Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' The 10 Best Films Of 2004 The 10 Best Films Of 2004 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Review: After Dark Action Pics 'El Gringo,' 'The Philly Kid,' 'Stash House' & 'Transit' An Unven Offering Of Genre Fare

The Playlist By Gabe Toro | The Playlist June 9, 2012 at 11:04AM

After Dark has been busy releasing a full slate of genre fare, and today we take a look at the After Dark Action lineup which dropped no less than four new movies in May. They each had a brief theatrical run are now available on VOD. Read on below to hear our thoughts on these movies featuring Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Jim Caviezel and more.
1

El Gringo
After Dark has been busy releasing a full slate of genre fare, and today we take a look at the After Dark Action lineup which dropped no fewer than four new movies in May. They each had a brief theatrical run are now available on VOD. Read on below to hear our thoughts on movies featuring Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Jim Caviezel and more.

"El Gringo"
Martial artist Scott Adkins stars in "El Gringo" as a popular action staple, the lone man with a big bag o' money. Wandering into a small Mexican town, it's not long before an endless wave of cartoon bad guys puts a bounty on his head. He responds with fists and feet. And there's your movie!

Eduardo Rodriguez opts for spaghetti western themes and hoary character archetypes that simply reveal he's mistaken Robert Rodriguez for Sergio Leone. Freeze frames highlight colorful character names (El Jefe is one), though they don't really get much to do to emphasize their identities amidst the action. In the middle of this chaos, Adkins shares a wry smile -- he's handsome, but amused more than amusing, and it's a testament to his notable skill that you root for him to get this money out of there.

Christian Slater shows up late as a corrupt cop looking for the cash, but as the film limps towards ninety minutes, it's clear his "celebrity" was what they were chasing by hiring him for a large but inconsequential role. "El Gringo" gets bogged down in overly-plotty nonsense, but the fight choreography and shootouts are fast-paced and inventive, allowing the film to come alive in spite of its time-wasting peripherals. Surprisingly, it's the most lively and inventive of the After Dark Action films, though that merely highlights the weirdly downbeat and dour nature of each picture. [B-]

The Philly Kid

"The Philly Kid"
After an elaborate only-in-the-movies misunderstanding that leaves a police officer dead, young Dillon (Wes Chatham) takes a trip to the hoosegow. Emerging ten years later, he finds old pal Jake (Devon Sawa: he's looked better) in deep debt with some shady gamblers. Jake manages to introduce Dillon to the world of Mixed Martial Arts, and suddenly A Star Is Born. But Dillion's attempts to stay on the straight and narrow are compromised by the same hanger-ons you'll find in the darkness of any sport, and soon he's pulled in all directions by the needs, and soon the threats, of others.

Chatham is a fairly humorless, wooden lead, but he looks good in the ring, and the combat sequences are vivid and believable. Too bad about everything else: new mentor L.A. Jim (Neal McDonough) is a compendium of every tough manager in any sports movie you've ever seen, while outside threats like Arthur Letts (Michael Jai White, essentially a cameo) simply comprise a line of indistinguishable grunts. Moreover, poor Sawa looks like he's been through some pretty ugly real-life ordeals to get to where he's at, and seeing him playing a chatty, possibly-diseased ball of impulse vices feels like the film's only authentic element. "The Philly Kid" never gains traction as a film about anything other than what it's about -- you've seen it before you've seen it. [C-]

This article is related to: Dolph Lundgren, After Dark Films, Jim Caviezel, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates