Action films of the old are hard to come by these days with excess special effects and over the top (and sometime un-realistic action) but when it’s in the hands of true master of craft, Michael Jai White, hard to compete with it.
The story follows two leads, Bryant, played by White (Universal Soldier: The Return, Spawn & The Dark Knight) a construction worker that keeps to himself and trains himself every morning, and Oscar (played by Luca Oriel, Shameless US & Devil’s Whisper), a school kids who’s trying to look after his family whilst his brother Hector (played by Guillermon Ivan, Vantage Point & The Strike) is in prison but also teaches himself martial arts but imitating Bryant’s training every morning.
While Oscar eventually becomes a student of Bryant, learns how quickly it comes to him and upon Hector’s return (who we learn is the leader of one of the local gangs), Oscar wishes to try and earn money but also respect, and attends a local underground street fight.
Our story kicks into gear where Oscar takes out the main competitor utilising the skills and, more importantly, the techniques his learned from his teacher Bryant, which makes its way online and back to a crime boss Sonny Kilbane (played by Tom Berenger, Born on the Fourth of July, Inception, Training Day & Faster).
As a hit gets placed on Bryant, for a reason we find out as the story progressors, the string of events leads to a back-to-back action scenes paired with hand-to-hand combat sequences that challenging to even those of mainstream action, which is what Michael Jai White is famous for.
White’s constant dedication to his craft continues to show which each film and is the reason, I for one, will never tire of watching him work and do what he was born to do. Provide amazing action films, with grounded story that will continue to entertain all those who love the genre.
Channelling good old fashion films of the 80s & 90s, this film homages them by means of Commando, Rambo and even a franchise White starred in – Universal Soldier in reference to action – along with the comfortable run time of 1hr 28min.
Set pieces are what makes independent films stand out against some mainstream, and that is the use of locations and not studios, which when you watch the film you can tell.
If you’re up for a good action film that you can sit back and relax to, go no further then As Good As Dead, and if anybody is a fan of White’s you might notice a certain cameo.
As Good As Dead – Starring Michael Jai White, Tony Berenger, Luca Oriel, Guillermo Ivan & Gabriela Quezada, and directed by R. Ellis Frazier – out now on DVD and Video on Demand (Google TV, Apple TV) from Eagle Entertainment Australia.
Thank you to Dead By Dawn Australia and Eagle Entertainment for supplying preview access.