I’ve heard about this movie since it was released, especially in relation to its shockingly similar plot to Dredd. All I had heard about it was the awesome action.
And that’s what I got: a simple plot and awesome action.
The story is of a group of police officers tasked with taking a high rise from a drug lord, and they have to fight their way up and then back down. Their plan to sneak up gets shot, and action takes over. Bullets quickly run out, and everyone rips out their martial arts skills (which are surprisingly uniform). It’s thin, but fun, much like John Wick, which is also built on a simple premise and then delivers well-executed action for its relatively short running time.
I enjoyed what I got, but it felt like the steps necessary to make the movie better would have been easy enough to take. There are a pair of brothers on both sides, one police officer and the other a lieutenant to the drug lord, but the mere existence of the relationship isn’t revealed until about halfway through the movie and even then, the dialogue leaves the audience guessing for a good part of the conversation what is actually going on. There’s also an information dump towards the end about the nefarious reasons that the police lieutenant took the officers in without telling anyone else about it. It’s not that the reasons themselves are poor (they make a good bit of sense), it’s that it all comes out in the last five minutes. We’ve known that the police lieutenant is bad news for a while, which is really all we need, so if the actual reasons are going to come out, don’t end your pulse-pounding action movie with two people talking about it for several minutes at the end.
I wrote more about my problems with the movie than what I liked, but that’s because what I liked was really simple and most of the movie, and what I didn’t just required a bit more explanation. The movie really is quite a bit of fun. It’s grungy and rather brutal in its violence, and the chaos is very well managed from beginning to end. I just wish that the plot outside the main action (the lieutenant’s nefarious reasons) had been handled more evenly and that the brothers stuff had been more central to the actual story and, again, handled more evenly.
Netflix Rating: 4/5
Quality Rating: 3/4