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  • Earlier in the year saw the release of Dolph's latest movie, Detention. That was a disappointment to say the least but his next effort; Direct Action is far more like the good old days for any Dolph fan. Over the last 6 years Dolph has been starring in considerably cheaper and poorer movies than he used to. Aside from recent highlight Hidden Agenda it has been pretty much all poor. The thing is the producers have been tying to give him characters with a different dimension, with some more depth and not just a hard-ass. This is all very well and good but the films are trying too hard to move with the times and B-movies have a tendency to do things badly. Hidden Agenda was a good little thriller, nothing exceptional and Dolph was good, playing someone with some intelligence and a different kind of intimidating presence. It's been the only transition from all out action that has worked for Dolph in recent years. Now there seems to be resurgence in these brainless, guilty pleasure action fests in the vein of Sly and Arnold in the 80's, just look at the Rundown. This film is very much like the old Seagal films, you know that string of films he did in his earlier career that were violent and simplistic and almost all the same. The plot of Direct Action could almost be typical Seagal fodder from that period with corrupt cops and FBI officials and Dolph as the moralistic cop who'll take them down. This brought back good memories for me of films like Nico, Out For Justice and Hard To Kill. Simple story, plenty of action and a bad-ass cop who scowls throughout the movie (in fairness Dolph does more than that though.). This is miles better than Detention but what I did find with Detention in any case was that Dolph had a new found enthusiasm. After nearly 2 years rest from the business he came back leaner, more fired up and for the first time in years was doing his own stunts. Direct Action continues that trend and filmed a year after Detention, Dolph is further enthused and in even greater shape. He's a lot slimmer than he has ever been in his movie career, very svelte and has a more sprightly presence. He looks better than he has done in almost 10 years. Dolph seems to be having a new lease of life and while these last two films aren't his best they have bigger budgets and are more old style action than he has done recently. His next few are promising a good amount of action too and Dolph will probably be playing the tough man again, it does seem the way forward for the DTV action men, doing films they used to keep the fans happy. Hidden Agenda was good but it didn't sell, for the simple fact that if you are trying for something with depth and intelligence then there is little hope that people are going to look for a straight to video movie, whereas these brainless fist-fests still seem to sell. Van Damme is back to his revenge movie trademark and Seagal has left his eco warrior image behind for more conventional ideas.

    The plot follows Frank Gannon, a veteran police sergeant who is to testify against his co-workers in the Direct Action Unit because they are being investigated for links to drug lords, extortion and murder. Gannon (Dolph) has seen this stuff first hand and wants to testify. On the day of the trial he is threatened and to make matters worse he has to take a rookie around with him all day (Polly Shannon.). Basically the film plays out with Dolph taking on his co-workers head on with help from his partner and the young rookie Billie Ross along the way. When they kill three cops in a bloody shootout, a failed attempt on Gannon's life Gannon is in trouble because he is wanted for the murders and now his word is going to mean little against the testimonies of the guys in the Direct Action Unit who have heroic reputations, despite the dark dealing in the background. There are the usual amount of twists and turns but there are no surprises. It all rounds off to an action packed climax rest assured though.

    The action is decent. It's all shootouts or fist fights and while there are no really big set pieces the action is plentiful and nicely spread out. This is perhaps the most action Dolph has had in a movie for ages. Fistfights cost nothing but the time to make so they have put plenty in which is good. What is good is that Dolph gets to use his martial arts here. The action is similar to Seagal's was in Nico etc too, with plenty of throw movies and bone breaking. It is good to see Dolph using his Karate so prominently here. Dolph is really looking in prime action man form here and looks tough. The shootouts are okay, nothing great but at least there was money on them. Of course we have some explosions too.

