020, dir. MJ Bassett)

A hostage extraction team is hunted across the East African savannah by vengeful kidnappers, and by a lion escaped from illegal breeders. Efficient DTV actioner with horror elements maximising location shooting production values while cheerfully stealing bits of business from all over: plus a Backstreet Boys running gag.

Here’s the trailer.

The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud [AKA Max Cloud] (2020, dir. Martin Owen)

1990: a Brooklyn teenager is transported inside the 2D platform scrolling game she’s playing. Fun little space-based riff on the Jumanji movies, made with care and with an eye to maximising limited resources. A decent script and performances help, not least DTV action star Adkins enjoying spoofing himself.

Here’s the trailer.

Next (2007, dir. Lee Tamahori)

A Las Vegas stage magician with the ability to see into the near future is hunted by both the FBI and terrorists. High concept SF fantasy loosely based on a Philip K Dick story. The plot doesn’t really hang together, but as a series of chases, bluffs, and timey-wimey tricks, this is more than passable escapism.

Here’s the trailer.

Seized (2020, dir. Isaac Florentine)

A former agent’s son is kidnapped: a series of assassinations is the price of his freedom. It starts shakily, but this DTV spin on the Taken template soon gets motoring, with plenty of well-staged lo-fi fisticuffs and shootouts, good location work, and Mario Van Peebles charismatic in his villainy.

Here’s the trailer.

The Domestics (2018, dir. Mike P Nelson)

A dysfunctional couple travel across post-apocalyptic America through territory populated by rival murderous gangs. Interesting small-scale action/horror hybrid with an unusual focus on character development and on telling detail. Plenty to appreciate despite the familiarity of its Mad Max-meets-The Purge setup.

Here’s the trailer.

The Doorman (2020, dir. Ryuhei Kitamura)

A troubled ex-soldier takes on a menial job, but soon finds themselves in the middle of a heist. Contrived action thriller happy to recycle Die Hard on a budget, but bringing nothing new to the table. A disappointment from the usually-flamboyant Kitamura, not even bothering with his usual gory glee.

Here’s the trailer.

The Yakuza (1974, dir. Sydney Pollack)

A former detective returns to Japan from the US: an old friend’s daughter under threat. Neither quite a neo-noir, an action thriller or a study of overseas crime syndicates, The Yakuza tries to be all three with variable results. Slow, but interesting, with flashes of a darker, better, and more violent film lurking.

Here’s the trailer.

Army Of One (2020, dir. Stephen Dunham)

An ex-special forces soldier takes on the matriarchal backwoods criminal clan who killed her husband. Effective DTV vehicle that maximises limited resources, showcasing Ellen Hollman well. Plenty of unpretentious fisticuffs fun: sharper script and direction, and this would have been a minor classic.

Here’s the trailer.

Collide (2016, dir. Eran Creevy)

An American car thief in Berlin commits to a heist to fund his girlfriend’s kidney transplant. Straightforward chase thriller that takes an age to get going. There’s some good direction, and supporting villains Hopkins and Kingsley are fun, but the script is rote, foregrounding coincidences rather than ingenuity.

Here’s the trailer.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988, dir. Dwight H Little)

A decade after the events of Parts 1 and 2, Michael Myers escapes again, and returns to Haddonfield once more. Contrived series continuation that, despite some good moments and stunt work, has to rely on soap operatics for a story engine. Still, fun for fans, plus the ending has some verve.

Here’s the trailer.