Hey gang, Valkor here. When it comes to action films, I’m always on the lookout for something to appease my thirst of bullets flying, bodies dropping and the occasional explosion or two. Looking towards Hollywood mainstream will usually fill that need, but I’m looking for something on the low-end, B-movie, indie side of town. And if you can add Dolph Lundgren to the mix… then you’ve piqued my interest. Check it out, we’ve got ourselves a little actioner called “Riot” and it’s everything I’ve always wanted - pure and simple actiony goodness! Oh and spoilers! I warned ya!
Riot puts the main focus on former cop turned criminal - Jack Stone (Matthew Reese), who purposefully gets himself thrown behind bars into a maximum security prison no less, just to get his hands on a Russian crime boss named Balam (Chuck Liddell) who would make the perfect live-action Zangief if there were to ever be another Street Fighter film; as a cop, Stone uncovered some of Balam’s dealings, which had shown his reach ran far into the pockets of other cops and city officials. When word reached Balam that Jack was on to him, of course, the dude puts a hit out on him. Stone lives through the attack, but his wife… well, she didn’t make it. And as part of his payback, Stone, along with a couple of others, devised a bank robbery where he infiltrates Balam’s account, secures whatever files were there and has that information passed on to a local reporter. In the process, he kills a fellow cop, gets caught and he’s tossed in prison where he begins to plot his revenge. Unfortunately, Balam is held up pretty secure, using the prison as his base of operations. So getting to him will be no easy feat.
While behind bars Stone befriends a simple-minded janitor named William (Lundgren) who’s also an undercover officer looking to expose corruption within the prison - mainly with the Warden. There’s also a woman named Alena (Danielle Chuchran), who works with William as well as having her own payback agenda to settle. As the threesome start to put their big plan into motion (Stone goes for Balam and William goes for the Warden), it all gets messy and in order to get out of this fix they’re gonna cause… a riot! And that’s when the real fun kicks in. How it all comes to a close? You might have an idea, but you’ll have to watch this one to see the end results.
Lundgren’s last film to cross my desk – Shark Lake, left me wanting more on the action side; Dolph vs. Shark should have been a homerun, but it fizzled into a foul ball. Thankfully Riot came along and not only evened the score, but it brought in a few extra runs of joy, which I’ll tell you all about in the TOV Breakdown.
Riot is a total throwback of 80s/90s action B-movie goodness that I enjoyed from the beginning to its intense, action-packed ending. It’s a film that’s filled with just about everything you could ever want in an actioner - a decent story of our hero wanting revenge? Check! Jack is dead set on getting his hands on Balam, no matter what! Do you want some sexy females? Woo! Check! Danielle Chuchran is pure eye candy and she can dish out the beatings to boot! And how about plenty bullets flying and beat downs being handed out left and right? You better believe Check! The fights scenes are well choreographed and edited, with the camera hanging back just enough to let you in on all the awesomeness. The acting is OK all-around, but Matthew Reese as Jack Stone gets plus points for being such a brute, badass; he has a few films under his belt and while this might be my first time seeing him in action, I certainly hope it’s not the last because as an action star – damn! Dolph gets accolades for playing the role of William – very timid at first, but he has his breakout moment later in the film so no complaints. And did I mention that Danielle Chuchran is “pure eye candy”? Did I? Ok! In the end, Riot is 87 minutes of action goodness that’s worth checking out!
My only objection falls on Liddell, who doesn’t sound as “Russian” as I’d have liked. If anything, he came across sounding kinda “Mexican-ish” and it just throws off the character. Maybe they could have gotten someone like Michael Shanks of “Tactical Force” for the part because he plays Russian mobster so well.
Riot is already out overseas (the box art is from the UK version), so expect a US release sometime this year. And I'll update this piece once I get new info. And hey, if you guys are interested, you could always import it. Believe me, it's worth it because Riot packs a hefty dose of action and fun in an 87min. package. I highly recommend checking it out. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Riot a 4.