Hey gang, Valkor here. And I have a question for my man Cuba Gooding Jr: What did you do that you’ve gone from being an academy award winner to being delegated into the direct-to-video section? I’m not saying you’re past stuff has been bad; actually a lot of it’s been pretty good such as Hero Wanted, The Hit list, and even Sacrifice was a pretty decent thriller. But come on, what’s goin on, brah? I need to see you on the big screen, in something that screams quality! I guess I shouldn’t complain much because for the most part, the DTV stuff is pretty entertaining. And this next film… man, talk about out of left field. Not so much because of the premise, but the fact that Cuba is working with The Expendables 1 and 2 star Dolph Lundgren, who has also made a name for himself in the DTV market. Check it out it’s “One in the Chamber”, directed by The Hit List director William Kaufman.
“One in the Chamber” brings together two assassins, smack dab in the middle of an all out soviet mob war. The film opens with hitman Ray (Cuba), in the midst of taking out Demyan Ivanov (Louis Mandylor) and his men. Ray takes out most of the muscle but misses his prime target because Demyan used a woman as a human shield. And Ray won’t stand for shooting innocent women (there’s a reason for that). Ray was hired by Mikhail Suverov (Andrew Bicknell), who is none too pleased with the end results. So he decides to bring in the big, and I do mean BIG, guns in the form of Aleksey aka “The Wolf” (Lundgren), to finish the job. To further complicate matters and yet make things interesting, Demyan hires Ray to kill Mikhail and his crew (the fuck?). So The Wolf is going after Ray and Demyan, while Ray is not only looking to finish off Mikhail and his bunch but also keeping tabs on a woman named Janice (Claudio Bassols). Ray was hired to kill her father, but she walked in just as he was “finishing up”. But he doesn’t kill her. Instead, he decides to keep a close watch on her as a way of making amends for his actions (yet he still continues to kill, but he will not kill women. Get it? Got it? Good!). Just as the two start to get a little close, a little more intimate, then it’s reveal what Ray did in the past and it all blows up in his face. But in the end it all comes down to Ray vs. Aleksey and the ending… won’t really surprise you. Not. One. Bit.
Cuba Gooding and Dolph Lundgren… together in a film… I never thought I’d live to see the day. And the kicker is the ending of the film, leaves an opening for a sequel, which I could see happening. But let’s tackle this first film before we jump into the next shall we?
The plot of “One in the Chamber” is a bit complex, but it’s not very difficult to follow; the tale of dual assassins going head to head in the midst of a mob war makes for some awesome storytelling, with a great deal of shootouts and fisticuffs. The film is a bit different than most in this genre, because we’re held strictly in the villains turf – sure Gooding’s character plays the protagonist, but he’s still the bad guy and he doesn’t hold back when there’s a job to done… except when it comes to women. I really enjoyed the film overall, more so than I would have thought. The action was tight, well choreographed with a heavy dose of bloodshed throughout. What the hell, even Cuba and Dolph get a really nice fight scene and for that reason alone you should definitely check this out. The acting is a mix bag with most of it being delegated into the bad section, but I thought Cuba and Lundgren, both did amazingly well, with Lundgren being the sole standout. And those loud shirts and straw hat really complete the image of “Don’t be fooled by what you see, because I will fuck you up and ruin your whole day”. I loved it! But then this happened…
The first thing that becomes plainly obvious - no one and I mean no one knows how hold on to a Russian accent; it’s not something I normally focus on, but when it’s so obvious and plentiful, well you can’t help but point it out. Second, I think the film didn’t need Ray’s “secret” (that he killed Janice’s dad and has been secretly watching over her). It’s such a waste of precious time, when he could have been focusing on killing more mobsters in various ways. Finally that ending – it leaves things open to the possibility of a sequel. It’s actually not a bad thing, because I’d like to see it, but it’s how it was done that’s sort of cheesy and way predictable.
One in the Chamber will be available on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital services on August 21st. And while it’s definite direct to video cheese, it’s still quite entertaining and fun… if you don’t take it too seriously. At best, give it a rental before you buy, but I think it’s worth it. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give One in the Chamber a 3.5 and it’s been Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved.