terrorists

Jarhead 3: The Siege (2016)

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The U.S. Embassy is under attack and the Marines must come to the rescue in this in-name third installment of the military action films.

Marine Cpl. Evan Albright has been stationed to a U.S. embassy in the Middle East. Every day, the embassy is met with protestors. Albright, known to be a loose cannon, does his best to get along with his fellow Marines and stay in the gunnery sergeant’s good graces. However, one day, he notices a mysterious figure watching them from below. When Albright may think he knows the identity, he goes straight to Ambassador Cahill, thus face the wrath of both Gunny Raines and RSO Kraus.

However, Albright’s suspicions prove to be correct when the embassy is suddenly attacked by a band of insurgents led by renowned terrorist Khaled Al-Asiri, who was thought to have been killed in a drone strike just two weeks prior. The Marines set out to protect both the Ambassador and a local, Jamal, who is revealed to be Khaled’s brother, having turned over a new leaf. With the body count rising, Albright, Raines, and the rest of the squad must do whatever it takes to protect the embassy and take down the insurgent group.

The Jarhead series is quite interesting as the original film was based on a true story. Capitalizing on their “straight to DVD” sequels, Universal’s 1440 brand brought us Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, an unrelated sequel and then comes this third film, which only has a small relation to the original with Dennis Haysbert making an extended cameo as Major Lincoln. However, Lincoln is just on the back burner for the most part.

Charlie Weber makes for a good lead as Albright, the troubled hero who joined the Marines due to his affected childhood. Albright feels the world is against him but he has something to prove to himself, he tends to be at times reckless, causing the ire of both superiors and fellow Marines, with Scott Adkins in a non-martial arts role as Gunnery Sgt. Raines. Adkins pulls off a Midwestern or Southern American accent as Raines, who takes nothing from no one and proves to be a worthy leader when it comes to action. British actress Sasha Jackson is quite well as Olivia, the assistant of the Ambassador whose life is in jeopardy when the insurgents attack. She also plays a vital part of the mission in two key scenes. As for Hadrian Howard, he pulls it off nicely as the lead terrorist with Charlie de Melo playing a vital role in Jamal, the reformed brother of lead terrorist.

While the action mainly consists of bullets flying and explosions, there is a major scene involving fisticuffs. The scene involves Albright and fellow Marine Lopez, played by Erik Valdez, going hand-to-hand with two insurgents in the ambassador’s residence. It is a nicely shot close quarters action sequence with stunts and beats of comic relief despite Dante Basco’s government worker and blogger Blake being the real comic relief of the film.

Jarhead 3: The Siege is what you would expect from a straight-to-DVD military action film. Some great sequences, some one-liners, and a pretty good cast including Charlie Weber and Scott Adkins leading the way. If you can get past the fact Adkins doesn’t showcase his fight skills and brings more of a straight edge acting role with some gunfire, then you will enjoy this film.

WFG RATING: B

A Universal 1440 Entertainment production. Director: William Kaufman. Producers: Jeffrey Bach and Phillip J. Roth. Writers: Chad Law and Michael D. Weiss. Cinematography: Mark Rutledge. Editing: John Gilbert.

Cast: Charlie Weber, Scott Adkins, Tom Ainsley, Sasha Jackson, Dennis Haysbert, Stephen Hogan, Erik Valdez, Dante Basco, Hadrian Howard, Charlie de Melo, Joe Corigall, Romeo Miller.

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Black Site Delta (2017)

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2017, XLrator Media/Benattar-Thomas Productions/The Fyzz Factory

Director:
Jesse Gustafson
Producers:
Rick Benattar
Nigel Thomas
Writer:
Guy Stevenson
Cinematography:
Laurence Vannicelli
Editing:
Laurens van Charante

Cast:
Cam Gigandet (Jake)
Teri Reeves (Vasquez)
Michael Dale (Col. Irving)
Ben Watson (Simms)
Casey Hendershot (Hudson)
John Brodsky (Taylor)
Dion Mucciacito (Diego)
Arash Mokhtar (Kahn)
Sherri Eakin (Scarlet)

A group of military prisoners decide to become heroes once again to stop a terrorist threat in this action thriller from director Jesse Gustafson.

Jake, a former military officer, is on his way home to see his daughter. However, when a biker gang leader attempts to pick a fight with him, Jake wants no part. When the biker pulls out a knife, Jake kills him in self-defense but is beaten down by the rest of the gang. Jake soon finds himself waking up in a prison cell at a black site prison, where military officers who commit crimes are imprisoned with the government not wanting to let the public know.

When a terrorist unit led by former SAS officer turned mercenary Irving decide to raid the prison, Jake finds himself joining forces with fellow prisoners Diego and Hudson, the very unstable Taylor, and computer expert Simms. They also learn that the mystery person locked up and has been known to incapacitate the guards is a female, Vasquez. When Simms reveals that the prison is actually a cover for a long rage drone facility with a nuke attached, Simms has a hunch if they can stop the terrorists, they will be granted full pardons. Jake and the group agree to become heroes on what could be their deadliest mission yet.

From the writer of The Last Heist and the producers of Kill Ratio comes another straightforward fast-paced action thriller that makes good use of its cast and location. The film’s central character is Jake, played by Never Back Down and Twilight’s original villain actor, Cam Gigandet. While Gigandet is a versatile actor who has worked on various genres, action seems to be a strong suit for him as he plays an officer who just wants to go home to his daughter only to find himself in a potentially deadly situation that puts his life at risk. Gigandet, a black belt in Krav Maga, holds himself quite well with the fight sequences when necessary when he is not blasting the bad guys away.