    The film has a smaller budget than Detention did, which was 10 million while this was between 5 and 8 million dollars but this looks far more polished and there is more bang for your buck. The key thing is that the action is far more imaginative and well handled. It is strange because almost the entire cast and crew of Detention worked on this and it was shot in the same place. Everyone does their job far better it must be said, particularly veteran director Sidney Furie who shows more flair and assurance in the action while he has upped his game on the more dramatic scenes too. A downer in the look of the film was the dull cinematography. The film looks drab and the lighting is poor. It is made to look cheaper than it is because Curtis Peterson has seemingly not even turned up to shoot it and left it to the camera operators to shoot it themselves without any lighting. He did a similarly no existent job in Detention. I know this is low budget but they could still make it look better, Hidden Agenda had very good cinematography. Another improvement though was the score, with Adam Norden taking over from the composer of Detention and doing a much better job. The score wasn't great but it knew the limitations of doing it cheaply and didn't try to recreate an orchestra on a computer like many DTV movies do, and badly. This is a synth score that acts like a synth score. The cast are good. Dolph holds the movie, his role is straight down the middle and simple but he does it with conviction and coolness. Polly Shannon is okay as well as Billie, she's pretty and gives a good enough performance. I also thought that Conrad Dunn was very good as Captain Stone, the ring leader of the corrupt cops. He has a slimy villainy that works well. He gives the role a conviction and classiness that none of the support in Detention did. All the returning actors from Detention are much better, particularly Alex Karzis who played the lead villain in Detention atrociously. Here he plays a good guy and does it well.

    Overall this was a pleasing movie for me. It's the most pure and entertaining action movie Dolph has down since Peacekeeper and the best he has looked in terms of action since Silent Trigger. Dolph is looking cool and modern these days and I eagerly await his next two movies, Defender (with, get this, Jerry Springer) and Retrograde (with Gary Daniels), which fingers crossed could appear this year. That would be 4 new Dolph films I have seen this year and after a lengthy spell of nearly two years without one before that I'm a happy Dolphamaniac people. ***
  • wanapoo_0932 December 2004
    I like my action films people, I like them fast, loud, and violent and the king of Swedish ass-whoopers, Dolph Lundgren is someone who I enjoy watching. I ain't a huge fan but I have to say I really enjoyed his early work, Punisher (The newer one sucks), I come In Peace (that was freakin cool movie, with the deadly CD's and the giant Aliens.) and Red Scorpion but a lot of his recent movies didn't do it for me. When I rent a film with this guy I want guns and fists and feet flying all over the place, and you get that here. I have seen a few of his recent ones, Stormcatcher (Bad!), Jill Rips (Boring!), Sweepers (Wha?!), and Hidden Agenda (good fights, too much damn talking!). Direct Action has a simple idea and leaves Dolph to look a bad-ass mo-fo. Dolph is a good action man, he has presence, he's cool, and unlkie Fatboy Seagal, he has stayed in great shape. I used to be a big Seagal fan but he's let me down. On the evidence of this movie, if Dolph keeps this kind of thing up then he's got himself a new fan. This has plenty of action. You have good hand to hand fights, okay shootouts and plenty of it. 7/10
  • "Direct Action" is one of the best direct-to-video action flicks ever.

    Frank Gannon (Lundgren) is about to blow the whistle on a group of dirty cops from the "Direct Action Unit". But first, he has to train his new partner, Billie Ross (Polly Shannon). During a drive to a coffee house, they are ambushed by the cops. Gannon kills them all. When some other members hear about this, they also try to kill them.

    The plot is simple, but exciting. All the action scenes are terrific. You don't usually get to see Lundgren use his hand-to-hand combat skills, when he does, it's awesome. He did all of his own stunts.

    Like Van Damme, Lundgren is branching out as an actor. He does a great job. Polly Shannon is a good foil for him. They have a nice chemistry.

    In the end: "Direct Action" is one of best action movies out there. Grab some popcorn, crank up the volume and you'll have a fun time.

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  • ghostman161 April 2007
    Dolph Lundgren is back with Direct Action. Dolph plays Frank Gannon a Veteran cop who is assigned a new partner played by Polly Shannon the Two now must fight a group of corrupt cops drug lords and other scum. Direct action is fun film that doesn't take itself to seriously. Other reviews say that the action is boring I thought the action was Cool and stylish with well staged shoot outs and cool fight scenes And good characters Dolph's character is a hard as nails chewing gum Loving cop who is incorruptible and Conrad Dunn is a good bad guy. To round up the review Direct action is a cool little action flick To watch on a boring rainy day 9 out of 10.
  • Given that I had read several positive reviews on this movie and that it comes from the hands of Sidney J Furie, a veteran for over 40 years responsible for 1960's spy thrillers like The Ipcress File and The Naked Runner and has also delivered some very slick direct to video action movies such as Top Of The World, The Rage and Hollow Point as well as the largely underrated 1991 theatrical release The Taking Of Beverly Hills. Furthermore, he also did Detention with Dolph Lundgren which was by no means great but I enjoyed it a lot more than many others did. Given that the general opinion of this was "a step up from Detention", I couldn't wait. Well, having seen the finished product it doesn't really surprise me it's been shelved for so long. It isn't bad, but it could be so much better.

