Judge David Johnson is the Ultimate Force—in backgammon!
"Mirko Cro-Cop is a new Charles Bronson."—Jena Claude Van Damme
But is it better than its predecessor, Penultimate Force?
Facts of the Case
Mirko Cro-Cop Filipovic is a fighter from UFC and Pride and he looks like pretty much the last dude in the world I'd want to piss off. He stars as Axon Rey (great action hero name!) a war hero from an Eastern European country and a member of an elite government assassination squad. But when he fails to pull the trigger on his last assignment, the shadowy organization he works for sends him to a secret island for forced rehabilitation.
That means he is forced to fight other exiled soldiers. But that will be the least of his troubles when he is suddenly sucked into a tornado of political backstabbing and death and betrayal and heavy accents.
The Random Action Movie Title Generator spit out a gem with this release. Ultimate Force as a film proves to be as generic as its title. This Cro-Cop hombre looks to be a bad enough dude and he certainly appears to have the combat skills to pay the bills. But despite his impressive physical presence the guy has the on-screen charisma of a spruce. Which is odd because he was fairly animated in an interview he did for the extras. I suppose he was directed to act like a block of granite, thinking he would come across as a hard-ass, but it doesn't work.
He knows how to fight and that's clear from he moves he busts out on the punk-ass bee-yatches, but overall the action scenes were lacking, a death blow to an excursion like this. When Axon hits the island he engages in a series of one-on-one bouts against some scary-looking white guys but none of them are very engaging. A mix of distracting camera work and disappointing fight choreography is largely to blame. There's some gunplay too, but it's even worse than the hand-to-hand stuff—idiot soldiers crouching in the wide open and getting themselves mowed down, standard-issue dopey bad guy playbook.
The plot is serviceable for a straight-to-DVD action flick. Writer/director Mark Burson tosses in a fair helping of espionage and treason, but the payoff is predictable. The twists are satisfying, however. Unfortunately, we're deprived of a kick-ass action finale to cap off the runtime.
The gripes I have with the film are augmented by the sub-par technical treatment. Picture quality (2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen) is grainy and near-impossible too decipher during darker sequences. A Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix pushes the sound; a 5.1 track would of course have been more suited for the mayhem. Only a couple of extras: that short interview with Filipovic and a 10-minute making-of featurette.
Mediocre Force would be more accurate.
Go spend some more time on the island comrade.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BCI Eclipse
• Mirko Filipovic Interview
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