Perhaps one of the most shocking things about the film is the character of Vasquez, played by Chicago Fire’s Teri Reeves. For a character who is meant to be a mysterious figure who before being revealed has a reputation for beating up guards, one would expect a hulking like figure to take the role. However, with Reeves’ Vasquez being the big reveal, it brings an interesting twist to the story and truly breaks the type in a positive manner for this genre. As a matter of fact, seeing this film, one may want to see Reeves do more action films down the road.

Casey Hendershot’s Hudson and Dion Mucciacito’s Diego bring the tough guys portion of the group with John Brodsky’s Taylor being the most unstable member of the group as he resorts to using torturous actions to the villains and does some unspeakable things yet still is being one of the good guys with Ben Watson’s Simms being more the techie of the group whose reason for being jailed brings the core reason of the threat that takes over the prison.

The villains of the film come in the form of Michael Dale’s former SAS officer turned mercenary Irving, who is revealed to have a connection with one of the heroes and the mastermind Kahn, played with slyness with a bit of an over-the-top manner by Arash Mokhtar. In a way, this may seem like a stereotype, but Kahn, decked out in a suit and having his girlfriend all over him, it is like Kahn is portrayed as a rich boy playboy type who kind of acts like a spoiled little brat who just wants the power and control but does it at times in a childish manner while leaving Irving and his men do all the dirty work.

Black Site Delta is a fast-paced “Dirty Dozen” style action thriller that breaks a few stereotypes and provides some pretty good fun and action scenes. If military action films are your cup of tea, this is one you will most likely enjoy.

WFG RATING: B

XLrator Media will be releasing this film in theaters on May 5 followed by a VOD and ITunes on May 9. Check your local theaters for showtimes and your VOD platforms to see this film.

REVIEW: Der Puma – Kämpfer mit Herz (1999)

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1999, Nostro Film/Odeon Film/RTL

Director:
Axel de Roche
Producer:
Marcus Mende
Greta Müller
Christian Popp
Writer:
Uwe Ko
ßmann
Cinematography:
Mathias Neumann
Editing:
Eva Lopez

Cast:
Mickey Hardt (Josh Engel)
Susanne Ho
ß (Jackie Winter)
Maria Petz (Lisa Engel)
Rolf Becker (Charlie Engel)
Aco Jovanovic (Karl Schlerer)
Jochen Nickel (Carlo Bless)
Ercan Durmaz (Mehmet Schulz)
Armin Dillenberger (Schr
öder)
Michael Ian Lambert (Pete)

The pilot for a short-lived German action series plays off like a made-for-TV martial arts version of Die Hard. However, thanks to Donnie Yen’s frenetic choreography, this is a pretty decent film.

Josh Engel is a tae kwon do teacher who teaches kids and is known by his nickname, “The Puma”. When his niece Lisa visits the school, she finds herself bored even when Josh is confronted by two thugs on the street. She decides to make a run for it, prompting Josh to follow her. She ends up at the local mall, where a meeting between investors is overtaken by a terrorist group led by Carlo Bless.

As Josh finds himself using his martial arts skills against Bless’s men, he soon learns that Lisa has been kidnapped and is made part of the hostage group. Bless wants a large ransom from the police. Josh soon learns that he is not alone as police detective Jackie Winter and her partner Mehmet Schulz have been able to break their way in the mall and assist Josh as for Jackie, she holds a grudge against the terrorist leader.

Directed by Axel de Roche, this is a definitive made-for-TV quality film. With a Die Hard-esque plot to the film, the hero of the film is not a cop, but an average martial arts instructor who finds himself at the wrong place and the wrong time. However, lead actor Mickey Hardt makes the role of Josh Engel work. Unlike the tough guys of the action world, Hardt’s character more resembles that of Jackie Chan: an likable everyman who must use his wits and skills to fight the bad guys. We even get a preamble to the plot when Josh takes on two street thugs in his school in front of his class and brings a sense of likability to the role.

Susanne Hoß does quite well as Inspector Jackie Winter, a no-nonsense cop with Ercan Durmaz as the typical bumbling partner to her tough cop persona. Jochen Nickel does quite well as the villain here with British powerhouse Mike Lambert as his top henchman Pete. Hoss gets in on some of the action herself as well as Lambert, who once again will impress fans with his agile kicking skills.

And who is the one responsible for the frenetic martial arts action? Donnie Yen. Yen definitely knows good talent and finds it in Hardt, an actor who had been studying martial arts since his childhood. Hardt is very impressive in the action department showcasing his amazing kicking and hand work. Hardt doesn’t need to rely on weapons, just his sheer instinct and fast martial arts skills to dispatch the bad guys. This clearly is Hardt’s show and he brings it. The pilot would eventually lead into a short-lived series that ran for only nine episodes.

However, impressed with Hardt’s skills, Donnie Yen rallied and had Hardt casted as the lead villain for the 2003 film The Twins Effect and even more so, Mickey Hardt attempted at international stardom with two films as former kickboxer turned sports photographer Max Havoc in 2004 and 2006. Since then, he has worked primarily out of Germany as an actor, model, and musician.

Der Puma: Kämpfer mit Herz is a pretty good made-for-TV pilot with exciting martial arts sequences from Donnie Yen. Definitely worth seeing for Mickey Hardt’s likable character and frenetic skills.

The following clip is not from the pilot, but from an episode of the short-lived series.

The film hasn’t been available on DVD as of yet except for Japan and Brazil.