He’s gone from WWE to John Wick and now, Oleg Prudius leads up this indie action film that is in the vein of Taken, and yet makes the most of his role in an otherwise run-by-the-numbers film.
Yuri Gradenko was once a member of the Ukrainian Special Forces, skills in firearms and Sambo. However, after a career in the military, he has decided to retire to Miami, Florida and start his life over. While dealing with a divorce from ex-wife and personal bodyguard Max, Yuri’s outlet of happiness comes in the form of their daughter Julia. However, his world is about to be even turned more upside down.
When Julia is offered a modeling job, she accepts it happily. She soon learns to regret her decision as she finds herself kidnapped and part of a human trafficking ring. When Yuri learns what has happened, he attempts to confront the club owner who she works for but is beaten and left for dead when he is dumped in the river. When he escapes, he gets help from his hacker bestie Lou and his ex-wife Max to rescue Julia and to do so, Yuri will have to rely on his old skills to get his daughter back.
This action film in the vein of Taken is nothing really special, but the highlight is the star of the film. WWE fans will instantly recognize Oleg Prudius for his run as Vladimir Kozlov, an expert in Sambo, the Russian martial art that Prudius had excelled in. Eventually, this led to a film career where he joined the elite 87Eleven Stunt Team and would appear in the John Wick films. The experience has led him here to star and produce this film where we get to see Prudius use both his Sambo skill set and do his hardest to play the heroic “man with a past” who uses his old skills to rescue his daughter.
If there is a major difference between this and Taken meets Commando, it is the character of Lou, played by Luis Da Silva Jr. He’s the definition of comic relief when it comes to his scenes with Prudius. There are two highlight scenes that capture Da Silva Jr.’s knack for comedy. One is where Yuri has just returned from nearly being killed and he goes to his old house to get his arsenal, confronting ex Max’s new man in the process. The second piece happens during the final action set piece.
Shannon Murray makes the most of her role as Yuri’s ex-wife Max while Oscar Corbella and Eli Zen play your typical over the top villains in human trafficker Broussard and nightclub owner Camp. Of course, there has to be the stereotypical muscleman henchman who could be a match for Prudius and he comes in the form of Dutch bodybuilding champ Olivier Richters, who will be seen in the upcoming Borderlands live-action film.
Which brings us to the action. The action is a bit over the top and at times, looks pretty shoddy when it comes to Prudius showing his Sambo skills. Some of the hits look more like misses due in part of technical aspects of filming fights. On the plus side, Yuri does show his resilience when he is outnumbered and has two fight scenes. One takes place in the nightclub where his daughter is supposedly working and the other in an auto body shop with the help of Lou.
Miami Heat brings nothing special to the table and that’s okay. This is a definite popcorn flick with Oleg Prudius making the most of his role with Luis Da Silva Jr.’s comic timing being a savior to an otherwise Taken rip-off.
WFG RATING: C+
KMDG presents a Moscow Mauler production in association with Cinemo and Full Service Films. Directors: Fabio W. Silva and Zachary Matthews. Producers: Oleg Prudius, Fabio W. Silva, and Mo Toledo. Writers: Derek Garrison and Andrej Kukoljac. Cinematography: Gerald Lee and Egon Stephen Jr. Editing: Fabio W. Silva.
Cast: Oleg Prudius, Shannon Murray, Luis Da Silva Jr., Gabriela Wong, Olivier Richters, Oscar Corbella, Eli Zen, Tim Malcolm.