Hey gang, Valkor here. I had planned to put together a top 10 list of independent, obscure action movies. However, the next film, Section 8, starring Dolph Lundgren and Scott Adkins, appeared. And after checking it out, I have to say I'm glad I didn't finalize that list because this one deserves to be on it. The film has a few hiccups, but as far as action films go? This one is a must! There are some spoilers ahead!
Section 8 centers on a former soldier and now family man named Jake (Ryan Kwanten), who has a run-in with some local gang members that were giving his uncle Earl (Mickey Rourke) a hard time. Jake gives the men a beat down, and as revenge, they kill his wife and son. In a fit of rage, Jake tracks down and murders the entire gang, to which he's sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.
Enter Ramsey (Dermot Mulroney), who works for a secret ops group known as “Section 8”. He makes Jake an offer he literally cannot refuse. Because even though Jake objects to joining the group, Ramsey and his men snatch Jake out of prison, taking him to their secret base. The following two missions Jake participates in make use of his special skills- he's a killing machine (to a certain extent) and is needed to take out select targets. In the first mission, Jake succeeds. But he leaves behind witnesses, which is a big no in Section 8. On the second mission, he manages to contain the target but hesitates to fire his weapon. Another member of the team takes him out anyway. But his lack of action puts a mark on Jake's back. And now he's on the run, not only from members of Section 8 but also from another killing machine named Locke (Scott Adkins). All told Jake discovers that he is at the center of something big, and shortly afterward, details about Section 8's true nature and Jake's involvement are revealed.
I've watched my share of Lundgren films, which I've enjoyed, for the most part. Shark Lake still hurts, but then he does something like Altitude, and it puts him back in my good graces. So, how does Section 8 fare? You already know by that Editor's award! But let's delve a bit deeper with the TOV Breakdown!
Section 8 ranks as one of the best action films I've seen this year; The story isn't perfect, but it's easy to follow with hardly any bland spots. What I mean is, when this film starts, it flows at a brisk pace until the end. Jake's story is a cruel one. However, this isn't the first time we've seen this type of tale in action films. Also, with Jake, we feel his burden as he carries the pain of losing his family all the way up until the end credits, seen through brief flashbacks. It's not gut-wrenching, but it's just enough that we understand what Jake is going through. The action carries the film well. Scenes are spaced out well enough that the film is never dull; Bullets fly, cars explode, punches and kicks are hard-hitting, and there are some scenes that are squeamish! All in the name of entertainment! Finally, I have to give a shout-out to the performances; Though hit and miss, the casting is a nice balance where everyone gets enough screen time to help tell the story and keep things moving at the right pace. I Love Dolph, no question. But my favorite in this film was Scott Adkins. And I really felt he was underused. His character was like The Terminator – just a non-caring badass! And I wanted more! And let me say that if there's a Section 9 film, and his character was to return as, oh say, a cyborg... I wouldn't be mad! In the end, if you're looking for a film that will satisfy your action needs, then you'll want what Section 8 has to offer!
As awesome as the film is, I found Section 8 very predictable. I won't go into details about that. I just know that as I watched the film, I could see where things were going. And I kind of called it at the end with the twist ending. And even though I knew, I wasn't disappointed.
Mueller (Tracy Perez) – what happens to her character... ooooooof!
Secion 8 is available now on streaming formats such as Amazon Prime, AMC+, or HULU. And let me just say that it is 98 minutes of pure action goodness! The story is decent and the film is well-paced. However, it's the action that sells it! And believe me, I'm sold! Do I want more of Section 8? Yes, please! Section 9, make it happen! But until then I'm giving this film a solid 4.