Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 7 May 2017
Well, here we are. The fourth entry in the truly bonkers series that began way back in the early '90s as a throwaway piece of business for then two fledgling muscle-heads vying to take the box office crown from Schwarzenegger and Stallone has actually made it this far. Sure, we've had some junk along the way (that second one was bobbins) but this latest foray into low budget crapola is anything but: Its a honest to goodness action packed nut job with visual flourishes to rival David Lynch after a hefty night munching scratchins and chugging shandy. Let's find out why.
We first meet John (Scott Adkins) as he awakens to discover his family has been brutally murdered in a home invasion by a group of masked assailants, led in a weird quirk of fate by original series hero Luc Deveraux (a chrome domed Jean Claude Van Damme). Now alone and distraught, John is haunted by the event and vows to hunt JC down. Problem is, he's being continually hunted himself by a crazed UniSol named Magnus (Part 3's Andrei Arlovski) who will stop at nothing to preclude John from fulfilling his mission of vengeance. Along the way, we are treated to weirdo moments of photosensitive epilepsy, mental bouts of energetic sex, blistering action sequences that always end in a blood spattered pay-off and some of the stupidest dialogue ever put to film. And, that's just the first fifteen minutes.
This third sequel is a doozy: Off the chain bonkers but with a real dedication to B-movie violence - imagine Sam Peckinpah had a drunken one night stand with Salvador Dali and spawned an angry brute of a fellow, who between blowing people away with wild abandon, felt the need to write a novel about pretty ponies... Well, this is that offspring. Returning franchise favourites Van Damme and Lundgren seem to be having a ball and taking none of this craziness seriously. They're roles maybe a mystery and pose more questions that answers, but that's part of this Rubiks Cube of a movies' inherent charm - nothing is what it seems and if anything, tries its hardest to leave the audience busily scratching their noggin. The screenplay by director John Hyams (encoring from the third chapter), Doug Magnuson and Jon Greenhalgh is a jovial head**k and never allows you to get comfortable: From the impenetrable tonal shifts to the weirdo character beats - its an odd fish from the opening frame till the last - but luckily, they didn't leave us action junkies on the floor wanting. Oh no. Whatever 'arty farty decisions' regarding the screenplay were, these boys knew this series' bread n' butter was the bruising and boy, does this one deliver - its an action fans dream come true: Bone crunching, pistol blasting, head busting, car decimating - its all here and more. And whatever lead Scott Adkins may lack in the thespian arena of his art he more than makes up for it in the 'kicking folks in the family jewels' department - as he cuts a swathe of destruction in his bid to put an end to Van Damme' truly nutty reign, whose follically bereft bonse isn't the most subtle of nods to one Colonel Kurtz...
StudioCanal's Uncut UK Blu-Ray release is a joy to behold. Bolstering a strong visual and audio presentation, everything is a spot on and worthy of the format (the movie is well shot by cinematographer Yaron Levy and edited to within an inch of its life by Hyams). The steelbook too is nicely produced and adds to the overall package - ensuring this is a slam dunk of a purchase (especially for the price Amazon are asking). All in all, a much better entry than warranted and a recommended purchase for adventurous action junkies who like a little 'weird' with their meat 'n potatoes. Add to Basket.