Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Admittedly my expectations for 'One in the Chamber' were on the high side.  Unrealistically so perhaps, considering this is yet another Direct to VOD movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as a depressed, lethal badass… roles he can perform in his sleep, which I think he might actually be doing here… but this time we have Dolph Lundgren on board and this movie is directed by up and coming action director William Kaufman who also guided a sleepy depressed Cuba in 'The Hit List' which we thought was above average, but more importantly his movie 'Sinners and Saints' was about as stupidly entertaining as a mindless action movie can get.  Ultimately though we were a little disappointed with 'One in the Chamber', not terribly so, but this movie could've used a little more 'Sinners and Saints' styled mindless stupidity and a little less of the very strange melodrama we got in its place.

Today Cuba is depressed hitman and all around badass Ray Carver, and on this day Carver is in Bucharest, today pretending to be Prague, completely eviscerating some mob gang via high powered scoped rifle on the orders of the Suverov brothers.  Unfortunately Ray allowed one of the more lethal gang members, Demyan Ivanov (Louis Mandylor), to get away and this doesn't make the Suverov brothers happy.  This make the Suverov's even less happy when Ivanov strikes back hard requiring baby brother Bobby Suverov (Leo Gregory) to bring in another hitter in the easygoing murderer Aleksey 'The Wolf' Andreev (Lundgren) who is also very good at what he does.

Things get a little complicated when Carver's handler Leo (Billy Murray) hires Carver to now work for the dudes he was killing to take out the dudes who hired him in the first place.  I'm sure hitmen have some kind of protocol and procedures so this seems a little unethical to me, be we will roll with it as we tend to do with these kinds of
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movies here at the FCU.  As expected, this switch of teams has pitted Carver and Andreev against each other, and it does seem a little lopsided since Andreev has about ten inches and ninety pounds of Carver, but he's a tough little dude. 

Also while all of this is going on, for whatever reason, Carver is semi-stalking Janice (Claudia Bassols) the very pretty club manager.  Apparently Ray killed her dad during one his assignments when she was a little girl, in her plain sight, and Ray has taken it upon himself to look out for her ever since from the shadows.  We could mention that Janice looks to be about thirty and Carver looks around thirty five which would've made him a sixteen year old hitman at the time from our simple math, but you already know by now that we roll with these things.  We could also mention that since Janice is a pretty girl with no defense skills in the middle of an action movie and as such she will invariably be kidnapped, and that it's Carver's fault that she's in danger in the first place, be we won't mention that either. 

Regardless, Carver has to get the girl back and kill a bunch of faceless Eastern European cats in the process.  Aleksey… well… that's also a little odd path this movie took in regards to this character, but it might yield more action movies and while we weren't crazy about this one, we'd certainly watch these other movies if they did happen. 

First off we'd like to offer up a moment of silence for the faceless Eastern European henchman.  Ever since these cheap action movies moved over to Romania and Bulgaria, thousands upon thousands of Eastern European henchmen have been mercilessly mowed down via various instruments of death.  Rest in Peace Faceless Eastern European Henchman. 

As far as 'One in the Chamber' itself goes, we have a solid collection of Cuba Gooding Jr. sleepwalking while looking depressed, Dolph chewing up scenery while occasionally using his Ivan Drago Russian accent, some solid action sequences featuring the afore mentioned Faceless Eastern European Henchmen meeting untimely ends, and a bit of misplaced melodrama.  I mean I like a pretty girl in a movie as much as the next guy, but this pretty girl seemed shoehorned into this movie for the sole purpose of getting kidnapped and the whole exercise didn't feel organic.  I used the word organic in a sentence.

Admittedly 'One in the Chamber' seemed to be designed as a more muted action thriller than say the completely over the top 'Sinners and Saints' with its washed out color palette, a more depressed than usual Cuba and its deliberate pacing and I guess this approach kind of works if this is what one is looking for in an action movie but from where I was sitting this erratic pacing kept the audience at arms length, keeping us from getting swept up into what should've been some purely enjoyable madness and chaos.

Still, 'One in the Chamber' was better than average as far as these types of movies go.  The action was solid, the scrap between Dolph and Cuba was impressively staged, Dolph seemed to be having a good time in this one as he almost always seems to be in his more recent endeavors… even though he's still not much of an actor… but we love the guy, and while the narrative was your typical pure utter plot hole ridden nonsense it did keep the movie on track.

Again, we probably expected a little more from team Kaufman considering his past exploits, but 'One in the Chamber' was still adequate if not marginal entertainment.
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