Close Range full movie review - A Rock'em, Sock'em Shoot'em Up!!!
"High Voltage" director Isaac Florentine's straightforward, formulaic, B-movie melodrama "Close Ranger" qualifies as a nimble, fast-paced thriller that displays Scott Adkins' enviable martial arts skills.
Our resilient hero contends against all odds, with a murderous Mexican drug cartel. Adkins served as executive producer of this predictable but exciting low-budget, nonsense brimming with stock stereotypes. Florentine and Adkins stage several adrenaline-laced shootouts, close-quarters combat encounters, and vehicle chases. Of course, you've seen all this done before, but it is carried out this time with a modicum of style. Incidentally, the indestructible Adkins hero imitates Rambo in his skillful ability to outwit his adversaries, and he shows no compunctions against killing his enemies even when they don't have guns in their fists. At the same time, Adkins' hero is anti-heroic because he is a fugitive. Nick Chinlund makes a corrupt, nasty sheriff, and Tony Perez earns out wrath as a slimy villain. Tal Lazar's dynamic cinematography is always in the right place to capture the gritty action. "Close Range" boils down to a search for a flash drive that means everything to the chief villain.
"Close Range" unfolds with this preface: "In ancient Japan, a soldier was called a Samurai, meaning 'the one who serves.' When the Samurai became masterless, he was called a Ronin. Some Ronin became wanders helping those in need. Others became outlaws. A few were both." The mayhem erupts in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Colton MacReady (Scott Adkins of "Expendables 2") ambles into an official building that bears the seal Poder Judicial De La Federacion. Armed with nothing more than a small knife that masquerades as a belt buckle, he kills at least ten Mexicans, stabbing them to death, and then rescues a girl, Hailey (Madison Lawlor of "Brush with Danger"), who had been taken hostage but not harmed by her captors. Cartel leader Fernando Gracia (Tony Perez of "Gang Related") has the underling who fled the fracas to warn him about it killed not only because he abandoned his compadres but also because he lost a flash drive on the key chain. After she escapes captivity, Hailey wants to know why they took her hostage. Colton suggests that Hailey ask her step-dad as they cruise back into Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Later, we learn from a cartel lieutenant that Hailey was their "go-between in Nogales." When Walt Reynolds (Jake La Botz of "Rambo") supplied them with narcotics at his farm, one of the cartel henchmen thought the package felt light so they abducted the girl. They took the girl. Meantime, Gracia contacts the man on his payroll in Arizona, Sheriff Jasper Calloway (Nick Chinlund of "Eraser"), who feels reluctant about working for Garcia. Calloway identifies Colton as Walt's wife's brother. "He was a soldier," Calloway tells Garcia, "but nobody has seen him around for a few years. He's been on the run." Garcia vows to deliver justice for the deaths of his hombres and his gang, known as The Bulletproof Cartel, races across the border in their ominous black SUVs at Nogales. No sooner has Colton brought Hailey back home to his sister, Angela (Caitlin Keats of "Kiss of the Damned"), than Angela's scumbag husband arrives and rants about Colton's daredevil heroics and explains that he had the situation under control. Consequently, scenarists Chad Law and Shane Dax Taylor lay out all the narrative essentials in the first 2o minutes of this concise 85-minute epic about its hero, villains, henchmen, and their objectives.
Forty-eight minutes into the action, we learn that Garcia wants the flash drive that Victor wore looped around his neck because it contains everything, names, bank accounts, stash house locations, etc. Indeed, the foolish Garcia made the mistake of putting all his private information about his drug operations on that flash drive. Calloway and his deputies arrive at Reynolds' farm, but his deputies are unable to arrest Colton. Later, when they try again, the Cartel has arrived. Garcia has shot Walt in the head at point blank range, and his henchmen have iced both ignorant deputies who didn't know that Calloway was on Garcia's payroll. Naturally, Garcia's men are no match for Colton who can out gun them, out kick them, etc. Eventually, Colton rescues Angela and Hailey and the three of them hole up in their ranch house while the Mexican lay siege to the place. No matter how many gunmen that Garcia sends into the ranch house, they cannot cut down Colton. The finale between Colton and Calloway has a touch of Sergio Leone with all its close-ups and dramatic suspense.
Although it amounts to a low-budget shoot'em up saga, "Close Range" remains sufficiently invigorating to maintain attention throughout its 85 minutes. The biggest complaint is its hopeless adherence conventions. Character blast away with a hopeless number of bullets and hit their targets. The hero pours lead into a doorway when he should be firing at either side of the door where his assailants await him. The choreography of the personal combat fights is above-average. Florentine doesn't wear out his welcome, and "Close Range" is good to the last shot despite its shortcomings. Fans of the genre should be disappointed.