Abduction (2019, dir. Ernie Barbarash)

Two men work to find missing family members; an interdimensional conspiracy is revealed. Modest Vietnam-set martial arts action with an SF/fantasy twist. No dafter than, say, Doctor Strange, but interesting to see attempted at this budget level. Very competent fight choreography is the selling point here. Ignore the poster; nothing to do with the movie!

The Old Guard (2020, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Near-immortal warriors induct a new recruit, while being hunted for their DNA. Patchy superhero-ish flick from a graphic novel. The film can’t decide whose story this is, telling the veteran’s and the newbie’s, rather than focusing. The result is overlong and slow, but with strong moments, a badass declaration of love, and some solid action.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986, dir. John Carpenter)

A blowhard trucker finds himself in the middle of a magical conflict in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Still-fun mock-heroic action fantasy, with some respect for its influences and its tongue in its cheek throughout. If you go with it, this is still a great 100 minutes, though inevitably it’s not for all.

Another view wanted? Here you go.

Charlie’s Angels (2019, dir. Elizabeth Banks)

A young programmer teams up with an elite security agency to retrieve a valuable energy device. OK series continuation that does precisely what you’d expect with no surprises whatsoever. Passable while it’s on; its best jokes are in the end credits, though.

Extraction (2020, dir. Sam Hargrave)

A suicidal mercenary takes on a kidnap extraction job. Overlong but stirring action drama with three (count ’em) splendid sustained combat/chase sequences. No surprises whatsoever plot-wise, but this is vigorous stuff, played commendably straight by all. 15 minutes trimmed, and it’d have been a stone-cold classic.

Accident Man (2018, dir. Jesse V Johnson)

A hitman who specialises in making his kills look like accidents is targeted for termination. Uneven but at times tremendous DTV martial arts black comedy. Plenty of action throughout, and a decent cast of genre staples making the most of their opportunities.

Hobbs & Shaw [AKA Fast and Furious (Presents): Hobbs & Shaw] (2019, dir. David Leitch)

Mismatched agents team up to prevent a bio-engineered villain from stealing a deadly toxin. Dumb-but-fun-but-dumb again action-comedy sidequel to the later Fast/Furious flicks. Jolly bickering and star cameos help, but the film too-quickly becomes wearying in its CG excesses when it should be at least physics-aware.

Another viewpoint? Here!

 

 

Anna (2019, dir. Luc Besson)

A lost young woman becomes an elite model by day, a KGB assassin by night. It’s Besson-by-numbers in this straightforward Europacorp espionage/action thriller, lifting bits from La Femme Nikita and in so doing aping the recent Red Sparrow. Decent setpieces, some lazy tech-related anachronisms, and reliable character actors slumming.

Henchman: The Al Leong Story (2018, dir. Vito Trabucco)

A documentary about Hollywood’s most recognizable stuntman and movie henchman. A crowdfunded production made with affection and respect for its subject. Inevitably for fans, but nevertheless fascinating, not least because the film gives a rounded picture of Leong’s work, life, and personal struggles. Recommended.

Avengement (2019, dir. Jesse V Johnson)

An escaped prisoner holds his gangster brother’s criminal friends hostage. Superior DTV violent martial arts action, with a career-best performance from Adkins and a keen sense both of the strengths and limits of the genre.