Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Thomas Archer (Ron Eldred) has the perfect life. Seriously. We meet Thomas at a company gathering where his boss is lathering him with praise whilst he stands next to his beautiful blonde and incredibly fit wife Sarah (Melissa Coughlin). Intercut is Thomas playing with his perfect cherubic child as he throws him up in the air and tickles his nose. None of that stuff you normally see with a parent relating to a six year old such as "Shut the hell UP!í or ĎGet the cat out of Microwave!í No sir, this little boy is perfect. So we as seasoned movie watchers know damn well that perfect people are generally doomed to horrible ends and the Archers are not special in that regard. When Thomas gets home from his little office party, the door of his palatial estate is ajar, the baby sitter is in the middle of the floor with her head caved in and there goes little Tommy Jr. on the floor of his bedroom. It gets worse as the bad guy is still there and he knocks Thomas out, brutalizes and violates his wife and Tommy Jr. doesnít get the much needed medical attention he requires that may have saved his life. Perfect family finished.

You would think this being America and all, a suburban rich white man could get some satisfaction from the law but The Detective (Patrick Kilpatrick) informs Thomas that the case is being called off due to budget cuts. Now I donít know what town this is supposed to be, but when little white kid murder cases are being called off, you know thereís a budget crisis for real. Obviously itís nowhere in Colorado because they are still trying to find out who killed JonBenet Ramsey and sheís been gone for twelve years. Problem is though months have passed since his tragedy and Thomas just canít get right with himself. He canít sleep, he canít eat, his wife is a total wreck, heís filled with self guilt and heís damn near suicidal. His shrink, one Dr. Heller (Christopher Plummer) canít pull the man out his funk so the doc decides itís time for some

extreme measures. Seems the Doc is down with an organization that uses some unapproved methods to solve unsolved crimes, methods that are quite outside the law. Though the police canít find who killed his son, these guys can, and for a hefty fee they will put you in a room with the restrained criminal and let you exact your revenge.

Having no other way to deal with his mounting grief Thomas agrees and in an abandoned warehouse he meets Ďthe maní (Til Schweiger). ĎAlready Deadí then turns into ĎSawí as Thomas proceeds to torture The Man, despite The Manís pleas that he didnít murder his child. Thomas then remembers a unique trait about his attacker that The Man is missing and thus realizes that there is some chicanery afoot. Now completely confused Thomas decides to set The Man free, though this doesnít to sit well with those who set this thing up and now ĎAlready Deadí turns into ĎDie Hardí as the two dudes, one confused suburban dad and one incredibly angry man, who may or may not have killed Thomasí son, but is certainly a highly trained badass, attempt to make it out of the warehouse alive amidst a throng of heavily armed and highly trained gunmen and a host of timed explosives.

Despite the fact that ĎAlready Deadí lacked a bit focus in its narrative, starting out as a cat and mouse chase thriller, leading to a torture horror flick then becoming an throwback buddy action flick, I quite enjoyed this movie. A lot of the credit for this can be given to director Joe Otting who keeps the disparate elements as tightly contained as possible in his film, while rolling it down a smooth track. This isnít one of those thrillers with a Ďtwistí that seem to be the order of the day for the modern filmmaker, but more of a throwback to 80ís cop movies where two oil and water main characters are thrust together in an impossible situation forced to lean on each other, though donít really trust one another, to make it out of the situation they are trapped in alive.

The two leads did fine work with the sketchy, somewhat generic characters they were given. Ron Eldred as the everyman put into a situation which forces one to ask Ďwhat would you do?í was very good. Though I donít think Iíd put nails in a dudes hand, but letís hope thatís a situation that we never have to deal with. Schweiger does even better with his mysterious ĎThe Maní who may raise doubt about his involvement in this crime, but portrays his character is such a way that you know heís involved in something less than honorable and perhaps is getting a just fate. Yeah, it gets a little out of hand with the pyrotechnics near the end but at least neither character in the course of the film becomes more than what they are with the characterizations being very consistent and even. Director Otting also keeps the action lean and the tension in relatively tight.

Though ĎAlready Deadí has a few flaws I still though it was very good, old school style movie entertainment that Iím not ashamed to say I enjoyed watching.

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