Thursday, 11 April 2013

Red Scorpion (1988)

It's funny how people can go for many years without seeing classic movies. There are so many to get through, and so little time. It's also funny how many movies can be considered classics in different genres. I had never seen Red Scorpion up until today. I soon realised that I had missed out on one of the classics. It's a testosterone- soaked action movie that puts many others to shame, features a great central performance by Dolph Lundgren and looks as if the budget was made up of 50% money and 50% blood, sweat and tears.

The plot sees mighty Dolph playing a mighty Russian KGB agent who is tasked with killing a revolutionary leader. He has no problems following orders until he starts to look closer at the situation and find certain elements that don't seem to add up. Eventually, he ends up being left hung out to dry by his country and decides that he will turn things around and fight back. After all, he is spetsnaz (translation = Russian special forces agent).

The screenplay by Arne Olsen is competent enough, and the direction by Joseph Zito is pretty good, but there are two things that make Red Scorpion such a treat for action movie fans. The first thing is the action sequences. It seems like a no-brainer for an action movie to have good action sequences, but anyone who has seen as many Steven Seagal movies as I have can tell you that far too many action movies just don't deliver the genre goods. Red Scorpion, on the other hand, delivers far beyond expectations. The movie is bookended by two absolutely storming set-pieces, stuff that really gets the blood pumping and raises a smile, but it also has a number of smaller, equally enjoyable, fights and outbursts of violence throughout, keeping it perfectly paced and never dull. Let me put it this way, if you look at my rating for the movie and think it might be a bit high then bear in mind that I almost went even higher. In my opinion, the film is THAT good in the action department.

The second thing that makes this film such a treat is the cast. Lundgren has always been a great action star, it's just a shame that he never got the A-list career to show for it (if you don't enjoy his movies then get back to me after watching Dark Angel AKA I Come In Peace - if you're still not convinced then I will play THIS clip until you cave in and accept Dolph as the best actor to ever perform an Elvis song at an award show EVER!). As well as Dolph, you get the presence of the great M. Emmet Walsh. Yes, M. Emmet Walsh stars alongside Dolph Lundgren, even sharing some screentime during the fantastic action sequences. If that's not enough for you then how about the addition of the great Brion James? Oh yes, he gets a few good moments in this one. T. P. McKenna plays a general, Al White and Ruben Nthodi are among the revolutionaries and the prolific Carmen Argenziano gets to have some fun treating Mr. Lundgren quite badly.

Just writing this review has made me want to put the movie on again, it's THAT much fun. If you've somehow managed to avoid the movie until now, as I had, then correct that mistake as soon as possible. You won't regret it, even during the strange and wonderful scenes that make the title so appropriate.

На здоровье, which I THINK should say na zdorovie.


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