    None of this can be blamed on Lundgren or any of the cast really for that matter, as much of them deliver acceptable to good performances. Lundgren especially deserves credit as he is in excellent shape and does very well in the action scenes. The film has a good sense of pacing, never letting up enough for the action to stop and plot itself is fine for the type of movie.

    What really lets this down is the very poor production values - it looks extremely cheap. No better than a Roger Corman produced Bloodfist film for example. Automatic weapons are fired at cars in the line of fire and they don't receive one bullet hole and no glass breaks. We just get a couple of very simple CGI sparks. This happens way too often, and becomes very hard to ignore. There is also some incredibly bad editing. Weather will change from clear Sunny skies to rain and back in seconds. And there's no interesting locations. All you'll get is residential areas and some abandoned factories. The budget of apparently 5-8 million certainly hasn't been well spent. Of course none of this really makes the movie any less watchable, but it's all those little touches that make a movie all that more enjoyable to watch.

    Overall, this is a decent, entertaining action picture with all the visual flair of a TV drama but it's worth a watch once and for Dolph Lundgren fans it will be a must. I would probably have enjoyed it more with lower expectations, but the overall low quality of the movie is something I just couldn't ignore. Sorry.
  • In Direct Action Dolph is an LA cop about to expose the rampant police corruption that surrounds his precinct every day.Before he can testify his fellow cops decide he is better of sleeping with the fishes,which puts Dolph into survival mode and on the run.Will he survive in the end?I think we already know that.

    Direct action is the 2nd pairing of Lundgren and veteran Director Sidney J. Furie.Both quite capable here.The plot has been done countless times.The supporting cast is okay.Polly Shannon does pretty well here.But what nearly sinks Direct action is over-Ambition.The budget for this was clearly too low.The movie ends up looking way TOO cheap for its own good.The script while okay,has its fill of clichés and twists that you can see coming a mile away.

    On the plus side,Dolph gets to demonstrate more of his martial arts prow-less.The fights are pretty good.

    I think some producer should put up about 10 million or more for the next Lundgren flick.He cannot keep making them so cheap.After all the good things I had heard about DR,It came off as a major disappointment.

    Its still better than the latest Steven Segal trash.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    direct action is the best Dolph lundgren vehicle since hidden agenda, and although it isn't as good or smart as that movie, direct action delivers just pure fighting and gun battles that lets Dolph do what Dolph does best, kicks ass, there is some kind of plot about police corruption but i wont go into it, but as an action film this delivers the goods, sure it isn't a masterpiece and the low budget shows at times, the amount of quality action on show here, more than makes up for it. all in all a solid Dolph lundgren movie that delivers what wev'e all come to expect from the action star and he does disappoint here
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this film on DVD. At the beginning it was a little bit boring, but later on the action started and as I think the story became interesting. You see bullets flying around but no car is damaged-O.K. this is bad, but what else can you expect from a low budget movie. At least I must say, that Dolph is making the best out of the fighting scenes. On the hole the picture was entertaining and fun to watch it!!!! I have watched many action B movies and I think direct action is one of the good ones. Sweden Dolph brings the best out of it and he doesn't look like he is now forty-nine. He kicks the younger ones .... The title "Direct Action" is good chosen-you will be surprised
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was looking forward to Dolph's latest effort especially after waiting over a year since his last release, the completely underwhelming DETENTION. This one seems to be a return to the films made in the mid-to-late 90s by say Dolph's compatriots like Steven Seagal, Sly Stallone, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. The story here is basic, a cop confronting corruption in his unit, out to stop them and to stop them from either killing him or discrediting him and clearing his name after the bad guys set him up. And here Dolph resorts several times to using the karate and related martial arts that he has not used much if at all say in his last picture. And it is welcome too.

