These days, cinematic counterfeits of the “John Wick” franchise litter the action landscape. It’s hard not to roll your eyes when another steps into the fray. But scriptwriter-director Kirk Caouette’s âAmerican Badgerâ microbudget, a frontal stylistic assault on the senses, traces a distinct path. Caouette plays the role of a lone assassin named Badger, locked up with his dog in a low-rent motel and still mourning the death of his wife from cancer.
The badger is not a typical silent killer. It leaves a mess. The fight sequences, especially the one in a neon nightclub, derive their vigor from slanting angles, a kinetic shaking camera, and slow-motion effects. His murders are vicious in their brutality and shocking in their blood. So it’s a surprise when this moody assassin falls in love with an emotionally damaged sex worker named Velvet (Andrea Stefancikova). It is the outlines of vulnerability that Caouette discovers in this romance, through her measured performance, that I have found so fascinating. He diverts this film from the pastiche. âAmerican Badgerâ is his own animal.
Mike Wade (Scott Adkins) is a veteran who didn’t quite have the killer instinct to become a champion. He finds himself drifting into a temporary job looking for scrap metal in an abandoned hospital. Distraught prison warden Ericson (Dolph Lundgren) needs $ 400,000 to get a transplant that will prolong his daughter’s life. In exchange for protection, an inmate reveals to Ericson a stock of money hidden under the hospital. A brutal drug dealer (Robert Berlin) is also in pursuit of the money. The three compete against each other to retrieve the loot before the building explodes.
Directed by Lundgren, âCastle Fallsâ loops a heist movie setup through a buddy action setting as Wade and Ericson accidentally become partners, making them a charming, odd couple. While the clinic’s open hallways allow for simple and effective sets for the film’s frantic shootouts, the main men are the toss: Adkins’ bad mood reflects an unlucky loner. Lundgren takes pleasure in stretching his dramatic muscles. Watching their easy chemistry intertwine is worth the price of admission.
Jens (Simon Sears) and Mike (Jacob Hauberg Lohmann) are cops with different temperaments. Jens looks perfectly clean while Mike lives on the verge of rage. The couple nevertheless share one thing in common: they were present the night their colleagues sent a young Muslim teenager to the hospital. When an already oppressed Danish neighborhood learns of the boy’s death, everyone in Svalegarden’s plans turns on patrol officers Jens and Mike.
Bearing similarities to director Ladj Ly’s crime drama “Les MisÃ©rables”, “Enforcement” by writer-directors Frederik Louis Hviid and Anders Olholm is a crime action film with deep socio-political themes. While Jens would like to think he’s different from Mike, he doesn’t stop his partner from harassing Amos (Tarek Zayat), a teenager who once played on the police youth football team. Jens also refuses to provide testimony that will put Mike behind bars for police brutality.
In “Enforcement” there are no good cops, especially for the rightfully fed up Muslim community. Their neighborhood becomes a storm of Molotov cocktails and marauding bands of vigilantes in search of officers to punish. It’s a movie that thoughtfully rejects the phrase “It’s just a few bad apples.”
The latest film by Hong Kong director Benny Chan (“New Police History”), who died in 2020, “Raging Fire” stars Donnie Yen as upright police detective Officer Cheung. The righteous investigator has a pregnant ballerina wife (Qin Lan) and rebels against corrupt leaders ordering her to drop the charges against an influential associate. These are minor issues compared to the man chasing him, his former protÃ©gÃ© Yau (a tragic Nicholas Tse), who has just been released from prison and seeks revenge on his former mentor.
It’s a simple premise that happily turns to the morally illogical. But it’s the exhilarating fight choreography that’s the call here. In this throwback to the heyday of Hong Kong action cinema, Yen gracefully moves through large-scale sets with muscular precision. The climax of the film, shot with haunting fluidity in a housing project, sees Yen’s corps ballet jumping, swinging and moving through an entire neighborhood of thugs. It’s the kind of propulsive action that modern films sorely lack today.
“Secret Magic Control Agency”
Three days before the King (Marc Thompson) celebrates his birthday, he is kidnapped by the witch Ilvira (Erica Schroeder), who uses black magic to create monsters made out of rainbow-colored spaghetti and macaroons. -sky. To find the monarch, the government enlists the help of the Secret Magic Control Agency, a gang of high-tech spies governing all wizards and the use of potions and spells in the kingdom. But after their best agent, Gretel (Sylvana Joyce), follows a false trail, she turns to Hansel (Nicholas Corda), her quack brother and self-proclaimed “greatest wizard in the realm”, for help.
A fun reimagining of director Aleksey Tsitsilin’s The Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the animated adventure “Secret Magic Control Agency” follows a buddy-cop formula combining the professional in the tight with a clowning and intelligent partner of the street. The difference here is that Hansel and Gretel are estranged siblings who use this affair to mend their relationship. The rich and vibrant animation is complemented by light comedy; some playful cupcakes are reminiscent of minions. And with its tender energy, this is, at its best, a dark, whimsical tale to help younger siblings learn to get along.