Recoil [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Vivendi Visual Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Anthony Arrigo (31st March 2012).
The Film

When I get title after title of direct-to-video wannabe action films starring Steve ďformerly Stone ColdĒ Austin, it reminds me that the days of true macho cinema are over.

Dead. Gone. Buried. Never to return.

Is this where run-of-the-mill action films have ended up? Now weíve got wrestlers headlining movies that should be commandeered by weathered, testosterone-fueled men who eat lead and crap thunder.

Oh, whatís that? We donít have any of those anymore?

No, we donít. Back in the 80's, a movie like ďRecoilĒ (2011) would have been headlined by Charles Bronson, and Iíd be loving the hell out of it. There isnít an actor alive today who can match guys like Bronson, Robert Mitchum, Chuck Norris or Lee Marvin in terms of sheer manliness and bravado. You might know what you were getting every single time you watched a Bronson film, but you enjoyed the ever-loviní shit out of them because the plot was secondary; what mattered most was seeing your favorite tough guys turn bad men into Swiss cheese. These guys had charisma and attitude falling out of their pockets. Today Ė weíve got nothing. Aside from the new action stars of yesteryear who are still working, the latest crop includes guys like Jason Statham (who Iíll admit isnít half bad, but he isnít ugly enough), Sam Worthington andÖ well, I canít really think of anyone else. Itís a thin field out there.

I used to enjoy watching Stone Cold Steve Austin on WWE Raw when I was in middle/high school. The guy had a natural ability to command an audienceís attention, quickly making him one of the most successful superstars of all-time in that sport. Somewhere along the line, someone must have told him he could act, or that heíd be a draw, because he started making bad movies at a pace that only Nicolas Cage has been able to maintain. Even worse, theyíre all indistinguishable from each other. I know Iíve seen one or two of them before, but if someone had a gun to my motherís head I couldnít tell you what they were called or the plot. Theyíre all so vapid. ďRecoilĒ isnít much different. Itís yet another revenge plot with Steve Austin playing a loner (shocker) who arrives in a small town (of course) to take revenge on the gang of bikers who murdered his family (because thatís an original idea if Iíve ever heard one). The biker gang is led by Danny Trejo, who has consistently stated in interviews that he does so many films every year he doesnít even know the names of them. Iíll bet all the gold on Fort Knox that he barely remembers shooting this film, let alone what they decided to call it. Oh yea, Keith Jardine is also in this as one of Trejoís thugs. Iím sure someone thought it would be awesome to see Austin (a wrestler) fight Jardine (a UFC MMA fighter), although in real life I have a feeling the outcome would be much different than it is in the film.

Austin isnít the worst actor to ever come out of a wrestling ring, but heís got a long way to go if he wants the have the career Dwayne ďThe RockĒ Johnson has been enjoying. My main issues with his acting are that he has a perma-scowl on his face, causing him to look like heís got the worldís worst crap on deck at all times; and, that he has a tendency to walk like thereís a metal rod up his ass to hold him in place. Iím going to guess the latter may be due to injuries he sustained in the ring, but it gives him a Neanderthal-like posture that could be fully realized if someone handed him a blunt, wooden club. I donít expect him to showcase some amazing range; itís not like Charles Bronson was ever accused of limiting himself by making so many exploitation pictures with Cannon in the late 80's. I think it just boils down to some guys have it, some donít. Austin is a born entertainer who has enjoyed a healthy career dominating the world of professional wrestling, but I just donít see the movie star qualities within him.

Video

The filmís 1.78:1 1080p 24/fps AVC MPEG-4 encoded image was shot using HD digital cameras, giving it an aesthetic thatís simple but effective. Thereís nothing cinematic about the filmís appearance; its low-budget origins show through right from the first frame. I think thatís a major part of why I canít even have fun with these DTV action flicks; they just look so damn cheap, like no one even cares about giving it a film-like quality. Aesthetics aside, this is a competent transfer with minor issues throughout. There is some crushing during darker scenes, and the image occasionally looks a little soft & muddy. Overall, however, itís not half bad. Danny Trejoís face looks like a rock quarry as viewed through a pitted lens, reminding us that even though heís macho now those acnes scars were likely a serious burden in his younger days. Stone CoÖer, Steve Austinís shiny dome glistens in the light of HD. The forest seen in the opening is lush and green, with some nice earthy tones. Itís not an exciting visual presentation, but it is generally pleasing to the eye.

Audio

I donít have a lot to complain about regarding the filmís English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound track mixed at 48kHz/24-bit. Right from the opening, with Steve Austin blaring down the street on a motorcycle, itís clear this is a track thatís going to at the very least pack a wallop. The engine rumbles with a constant, low frequency that kept my LFE track humming for its duration. Unfortunately, I think that may have also been the highlight of the track. The film is rife with two things: gunfire and punches. The gunfire could have more of a kick to it. The effects donít sound canned, but they donít really explode with as much impact as I was expecting. Likewise, the filmís punches sound about a thousand times stronger than any punch in the real world would. You could consider that a positive since it adds to the intended blows, but it just sounds so unrealistic. I always envision some guy in a Foley studio smacking a leather-wrapped bunch of celery with a bat to achieve the effect because it sounds so unnatural. I know this is an action film, but itís also a low-budget one, so I donít go into these things expecting a track thatís going to rival a Hollywood blockbuster. I would consider this a solid effort for a direct-to-video clunker with a few B-grade faces and some moderate action. Subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired.

Extras

Not much to talk about hereÖ

ďThe Making of RecoilĒ (1080p) featurette runs for 7 minutes and 50 seconds. I have to admire actors who star in DTV films that have no shot at becoming very popular, yet they can still muster up the energy to talk about them like itís high cinema. The movie might have sucked, but you wouldnít guess that from the interviews here. Hell, some of them are even convinced Steve Austin is a good actor.

A reel of deleted scenes (1080p) runs for 5 minutes and 47 seconds. These are mostly additional exposition for Austinís character, with little that would have added anything but extra minutes to the film.

The filmís theatrical trailer (1080p) runs for 1 minute and 23 seconds.

Finally, the disc opens with a single bonus trailer (1080p) for another Steve Austin film:

- ďTactical ForceĒ runs for 1 minute and 16 seconds.

Packaging

A single disc in an Blu-ray keep case. There is a slip-cover which replicates the cover art included as of this writing.

Overall

This film is a cold steak slathered in weak sauce. I wish Austin made halfway decent revenge flicks I could shut off my brain and enjoy, but theyíre just far too middling and stupid for me to ignore.

The Film: D Video: B Audio: B Extras: D+ Overall: D

 


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