Ida Red (2021, dir. John Swab)

Tulsa-based criminals work to raise the money to get a matriarch out of prison before she dies. Not-bad 2010-set noir drama with action elements. Does plenty of things seen elsewhere (from Heat to Hell or High Water) but has its own decent vibe, a fine cast of character actors, and some quirky moments. Swab remains a talent to keep an eye on.

Here’s the trailer.

Boss Level (2021, dir. Joe Carnahan)

An ex-soldier caught in a time loop fights to save his wife and child. Slightly wobbly Groundhog Day / Source Code variant, heavy on slapstick kills. Tonally all over the shop, which is a shame. Frank Grillo is as good value as ever, though, and there’s a strong supporting cast, plus some decent action choreography late on.

Here’s Lemonsquirtle’s take.

And here’s the trailer.

Big Sky (2015, dir. Jorge Michel Grau)

A young woman with an agoraphobic condition is forced to get help in the desert when her vehicle is attacked. Muddled little thriller with some trippy elements. It can’t focus on the core story: the result is scattershot where it should be direct.

Here’s the trailer.

Body Brokers (2021, dir. John Swab)

A young addict becomes involved in insurance fraud masquerading as drug treatment. Drama/thriller with documentary elements – not entirely unlike The Big Short – that’s a touch too didactic, but nevertheless interesting, well-played, sheds light on a fresh (to me, anyway) scam, and is packed with quality character actors. Director Swab’s one to watch.

Here’s the trailer.

Jiu Jitsu (2020, dir. Dimitri Logothetis)

An amnesic warrior monk is Earth’s chosen defender against an alien fighter. Ambitious though slightly tatty would-be martial comic-book arts epic. Plenty of fights (though little actual jiu jitsu) and some guest stars (Cage, Grillo, Jaa) in supporting roles: it’s basically a low-budget riff on Predator, though.

Here’s the trailer.

Donnybrook [AKA: Below The Belt: Brawl at Donnybrook] (2018, dir. Tim Sutton)

A bare-knuckle boxer, a meth dealer, and a cop’s lives intersect over drugs, money, and a fight tournament. Lean, autumnal adaptation of the Frank Bill novel. Very different to its source material in tone, but nevertheless a rewarding movie, with something to say about working-class America as well as delivering in genre terms. Recommended.

Hell on the Border (2019, dir. Wes Miller)

A black bounty hunter is promised a marshal’s badge if he can bring in a notorious criminal. Based on a true story, this Western has good intentions but is a scrappy beast. Some good performances and the presence of solid character actors like Ron Perlman and Frank Grillo are undermined by poor writing and direction, and under-par cinematography.

Demonic (2015, dir. Will Canon)

A group of students attempt a ritual in a supposedly haunted house; a cop investigates the aftermath. Generally-solid reworking of familiar material (including nods to The Blair Witch Project) helped no end by good playing from reliable hands like Maria Bello and Frank Grillo. No real surprises, but decent enough for fans of the genre.

Black and Blue (2019, dir. Deon Taylor)

A rookie New Orleans cop – an Army veteran – witnesses crooked cops committing murder; she has to run. A straightforward but effective action thriller that touches on race, gender, class and deprivation as issues, but still tells its story. Solid genre entertainment for grown-ups.

Into The Ashes (2019, dir. Aaron Harvey)

A former criminal’s past life catches up with him, when old associates track him down and kill his wife. Effective low-key and slow-burn thriller with a solid cast of character actors making the most of the material. A good sense of blue-collar life, and of the inevitable consequences of revenge.