Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Truth be told it brings me no joy in trashing a movie because any movie, large or small, is a herculean effort and merely getting it to the finish line is an accomplishment all its own. Some movies however are harder to trash than others because you know in your heart that they really, really tried. ‘Backlash’ is one of those movies. Man I wanted to like this movie. Anytime you have a movie with a minimal budget and the filmmakers chose to make an action flick, the kind of flick that simply doesn’t get made enough anymore, and they put helicopters and kung fu fights, car chases, CGI, explosions, and speedboats… then you have shown me a set filmmakers who are doing their damndest to make a flick that normally would take, I would guess, at least fifty million dollars to properly pull off, and even with that kind of budget the big studios still manage to screw these things up more times than not. So with ‘Backlash’ clocking in at ‘somewhat less than’ fifty million dollars, we were hoping it would buck the odds and be that great low budget actioner that we’ve been waiting for. Alas it was not meant to be.

Things get off to an auspicious start as our heroine Skye Gold (Danielle Burgio) is in the middle of a standoff with big time underworld criminal Grazer (Bas Rutten). They stand toe to toe, guns at each others throats with the camera doing enough pans and blurry zoom spins to make a whirlybird dizzy. Finally, after what appears to be an eternity, Skye’s partner / lover Derek (Robert Merrill) shoots a barrel full of explosives which ignites some horrible CGI pyrotechnics which forces Skye and Grazer to fight to a virtual standstill. The authorities round up Grazer but not before Skye kills his son, leaving Grazer to swear eternal revenge.

Knowing there lives are in danger, agency boss Kirkland (Steve Boergadine) sends the young lovers away to safety in sunny Trinidad to enjoy Carnivale while they sort this

thing out. Somebody on the inside leaked this info out however because while Derek was out getting some milk, A helicopter full of commandos dropped down and started trying to end our lovely super secret agent’s life, who barely manages to escape via speedboat while being shot at by this super copter. She tries to get into contact with Derek, who still hasn’t found the damn milk, but it’s too late as we find Derek’s body burned to a crisp after a fiery car accident. Now they done pissed Skye off but good, and she’s going to get to the bottom of why they killed her man, and more importantly, why they’re trying to kill her. Things are complicated by the fact she’s being pursued by a pair of hyper assassins (Kevin Lerone and Lauren Kim) who really want her dead in the worst way, and there’s still the troublesome leak at the agency minimizing who Skye can trust. Well, WE know who Skye can’t trust but she ain’t listening to us.

Like I said, I really wanted to like this movie because the effort was certainly there. Some of the fight scenes were decently staged with Danielle Burgio showing a lot of athleticism in combination with her 2% body fat as she performed her own stunts. That also applies to actress Lauren Kim who combines supreme hotness as well as stellar athleticism, though there was this roll and stomp scene that the pair was doing that was amongst the silliest I’ve ever seen. Yeah some of the CGI was really bad, but at least it was there, showing that they put in some extra effort, plus there were car chases and a speed boat explosion… just what any decent action flick needs. Hot chicks, explosions and fist fights. How can you go wrong.

One of the problems with ‘Backlash’ I believe is that the story framing these action sequences was just too generic. Trust me as I have no suggestions on how to freshen up a tired genre, but the whole ‘get to the truth – mole on the inside’ slant has been done to death and there was nothing done here to try and liven it up a bit. Outside of the action sequences, when the characters started talking your mind started to wander because they just weren’t saying anything of any consequence or interest and the characterizations were way to sketchy and the acting simply wasn’t strong enough pull you into the already run-of-the mill narrative.

Some of the scenes also could have been edited a little tighter, perhaps even discarded completely to further compress the story and eliminate the lulls that the movie was suffering from but I can imagine how tough it would be to cut scenes that you probably blew the majority of your budget on, but it would have been for the best.

None of that may have made any difference because then we would be assuming that there was a good flick trapped within, trying to beat its way out of what we would have to call a definite disappointment. Even though I admire what was done here with far less of a budget, we still have to judge the final product on the same merits that we would judge a film that cost 100 times more and unfortunately ‘Backlash’ falls in the category of a poorly done, poorly scripted action flick.

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