30 November 2003 | bob the moo
Reasonably good little thriller
Luke Kovak is part of a covert group within the CIA that works on illegal black ops involving blackmail and assassinations. When his boss orders the murder of one of the team, Luke realises how expendable they all are and gets out (taking proof of their activities with him). He now lives as a priest until the group start to get close to tracking him down.
I'm a big fan of Dacascos, and I'm constantly at a loss as to why people like Seagal have had big hits but he remains very much part of the `direct to video' stable. This film has a pretty standard plot in that an ex-CIA agent is on the run from the very group that he was once part of. The plot is still passable, what it lacks in originality it makes up for by being pretty dark and gritty. The film has a few action scenes but these too manage to be quite dark and work the better for it, coming off as more than just the usual bangs for the sake of bangs.
The direction is pretty good and the use of a gritty film stock makes the dark subject matter feel a lot better for it. A downside is that Dacascos doesn't have too many chances to do his martial arts stuff, going for more traditional action instead. That said, he is still quite good in the lead role. Aside from being moody in the first bits of the film, he is actually quite charismatic despite his character. The rest of the support cast is not so good, they are workmanlike but there are a few really poor performances in there.
Parts of the film don't work that well, and this isn't a blockbuster or class act it is just an above average video thriller. The flashbacks are a little confusing early on, and those that flashback to Luke's childhood are poor and too simplistic. Despite this I enjoyed the film it isn't anything new but it has a good gritty feel and the dark nature of the film makes it feel a cut above the usual video thriller things.