Monday, March 8, 2010

Riot (1996) * *1/2

Cast: Gary Daniels, Sugar Ray Leonard, Patrick Kilpatrick, Charles Napier, Paige Rowland

Directed by Joseph Merhi

English killing machine Gary Daniels joins forces with Sugar Ray Leonard to do battle with I.R.A terrorists who have triggered an American riot to kidnap the daughter (Rowland) of an English ambassador (or something) In which Daniels doesn’t need much of an excuse to get involved as said hostage is also his girlfriend. Riot starts out with a great premise that it then  completely louses up,  in that Riot didn’t need IRA terrorists, because as far as schlock premises go, this film would’ve been much more fun as a straight ahead rip off of Escape From New York than as a mediocre rethread of Delta Force. Indeed the first 20 minutes or so Riot holds much promise and is a lot of fun but then the IRA get involved and the schlock charm is traded in for clich├ęd monologues about the cause, while Daniels and Rowland dodge random thugs while running away from Kilpatrick and his IRA goons. I think the gang members as well as the chaos that goes down during a riot is a far more interesting set of backdrop then the overused IRA but what's even more disappointing is that Riot doesn't even know how to use the IRA terrorists.  Indeed  it turns out the riot is started by the IRA in a plot to ransom the English ambassador and yet they don't even really have a plan and their ability to cause a riot stretches credibility, but what kills Riot is that  it  is so disappointingly routine. The movie does have some good action sequences but because the villains are so one-note and Daniels so invincible it never comes off as exciting as it should and I for one found this predictable and bland. Indeed they squandered a great premise all for mediocre results.

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