Friday, February 20, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Falcon Rising (2014)

There was a time when people used to go rent movies at places like Blockbuster and various other rental chains, places where the walls were lined with titles and you could buy candy at absurd prices.  The heyday for this particular era may have been the 90s, and during that time there were entire sections devoted to martial arts movies.  Here, roughly a dozen gifted warriors of the cinema were vying for kung fu supremacy.  You could chose from legit stars like Jean-Claude or Segal, or you could go for the talent hanging out on the lower shelves, people like Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, or my personal favorite, Gary Daniels.  It was like Billy Bob's Kung-Fu Theatre for my generation.  Now, VHS tapes are fossils, the rental industry is all but dead (Redbox is an entirely different animal), and the martial arts sub-genre isn't exactly flourishing--but we have Michael Jai White!  Yes, good people, Black Dynamite is here to save the day.  You'll have to understand if I can't help but give Black Dynamite lots of props here--it's one of my favorite movies and if you haven't seen it, please stop reading this blog and go watch it RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE.  I typed that in all caps because I mean it.  Those of you who have seen Black Dynamite and are therefore still enjoying this review can go ahead and lower your expectations, but you already knew that Falcon Rising would be no Black Dynamite.  Honestly, it's a far cry from Blood and Bone, but it's still worth watching--particularly if you miss that old school kung-fu glory as much as I do.  Of course Michael Jai White delivers the goods, he's an absolute beast.  I think he's a good actor and his martial arts prowess is second to none in this day and age.  The plot for Falcon Rising is a simple exercise in the time-honored "noble hero encounters kung fu treachery and kicks a lot of ass" vein, but I thought Ernie Barbarash's direction was exciting and the score from Charlie Lin was pretty nifty too.  There were decent opponents for Michael Jai White to combat and underrated vet Neil McDonough showed up just long enough to earn a paycheck.  Bonus points: I had never seen Thiago Santo in a movie before and he caught my attention as crooked cop with a bit of a conscience.  All things concerned, this was an entertaining little romp that probably deserves a C, but I'm going to give it a C+.  Why?  Black Dynamite, that's why!

Final Grade: C+

Michael Jai White doing what he does: kicking ass.

Haven't seen Black Dynamite?  Go watch it.  I'm serious.  Scram, you jive turkeys!

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