Special Forces (2003)

Posted in Reviews by - June 01, 2021
Special Forces (2003)

A prime slice of jingoistic gung-ho American violence from Isaac Florentine, who turns a rather pedestrian tub-thumping military yarn into something quite special thanks to a highly energetic performance from a young British martial artist called Scott Adkins. It would prove to be the start of a very fruitful working relationship (see the Ninja and Undisputed franchises), and it’s clear to see why. Adkins essentially carries the film’s final act with a barnstorming display of gravity-defying fight work, especially during his extended duel with Vladislavas Jacukevicius playing a kung fu rival. It quickly becomes obvious that Adkins is a star in the making, stealing thunder from the film’s lead, Marshall Teague, who provides stoic gravitas as a G.I. Joe-like Special Forces leader, sending his team into a made-up former Soviet bloc country (“Muldonia”) to rescue an American being held by a despotic military leader. It’s a rather basic attempt to reaffirm the USA as the ‘world’s police’ in the wake of 9/11 and its subsequent war in Iraq – the sort of film which was wonderfully spoofed in Team America a year later – but told with a typical flourish by Florentine, who litters the film with as much spectacle as the tiny budget will allow. If you can park the politics, it’s a fun ride.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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