REVIEW: Black Rose (2017)

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2017, ITN Distribution/Hollywood Storm/Czar Pictures

Director:
Alexander Nevsky
Producer:
Alexander Nevsky
Writers:
Alexander Nevsky (story)
Brent Huff (screenplay)
George Sanders (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Ruby Harbon
Editing:
Stephen Adrianson

Cast:
Alexander Nevsky (Major Vladimir Kazatov)
Kristanna Loken (Emily Smith)
Adrian Paul (Matt Robinson)
Robert Davi (Captain Frank Dalano)
Robert Madrid (Antonio Banuelos)
Matthias Hues (Black Mask Gang Leader)
Oksana Sidorenko (Sandra)
Olga Rodionova (Natalya)
Polina Butorina (Polina)
Dmitriy Bikbaev (Gary)

Russian powerhouse Alexander Nevsky stars and directs this murder mystery that has quite a twist and what some expect in terms of a partnership breaks the mold here.

The Los Angeles Police Department are in a major bind. Four Russian woman in the seedy underworld of Hollywood have been found murdered. The killer leaves a black rose as their calling card with notes in Russian. Captain Frank Dalano must take drastic measures to ensure that there will be no more victims. The Mayor and Dalano have decided to bring in a top detective from Russia to join the case for them to blend in with the neighborhood.

Enter Major Vladimir Kazatov, a tough as nails cop who does things in an unorthodox manner. When he arrives to Los Angeles, he is partnered with Detective Banuelos, until his attempt at stopping a robbery forces Banuelos to tell Dalano to give Kazatov another partner. Enter profiler Emily Smith, who can be as tough as Kazatov in terms of her sharp wits. Together, these new partners must do what it takes to ensure that no more murders occur.

Alexander Nevsky, the Russian bodybuilder turned actor and filmmaker, stars, produces, and directs this murder mystery that may bring the 1980’s film Red Heat to mind as Nevsky plays a Russian detective who is hired to go to Los Angeles to help solve a series of murders involving Russian women. Nevsky’s Kazatov plays the tough cop whose methods are questionable, especially when his introductory scene involves stopping a bank robbery led by a cameo appearance by Matthias Hues of No Retreat, No Surrender II fame. Nevsky doesn’t seem to be stern faced like Schwarzenegger’s Ivan Danko, and you can’t help but smirk when his partners ask if his methods are what they do in Russia where he will respond, “It’s how I do things”. The film was originally made in 2014.

Kristanna Loken makes for a great partner in Emily Smith, a top profiler who has the street smarts and attempts to help Kazatov find the Black Rose Killer. One would expect some sort of romance somewhere between Kazatov and Smith because in a typical movie of this nature, that’s what is expected. However, it is clear that Kazatov has a respect for his partner and knows the priority at hand. So a romance between these two is not in the cards and that’s a good thing. Adrian Paul and Robert Davi bring ample support as a by the book L.A.P.D. detective who doesn’t think Kazatov is a reliable asset and the police commander who supports our team as he feels they are the only ones capable of stopping the killings.

There is only one problem with the film, and it is a very minor one. It’s the use of what looks like CGI in lieu of squibs for people getting shot. At times, it looks pretty bad. However, the special effects for the most part are done quite well when it comes to seeing the victims get tortured before ultimately dying. They know their limits when it comes to showing the torture scenes as they didn’t clearly want to go to Saw or Hostel level but to bring it close enough for an action thriller.

Black Rose is actually a pretty good action thriller with Alexander Nevsky leading the charge with a great ally in Kristanna Loken’s street smart profiler. Definitely worth checking out this film if you are into murder mysteries.

WFG RATING: B+

ITN Distribution will be releasing this film in select theaters on April 28 followed by a VOD and DVD release on May 2.

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