    The fight scenes, to their credit, are more realistic than most depicted, and are not very long, although that fact contributes to the realism. Dolph takes on several creeps giving a store owner some crap and takes them out with either a kick, or a punch or a combination of the two. The guys don't say fight for five minutes straight, for example, although I wouldn't mind seeing such fights even though they are never all that real but they are helpful in moving the plots of these flicks along.

    The action is better here than in the usual Dolph flicks and seems more realistic than say in DETENTION, with both sides getting into the action, Dolph getting hit at one point; and all are better staged and edited, and they look like they fit with the story instead of simply existing.

    The time factor also helps move it along with Dolph having only one! day to train his new partner, find out who is behind the corruption and to foil the perpetrators.

    It is good to see Dolph back and I look forward to the next one.
  • jpintar9 July 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    Dolph Lungren plays an honest cop who is going to testify about police corruption on the force. First, he has to drive around a rookie woman police officer. Will they spend the rest of the day running from the corrupt cops wanting him dead? Of course, they will. Will they get into a lot of gun fights where everybody shoot at everybody else? Of course they will. Does this make for a pretty clichéd but pretty entertaining movie? You bet it does. I have definitely seen much worse films than this one. Sure it is predictable (is it a coincidence that one of the dirty cops looks like Al Pacino in Serpico) but it is fun to watch. You are not going to watch Oscar winning stuff, but it is worth your time to rent this movie out.
  • Most action films do not have great acting. I kinda took a liking to this film for some reason. I should really have rated it a 6 but something about it made it stand out I would watch it again
  • Timofey198023 March 2021
    Frank Gannon's last days as a police officer were a real challenge for him. Going on a well-deserved vacation, he could not assume that his former friends and associates, with whom he served for many years, are members of a corrupt police group that is engaged in laundering dirty money, drug trafficking and killing people they do not like. Their leader, Captain Stone, learns that Frank is suspicious and tries to bribe him. However, Frank is determined to report everything to the authorities and hand over the known members of the criminal organization. They are trying to accuse him of murdering a police officer, after which he is forced to hide from law enforcement officials and simultaneously conduct his own investigation...
  • Dolph does it again! Though maybe never a 'classic' movie, it is a classic 'Dolph' movie! A little more sophisticated than his earlier 'shoot'em up, close quarter combat, car crashes, lots of grunting fighting noises' films, though there is still plenty of the above. Synopsis: Dolph plays an outstanding police SWAT team member in a unit that has, unfortunately, several dirty members about whom Dolph is about to testify before the Grand Jury. Dolph has adversaries trying to kill him him, some expected & known, and some unexpected & not known. The local police, the FBI, and the CIA are all involved. The FBI is dirty (Considering the current state of the corrupt FBI this hits close to home!) and allied with the dirty SWAT team member drug laundering scheme. No skin & very little profanity so it is much more family friendly film. Also, there is some moral/socially redeeming quality to the movie in that Dolph is a 'good guy' who faces struggles/adversity with perseverance and eventually wins in the end. A good 'light' film to enjoy.
  • hillt-762974 December 2020
    If you like 80s action movies, this will feel about right. This has some great gun fighting and hand to hand combat scenes, and I really like the camera work in this film. The surroundings of the city are beautiful. Dolph is great in this film, and you can tell he had a lot of fun. Polly Shannon is a great rookie cop, and she made the movie even more entertaining. Conrad Dunn is a great main villain, and really should've been in more films at the time. He has the perfect voice and look of a crook, but he looks cool at the same time. The soundtrack is also a highlight, very well done and fits the style of the film well. The ending made me smile, and was worth getting to in my opinion. The production may not be the most elaborate, but there's a lot of neat guns in this movie I don't see very often in films like these. All in all, if you're a serious Dolph Lundgren fan, a fan of old school action films, or just like lower budget action movies... this is definitely one worth checking out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, it appears as if Dolph hasn't thrown in the acting towel yet. I suspect, much like other has-been action-heroes such as Seagal and Norris, that he is intending to carry on with these pale and low budget imitations of other, more successful movies, until he goes toes-up.

