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Misfire DVD Review

October 29, 2014 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Misfire DVD Review  


Gary Daniels– Cole
Vanessa Vasquez– Gracie
Michael Greco– Johnny
Luis Gatica– Raul Montenegro
Geoffrey Ross– Fitz
Patricia Peinado Cruz– Sarah
David Fernandez, Jr.– Javier
Fabian Lopez– Cesar Montenegro
Justin Nesbitt– Dale
Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein– Weyland

Directed by R. Ellis Frazier
Screenplay by Benjamin Budd and R. Ellis Frazier

Distributed by Image Entertainment and RLJ Entertainment

Runtime– 89 minutes

Buy it here

Misfire, directed by R. Ellis Frazier, is one of those low budget action movies that tries to “be more” than just a low budget action movie. Instead of being a straight up tale of revenge featuring seemingly endless action and fighting scenes, Misfire tries to add drama to the plot to make it seem as though its story is more important than the run-of-the-mill action movie. Sadly, in the case of Misfire it’s a strategy that doesn’t really work. Everyone involved tries hard, yes, but in the end the movie probably should have tried to add more spectacle. It’s still worth seeing, though.

The flick stars the great Gary Daniels as Cole, a bad-ass American DEA agent who, while serving a suspension for “accidentally” shooting a Mexican Intelligence officer while on the job in Mexico, has to rescue his kidnapped photo journalist ex-wife Sarah (Patricia Peinado Cruz) from a vicious drug runner (Raul Montenegro, as played by Luis Gatica). The rescue mission won’t be easy as Cole can’t use official channels to get help (he’s on suspension) and Montenegro has political ambitions, making him even more dangerous (he has the local cops in his back pocket, not to mention his regular old henchmen). But then Cole, being the bad ass that he is, has his own connections in Mexico to exploit. Dale (Justin Nesbitt), CIA agent operating out of Juarez, an old buddy of Cole’s, can provide intel, equipment, and even mercenary help if need be. And Gracie (Vanessa Vasquez), Sarah’s friend and fellow journalist, can provide insight into the local whathaveyous that Cole can’t possibly know. Cole should also have his brother, Johnny (Michael Greco), as help, but Cole doesn’t trust him as he’s his ex-wife’s current husband. Johnny is the one that alerts Cole to Sarah’s disappearance. Why can’t he help out, too?

Cole’s investigation into Sarah’s disappearance takes up way too much of the first part of the movie. And by that I mean it’s just Gary Daniels talking with Vasquez and not beating the crap out of someone. Things pick up a little when Cole has Dale call up two local mercenaries, Fitz (Geoffrey Ross) and Weyland (Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein), but even then the movie is more interested in having them sneak around when they should be shooting bad guys and destroying things. The movie doesn’t kick in to full on action movie mode until the last third, when Montenegro’s psycho loonbag son Cesar (Fabian Lopez) becomes more of a presence and Montenegro’s henchmen try to find Cole and Gracie and kill them. The movie needed Cesar to appear earlier and either interact more with Cole or Sarah. Although it would have been fine to have the Raul Montenegro as more of a full on villain, too, as he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty (dude strangles his accountant because he thinks the guy is stealing from the cartel).

Now, there’s a subplot involving millions of dollars of bearer bonds that figure into why Sarah was kidnapped in the first place, but I really didn’t give a hoot about it. It probably would have been wiser to spend this movie time exploring Cole’s relationship with Sarah. Why would he try to rescue his ex-wife? They’re exes for a reason, right? There’s also a weird cynicism to Cole in that he seems to know what the CIA is really up to when it agrees to help him track down Sarah (the CIA just can’t help a friend out. There’s always some ulterior motive at play). And why doesn’t the movie explore/explain how the American CIA and DEA apparently have carte blanch when operating in Mexico. Since when are American agents allowed to openly carry guns in Mexico?

The action stuff we do eventually get is pretty good. The gun fights are quick and loud and the hand-to-hand fight scenes are decent enough. Daniels breaks out some brutal martial arts hooey and it’s always a joy to see him break some dude’s arm. I just wish the movie had more of that kind of stuff in it.

Daniels does a good job in the movie’s many quiet moments and shows that he can act when he has to. His too few action scenes are fun to watch and, again, he sure knows how to break a guy’s arm. He should have been given more to do in terms of fight, though. It just seems a waste not to have him punching and kicking more often. He does have good chemistry with Vasquez. That’s always a plus.

Justin Nesbitt’s rather laid back performance as Dale the CIA guy comes off as a bit cliché at first, but he becomes more interesting as the movie progresses. And Fabian Lopez is excellent as the psycho Cesar, although he should have had a bigger part. Action movies play better when the villain is a big deal.

And that’s what Misfire is missing, things that will make it a legitimate action movie big deal. There’s just too much talking and not enough ass kicking. You should make an effort to see Misfire, though, as it is worth seeing. As I said, star Daniels does a good job with the material he’s given and he gets to kick some ass, something that’s always worth checking out. There should just be more of it here. Action movies shouldn’t be complicated.

Keep it simple and it will work out in the end.

See Misfire. Just be prepared for a lot of talking. You have been warned.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Around 10.

Explosions: Two.

Nudity?: None. There should have been, though.

Doobage: A foot chase in Mexico, a rooftop shootout, some sort of flashback, blood stains on the wall, face punching, tape bondage, strangulation, a thumb drive, a Spanish radio broadcast, a van with all sort of stuff in it, a shootout, exploding propane tank, slow motion grenade rolling without an orange explosion, scared prostitutes, a garbage investigation, tree shooting, a beat down, a car make out session, kidnapping, torture, a big fight, arm breaking, a jumping spin kick, attempted choke hold, a vicious punch to the face, a nip up, a serious choke out, missing money, and a low key ending.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Gary Daniels, a guy who plays the brother of the Gary Daniels character despite the fact they have different accents, Mexico, donut eating, a lollipop, the CIA, mercenaries, coffee cups with no coffee in them, Gary Daniels doing a jumping spin kick, newspaper reading, and a low key ending.

Best lines: “Johnny, where’s Sarah?,” “Don’t you have work or something to do?,” “That Montenegro?,” “I find money doesn’t always buy loyalty,” “Do you know the difference between heroes and soldiers?,” “Your brother is married to your ex-wife? How does that make you feel?,” “It’s always about the Agency,” “I have to take a shower. I smell like a hooker,” “We’ve got to get out of here. And you need to get out of my e-mail,” “I think you should send that text now,” and “You’re a dead man! This is my town!”

Movie rating: 6.0/10.0

DVD Info: Misfire is presented in 2.40:1 Widescreen.

Audio Info: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Closed Captioning for the Hearing Impaired.

Special Features: There are trailers for The Devil’s in the Details, Forced to Fight (Gary Daniels and Peter Weller star in this), and The Outsider.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Misfire is a little too serious for its own good. It has too much talking, too much “mood,” and not enough butt kicking action. It’s still worth seeing, though, as the great Gary Daniels does a good job and it’s kind of fun to see him act. I just wish we saw him kick a little more butt. That’s what we pay to see in a Gary Daniels movie.