21 March 2016 | The_Phantom_Projectionist
"If you think we're flying, you're wrong"
I don't mean to bum anyone out right at the beginning of a review, but this is a pretty sucky movie. Sucky on the point of being dreadful. Produced during that period in the early 2000s when the Nu Image studio couldn't make a good movie for neither love nor money, it's an annoying exercise in mundanity. Nearing the end of his career as an action hero, lead star Bryan Genesse does what little he can to make this one stand out but only manages to save it from a rock-bottom rating.
The story: When a gang of arrested thieves (led by Bentley Mitchum) takes over the train transporting them to prison and makes hostages of the passengers, it's up to their captor (Genesse) to end the crisis.
The film was probably made under very limited means, as evidenced by the frequent use of stock footage. The exterior shots of the train are taken from a movie shot in British Columbia, and seeing the filmmakers try to pass off this landscape as the Mexican countryside is kinda goofy. So is the casting: like many Nu Image flicks, this one's supporting roles are predominantly played by Bulgarian performers, and if you think it's been interesting listening to East Europeans fake English dialogue, just wait 'til you hear 'em speaking Spanish. Before long, it seems too much to take for even the producers, who end up dubbing most of the Spanish. Disappointingly, they did not dub Bentley Mitchum's lines. Mitchum is a fair character actor but his performance here is atrocious. The screenplay is clearly going the "crazy dangerous" route with its villain, but this comes across as irredeemably annoying, with Mitchum spewing adolescent threats and insults while largely failing at being intimidating.
Even though the movie makes a point of focusing on various hostages who don't actually affect the story too much, one guy who doesn't get much of a personality at all is the hero. When he first appeared, I thought Bryan Genesse was a side character because of his lack of charisma, and he never gains any throughout the runtime. Genesse was apparently on board with the movie, performing his own stunts while running across and hopping about the moving train, but he's just so generic here that the role could have been played by anybody. This homogeny carries over to the action content, which is comprised mainly of shootouts and a few explosions. Genesse only has two fight scenes, and while the brawl with Mitchum came as a surprise for being anything other than dismal, they're not worth talking about.
DEATH TRAIN doesn't bear thinking about too much: I get grumpy about having wasted my money and want to rate it even lower. I can't recommend it to anyone, and hope that it only finds its way into the hands of its particular niche audience – whoever that may include.