    Not that Direct Action is awful in the way that the last few Seagal films have been. It's pretty formulaic, but steady enough stuff. But just why do these people continue to make these sorts of films long after they have passed their prime? Why do they not accept that their time has gone and either go do something else, or if they must stay in film, at least try something more suitable? Who knows? Anyway, Direct Action is standard cop action fare. It is let down somewhat embarrassingly by the opening credits, which feature all the fight sequences and action stunts that you will later see again in the movie. I cannot explain why they thought this would be a good idea. Perhaps they thought that, by showing you the good bits first, it might encourage you to stay and sit through the whole film? Who can know. Anyway, what you see during the opening credits is what you get later on, so if you are on a tight schedule (or just plain can't stand to watch anymore) then you can leave at any time safe in the knowledge that you've seen all the fun parts.

    Inexplicably, the worst acting of the film probably has to go to the chick who played Dolph's cop partner's wife. After the inevitable death of her husband, she shows no signs of the loss in subsequent scenes, instead being uniformly cheerful. I could be kind and suggest that these scenes were filmed first and that she hadn't read the script properly, thus not knowing her husband was supposed to have just died, but that would probably be giving the script way too much credit.

    Anyway, the movie isn't great. Best to save it for a VERY rainy day when you don't have any paint to watch dry.
  • You know an action movie is going to be horrible if the soundtrack mainly consists of rap. This movie starts off with rap and has it playing through most of the movie, it's unbearable and really brought down my vote. While watching the opening credits, along with the rap soundtrack, you get treated to all the fighting scenes in the movie so before the movie even starts you've seen pretty much all of the action which is what's supposed to draw you into this movie. While the angle of looking at a drivers face through the rear view isn't a bad shot to use, the director really overdoes the shot by using it every time someone is in a car and more than once each time. The story is decent but nothing special and isn't strong enough to keep you through all the crap. It's too bad Dolph had done this movie, he wants to keep a low profile in the movie industry but this is the absolute wrong way to do it.
  • Dolph Ludgren is Frank Gannon, a cop who was in the D.A.U (Direct Action Unit) a special unit of elite cops focusing on gang violence, drugs, and prostitution. Billie Ross (Polly Shannon) is a female detective trainee who Gannon is assigned to show the ropes to. Other cops are after him after he goes to the feds and rolls over on his fellow boys in blue. One of my friends in the UK sent this to me saying that he liked it and he think I would too. Plus he knows I like seeing movies before they're released in the states. What I saw was a fairly standard cop action drama flick. But a better than average as far as Dolph Lungren is concerned. Not a surprise that it went straight to video in the least, as it adds nothing new to the genre at all and the whole film is strictly routine.

    My Grade: C-
  • Dolph Lundgren is one of my favorite B movie actors, so when I got a chance to see his movie "Direct Action", you can be sure that I took it. In this movie, Lundgren is in fine form, giving a likable and relaxed performance, and giving it his all in the action sequences. Unfortunately, the script and direction he was working with are disappointments. The script has a number of plot holes (if Lundgren's character wants to testify, why doesn't the prosecution give him some protection?), and has a number of twists and turns that will be very familiar to those well versed in B movies. And while Lundgren gives it his all in the action sequences, the action is directed and edited in a way that never rises above routine. The most striking thing about the entire enterprise is its strange setting. While Canadian director Sidney J. Furie makes no attempt to hide Canadian license plates as well as Canadian businesses like Mr. Sub and Swiss Chalet, at the same time there are a number of references to American things like the FBI and the CIA!
  • This movie was inspired by the Rampart scandal, which refers to widespread corruption in the CRASH (or Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) anti-gang unit of the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) Rampart Division in the late 1990s. It doesn't change the fact that this is another brainless action movie about corruption in police. The plot has been done countless times before with better results. The script is full of clichés and twists that you can see coming a mile away.

    "Direct action" looks extremely cheap. There's no interesting locations. All you'll get is residential areas and some abandoned factories. Funny thing - The opening credits feature all the fight sequences and action stunts that you will later see again in the movie. Also at the beginning of the movie, a thug that Lundgren beats up can be seen wearing a Punisher t-shirt emblazoned with the famous skull design. Dolph Lundgren played the title role in "The Punisher".

    All in all it's a typical cheap direct-to-video-action movie. Better watch paint dry. I give it 1/10.