Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 93 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Michael Ironside, Corey Michael Eubanks, Clint Howard, Rance Howard, Mickey Jones, Don Swayze.
Best one-liner: [Ironside shoots a man dead.] "GET UP!!!"
A great start to any weekend is some Ironside, so here we are. On a previous Ironside week, I showcased the trailer for this fine flick, which made such redunkulous claims as "one of this year's most critically acclaimed and explosive pictures," "without a doubt, one of the most exciting, action-packed feature films to ever come out of Hollywood," and "a must-see guaranteed to to THRILL audiences...everywhere." More appropriate might have been "more Ironside angry face and more cars hurtling through the air and exploding per capita than any comparable film."
The drinking game inclined can do whatever they wish with that information, but I cannot take responsibility for the consequences. Now for the review:
Grab a #2 pencil, and join me for a brief survey: Do you like silly, clichéd action flicks; villains with Sides of Iron, Swayzes that aren't Patrick, or the extended family of Ron Howard? When you see a van, are you unhappy until it's flying through the air en route to a fiery, fiery demise? When you see two men, do you pray that they'll soon be covered in mud and roundhouse kicking each other to death while surrounded by a relentlessly fist-pumpin', hollerin' crowd that looks culled straight from the background loop of an old STREETFIGHTER game? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, then allow me to write you a prescription for FORCED TO KILL. That way, if anyone catches you watching it, you can say, "Oh, it's doctor's orders."
The film is made with genuine affection, and the proof is in the pudding- it was written, directed, and starred in by seasoned stuntmen. Sure, nobody's giving F.W. Murnau a run for his money or anything, but they've certainly perfected the art of 'bodies blasted from helicopters into the wakes of speedboats during high-speed chases.'
I'm fairly certain that even F.W. Murnau would concede that this is pretty effin' schweet.
What is this? Was Herzog somehow involved?
Corey Eubanks (son of Bob, writer of this, stuntman in everything from PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE to MULHOLLAND DR.) is our repo man/martial artist hero who’s kidnapped by a cadre of hicks to compete in their hayseed fight club. Eubanks possesses a profound awkwardness- the stilted line delivery of Keanu Reeves (“Can I get you anything?…an ambulance?”), the loopy élan of JCVD, and the constant facial indicating of a community theater actor.
Needless to say, I liked him right away. Seriously. He’s got a certain, rare energy that should’ve led to a more substantial acting career, at least in B movies.
Michael Ironside's real-life best friend Mickey Jones:
and Don Swayze:
(the fact that he never played Patrick’s evil twin is one of film’s great disappointments) lend us some bumpkinny street cred.
Michael Ironside lets loose with some redunkulous villainy (and here in his second Solberg/Eubanks flick- the first being PAYBACK in '91).
What is Mike drinking there? Can anybody I.D. it? (Doesn't look like Labatt Maximum Ice.)
He plays the small town's extremely put-upon sheriff:
I'd rather be....CHAINDANCIN'.
whose only joy in life is submitting fighters for this backwoods battle royale.
'Hey! I don't have to wear a cardigan!'
Of course, Corey Michael Eubanks is the fly in the ointment, but Ironside has got a few tricks up his sleeve-
“I guarantee you she will die the slowest, most painful death I can come up with.”
Shit! The worst that IRONSIDE can come up with?! Hot damn! I’d rather take my chances with Torquemada!
In all, this is a pretty great "kith n' kin" flick (also see: HUNTER'S BLOOD, THE LONG RIDERS, or anything with Frank Stallone, Joey Travolta, or Baldwins that aren't Alec) as we've got Bob Eubanks' son, Patrick Swayze's brother, and Ron Howard's pop and brother.
Clint plays a sad sack 'Nam vet.
I guess you could say that this movie is extremely relative. Four stars.