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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 10.21.15] Canada action thriller

It's amazing to me that it took Canada twenty years to produce Gridlocked, the kind of fun, buddy cop action movie that ran its course by the mid 90's in most territories (and yes, I'm aware of Bon Cop, Bad Cop). Perhaps even more amazing is how this kind of movie - once a mainstream staple - is now considered "indie"! But, here we are, discussing the new action film by director Allan Ungar, which wears its love of 80's and 90's actioners like Lethal Weapon and The Hard Way on its sleeve and ends up being an enjoyable action movie if not particularly unique.

In what I can only assume is a narrative nod to The Hard Way starring James Woods and Michael J. Fox, the film is about a tough-as-nuts cop who's forced to take an arrogant actor under his wing in preparation for a role in an upcoming action franchise. Prison Break's Dominic Purcell plays ex SWAT David Hendrix and, while he's not nearly as funny or fun to watch as James Woods, he's perfectly cast next to Cody Hackman's fast-talking Brody Walker.

In other call-backs, Lethal Weapon's Danny Glover plays security guard Sully while The Hard Way's own Stephen Lang plays a ruthless villain here again. The cast is rounded out by Trish Stratus, Vinnie Jones and Saul Rubinek.

Some have lauded the film for its action, but I would suggest a lot of this is hyperbole. While there are some tense shootouts and a couple short bursts of hand-to-hand combat, Gridlocked doesn't feel like it was designed as an action show reel. It seems more concerned with playing with the tropes of action/comedy and in that it succeeds at being more fun than you might expect from the super serious poster.

I enjoyed Gridlocked in the same way I can't help but have a fondness for throwback fun of The Expendables movies, but it doesn't hold a candle to the films its emulating. Maybe that's nostalgia creeping in on my part, but while I enjoyed the film a lot there are a many films like it that I would probably recommend first.

Here's clip from the film to give you a taste of some of the action.

Recommended Release: Expendables III

Follow Christopher Webster on twitter.

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