24 February 2007 | aloep
Clichéd, generic and dull. I can't think of a single reason you should go out of your way to see this.
My expectations for this weren't high as it was directed by veteran hack Art Camacho and the trailer looked awful. And it was more or less as bad as I expected but I felt compelled to check it out anyway because of the number of well known B-movie stars in the cast. The script is horribly clichéd, "One who lives by the rules, one who lives to break them", Don "The Dragon" Wilson's performance for the most part was terrible and he's starting to move a lot slower with age, his fights are poorly choreographed also. Olivier Gruner has improved quite a bit with time in both his acting and his English and did a passable job in the tired role as the clichéd "play by his own rules" cop. Diana Kauffman is sexy as the protected witness, but that's about all I can say in her favour and it's not remotely convincing when she finds herself attracted to an ageing Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
The action is all extremely poor. Much of it consists of small scale shootouts where the bad guys fire, good guys fire back, bad guys fall etc. where in some cases it's difficult to see who's shooting who. The fight scenes aren't good, Olivier Gruner fights much more naturally than Don "The Dragon" Wilson, who's fight scenes are so badly cut that it's very hard to see what's going on. The opening fight scene with him is particularly awful, I could have done better with the right choreographer and he was "arguably the best kickboxer in the world".
While a supporting cast of Fred Williamson, Martin Kove and Gary Busey may look appealing on paper it's best to go with the old "Never judge a book by it's cover" in this case. Fred Williamson spends his time in one motel room in the opening scene and is shot after a few minutes. Gary Busey is one of the central characters but spends all of his screen time sitting in an office until towards the end when he walks into a parking lot, gets in a car, turns the key in the ignition and it cuts to a stock footage shot of a BMW exploding in a cobbled street which is very obviously somewhere in Eastern Europe. The shot is taken from Mission Impossible and was shot in Prague, yet this movie is set and filmed in Los Angeles. There are even Ladas and other Eastern European cars visible, not to mention the fact that there aren't even any cobbled streets or historic architecture in LA. You can also clearly see that the car Busey gets into is directly facing a wall. The BMW that explodes is sitting in the middle of a wide cobbled street. The fact that easily spotted errors were left in the film proves how little even the crew cared as you would think that they could have found stock footage which at least matched the location. Martin Kove appears in one scene in the first quarter, then appears at the end only to get shot dead. I've still not worked out a good reason for the existence of this character in the film other than to add a little more B-grade "star power" to the front cover.
Two CGI explosions. One mismatched stock footage explosion. Minimal property damage. Several poorly choreographed fight scenes. Lots of boring gunfights.
On DVD in the USA now as "Crooked" with a price tag of around $20. Fans of Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Olivier Gruner, Gary Busey, Fred Williamson or Martin Kove may think they're somehow obliged to check it out anyway. I have only got two things to say: "you're not" and "don't". I suggest you avoid it like a bubonic rat.