Brit hard-man, Scott Adkins, stars as an Iraq veteran turned deserter coming to the rescue in this low budget actioner from genre director, Isaac Florentine. In the film, Colton (Adkins) has to defend his sister’s farm when her husband’s dealings with a drug cartel places them all in danger. Throw in a crooked sheriff, Colton’s mysterious military past and huge muscular frame, and this is a Jack Reacher adventure in all but name.
Adkins and Florentine have previously worked together on the frivolous but fun Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear. And whilst Close Range doesn’t reach the same dizzying heights of B-movie madness, there’s still a lot of fun to be had. Getting down to brass tacks, the plot is slim, but the action is big. Adkins and numerous, almost infinite, stunt actors throw themselves at each other in a ballet of violence and bone snapping. Like Arnie did in Commando, Colton punches through one cartel member after another in pursuit of the final big bad, Fernando Garcia (Tony Perez). Unintentionally amusing is the film’s attempts to humanise these fleshy punching bags by giving them an introduction by title cards that gives each member a name that will soon be forgotten come the inevitable smack down.
And whilst the fight choreography is, at times, brutal, it’s not enough to hide the film’s problems. The acting is a mixed bag with lines delivered flatly as if read for the first time. Though to be fair, even the most award winning performance couldn’t hide the plot holes and clichés that make up the film’s script. Yet, the dialogue is mere window dressing to what Close Range really wants to show you: one man, at peak physical fitness, throwing other men through walls.