Skyfire (2019, dir. Simon West)

A luxury resort is threatened by an active volcano. Updating When Time Ran Out via bits of the Jurassic Park franchise, this hubris-tastic disaster movie is a gleeful treat, embracing the all character tropes and situations you’d expect. It’s something of a masterclass in pacing and jeopardy: huge amounts of unpretentious fun. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

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.

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.

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.

The Tax Collector (2020, dir. David Ayer)

An LA gang’s debt collecting team comes up against a rival street organisation. Very straightforward gangland drama/thriller that doesn’t offer much that’s not been seen many times before. Despite director Ayer’s welcome return to the streets, this isn’t near his best work.

Here’s the trailer.

Pompeii (2014, dir. Paul WS Anderson)

A vengeful gladiator and a young noblewoman find love against the odds in 1st century Italy. Cheesy disaster-themed tosh (though never quite camp, Kiefer Sutherland’s panto villain aside), mashing up Titanic and Gladiator to cliched CG-tastic effect. A medium-budget B-movie, and unashamedly so.

Here’s the trailer.