Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Angel Town (1990)

Oh back in the day, the glorious day of the top shelf, unreachable 18 cert films. This was the home of many horror nasties and dubious looking action movies that were deemed to be much too violent for the lower shelves.

So back in the early 90's at the height of JCVD's high kicking power he had one classic brawl flick come out after another. In the midst of this Belgian tidalwave of awesomeness came the smaller high kicking French power of Oliver Gruner.

This one film was pretty much his biggest vehicle ever (until the possibility of 'Expendables 3') and it took huge advantage of JCVD's recent fight fests. The plot is quite simply about one French student who comes to the US to study. He lives with a mother and daughter within a rough gangland neighbourhood (LA I presume, why its called 'Angel Town') and inadvertently becomes the saviour of the block. Yep you guessed it, he's gonna kickbox some thug ass.

The quality of this film is really gritty, but not gritty in a realistic way, more in a cheap low budget way. Here's me expecting something slick like the muscles from Brussels but instead we get a very dodgy audio track with tonnes of background dubbing and old fashioned fight effects, Gruner almost seems to be miming or badly dubbed himself and some very weak fight coordination/choreography.

The whole film feels so damn cheesy its unreal, yes I realise this is an old film but its nowhere near the standard of the old JCVD stuff. All the fights were very disappointing as everything looked really fake, you could see the kicks and punches deliberately missing the intended targets. On top of that the hit effects were like something out of an old western for pete's sake!.

The only decent sequence in the whole film was the short training montage in the middle where Gruner gets all sweaty and serious. This montage shows us some great moves that look real damaging plus Gruner looks good too, unlike the rest of the film where he looks like a bit of a nerd.

It was produced by the folks who gave us the awesome 'A.W.O.L.' ('Lionheart') with some Belgian fella, you can see the similarities here. Unfortunately its nowhere near as good in any aspect and shows Gruner for what he has always been...the poor mans JCVD, sorry Oliver.

Always loved how some of the bad guys have guns (look like uzi's), yet when they are watching their fellow gang members getting beaten up they don't actually use them! eh?.