11 January 2013 | rockoforza
Death matches in future L.A. let cops play judge, jury and executioner.
Imagine if certain parts of a city, called the Hell Zone, were set aside for criminal activity. Every bad guy could set up shop and rape, murder and steal to his heart's content. The frustrated cops could only stand and watch. If that weren't enough, inside the Zone is the Death Ring, where the baddest bad boys fight to the death while the crowd screams for blood. That's the future in L.A.(2007!) the way this movie sees it and the Hell Zone is where all the action takes place. Into this brutal world comes Chad McQueen (son of the great Steve McQueen) and martial arts muscleman Gary Daniels, as two undercover cops that have to infiltrate the Death Ring and fight their way out.
Like his father, McQueen has a hard bodied physicality and genuine star quality. Playing a cop and a fighter in the ring, he sports the athletic build and macho ink that makes him a believable badass. His fights are exciting and realistic. He is the movie's focal point and, along with showcasing his lethal talents, he's featured in some steamy love scenes with Alisha Dal. In the sack, he's a chip off the old block and that smoldering McQueen sexuality has Ms. Dal purring.
Gary Daniels is a reliable component of any action flick and in this one he plays the crazy sidekick and frustrated cop who relishes the freedom to snuff out criminals at will once he's in the Hell Zone. After dispatching one hulking loser, Daniels gives a bloodthirsty grin to McQueen, saying "I wish we could do this in the real world." Though he's not the star, the bare-chested Daniels really shines in every fight he has. He's in superb shape – almost competition quality – and his rock hard physique is on display throughout the movie.
Two other fighters standout in the casting of this movie. Art Camacho plays a strong young latino fighter trying to feed his family and make a name for himself. He befriends the two cops and together they take out their share of goons. The real bad guy is the Swordsman, played by pro wrestling's Ultimate Warrior. Unbelievably buff - but given no lines to deliver - the Swordsman is left to do his communicating in the ring where he slays grungy lowlifes in some awesome action scenes. Between Daniels and the Swordsman, both of whom take turns flexing and strutting around shirtless in the ring, it begins to resemble a Mr. Olympia contest, with the chiseled Camacho and McQueen not far behind.
There are a few surprises along the way, and it's fun seeing cops suddenly free to make criminals pay the ultimate price for their misdeeds. Even the good guys get off on a little payback when they slash and burn some tough outlaw in the Death Ring. The movie rips off everything from "Escape from New York" to "Thunderdome," but it doesn't matter since the plot exists only to let guys battle it out in front of a screaming crowd. When those guys are prime muscle like Daniels and the Swordsman, or young lions like McQueen and Camacho, this movie rocks.