Showdown in Manila (2016)

Posted in Reviews by - March 14, 2019
Showdown in Manila (2016)

The long shadow cast by Russian hulk Alexander Nevsky looms large over Mark Dacascos’ directorial debut. As the film’s writer, producer and star, he’s a brooding, pervasive presence cornering every aspect of the film, but at least he has the decency to surround himself with great action stars. Nevsky and Casper Van Dien play PIs working in Manila in the formulaic buddy mould and occasionally chauvinistic style of 1980s American cop films. They are hired by Tia Carrere when her FBI husband (Mark Dacascos) is gunned down by a drug gang, led by genre favourites Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Matthias Hues. “We’re private investigators, not terminators,” says Caspar to his buddy, which is ironic, considering Nevsky spends the film doing a Schwarzenegger impression. Tagawa’s operations are seemingly based in a makeshift shack in the Filipino jungle, so the film switches to Rambo mode for the final third with Nevsky leading a crack team of guerrilla fighters made up of ageing straight-to-video martial arts stars including Olivier Gruner, Don Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock. Any film which can unite such a cool roster of high-kicking legends is worth supporting, even if the movie does feel a bit like a load of Hollywood buddies enjoying their jollies in the jungle. There’s not much here to distinguish Dacascos as a director with much individuality, however, with more freedom, it would be great to see what else he could accomplish. As it stands, its quite ordinary.

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