Countdown full movie review - An Improbable but Entertaining Action Thriller
"Turistas" director John Stockwell delivers an improbable but entertaining action thriller "Countdown" that qualifies as a genuine guilty pleasure.
This WWF financed abduction opus concerns a mad Russian bomber who has strapped an explosives device to seven-year old child and demands a bundle of dough for his life. "Countdown" generates a sufficient amount of suspense and tension despite some uninspired performances. The derivative Richard ("Expendables 2") Wenk and Michael ("November Man") Finch screenplay manages to create some white-knuckled excitement as an iconoclast Seattle detective, Ray Fitzpatrick (Dolph Ziggler), scrambles against the clock?about five hours or so?to locate the adolescent against nerve racking odds. Stockwell proves himself a fair hand at staging the action with some competence. "Countdown" could have been twice as pulsating in the hands of a director like either "Bourne Supremacy" director Paul Greengrass or "Nightwatch" helmer Timur Bekmambetov. Make no mistake, Stockwell doesn't malinger, but "Countdown" should have been an exercise in white-hot mayhem. Indeed, towards the end, Stockwell succeeds in ratcheting up the pace. "Pound of Flesh" lenser Cliff Hokanson captures the action from evocative camera angles, while composer Claude Foisy accentuates the pace with a sizzling orchestral score. The cast struggles to convince us that they are the real thing. Given several years, Ziggler could develop into a capable actor. In the meantime, he handles the demands of the physical action with just enough verve to compensate for his superficial acting. Ziggler surpasses his pedestrian but attractive co-star Katharine Isabelle who isn't believable at all. Glenn 'Kane' Jacobs musters more credibility as Ray's superior. The opening scene is somewhat interesting because our audacious detective shoots his undercover partner to make a believer out of the arms dealer that he is trying to bust. Altogether, "Countdown" contains enough kick and tick to land somewhere between routine and above-average. The Seattle scenery is a feast for the eyes.