Monday, March 8, 2010

Rage (1995)
* * *1/2

Cast: Gary Daniels, Kenneth Tigar, Jillian McWhirter, Peter Jason, Mark Metcalf

Directed by Joseph Merhi

PM movies made some of the best straight to video action flicks in the 1990s, and this is probably their best effort and when you see the movie you’ll know why I gave this such a high rating. The film opens with Daniels as a elementary school teacher who lectures his class that cannibalism is not normal after a grade school tyke tells the class that people do eat each other in real life, naming Jeffrey Dahmer, it is a good moment because Daniels actually sells it as a teacher. It is a cute moment and showcases the type of humor that coincides with the level of high stakes action. Indeed the reason I find Rage to be so much fun is that Joseph Merhi directs the action for maximum excitement but he also makes the fight sequences also suspenseful. Indeed the sequence where Daniels is hanging off a building is extremely suspenseful and it’s only a shame that such didn’t happen towards the ending as the action while suspenseful and action packed fails to match the suspense level. Gary Daniels isn’t known for quality projects as he’s always reminded me of a Dolph Lundgren clone, but here he’s more at home playing an everyday type and given his looks, somewhat slender frame and softer voice he makes for quite a convincing everyday man that wakes up to find government goons injecting him with serums and then running away from the bad guys and trading blows. It’s a very well made movie and the action sequences are so good they make up for any of the problems the underwritten script and clich├ęd cloak and dagger conspiracy angles that make up the plot line. Indeed it’s all about action and Rage delivers what it promises and in a way that far exceeds expectations. Indeed it makes one wonder how Michael Bay can’t accomplish the same despite having more of a budget at his disposal. Rage is one of the best straight to video action movies ever made and it deserves to have a bigger cult following.

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