Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
John Nguyen (Cung Le) is a bad man.  Ask those Taliban bastards who thought it was a good idea to kidnap John, torture John, and slit his best friends throat before trying to kill him how bad a man he is.  Unfortunately this incident has left some scars on poor John as he is one PSTD suffering sonofagun.  However, this isn't going to stop some bad people from doing some bad things to John in this interesting, if not somewhat generic action film, 'Puncture Wounds'.  As you might expect, they will regret their actions.

So John is minding his own business in his sleazy hotel room when he hears a ruckus outside.  In retrospect, John probably should've let Tanya the Hooker (Brianna Evigan) just take her whoopin' from these asshole pimps of hers, but John's not that kind of guy.  Plus, when John goes down to break things up, they call him stuff like 'gook' and 'chink' so you know these aren't good people.  Or should I say 'weren't' good people.  Problem is that Tanya and these jerkoff racists work for completely evil and oppressive Hollis, as played by Dolph Lundgren sporting the ugliest wig I've ever seen.  Not quite sure what the game plan was with this look.  Regardless, Hollis figures out who killed his boys and he has a little revenge in mind.  It's a horrible, horrible form of revenge, but this Hollis is not a very nice person.  Seriously.   You oughtta hear the awful things he says to Tanya the Hooker.  Completely uncalled for.

Well, after John received the message about Hollis' 'revenge', Hollis done made himself an enemy for the rest of his life.  Or until the end of this movie.  Whichever comes first.  First thing John needs to do is find out who has done him this egregious wrong, which means he has to kick ass from the bottom up.  And it doesn't get much lower than Carl the pedophilic drug addicted apartment super as played by Eddie Rouse.  I'm telling you, and I'm being serious here, this dude is an amazing actor.  This cat literally slams the door the shut on the sleazy, fast talking, drug addicted character.  He was killing me.  Had I not seen this actor in other things, I'd swear he was actually a fast talking, drug addicted pedophile. 
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Anyway, John goes about the business of beating up folks near to death … or to death… to find out what he needs to know, along with the help of his best friend J.P. (Jonathan Kowalski) and a haggard cop dealing with a personal loss in Sgt. Mitchell (James C. Burns), with this cop kind of wanting John to stop killing people, but kind of not.

Eventually, as you might imagine, John is going to have to bust into the Hollis compound and dispense a little justice.  Eventually, this justice is going to require him to go head up against a giant old dude in an awful wig.  I hope John wins.  The wig is creeping me out.  Did I mention that Vinnie Jones is in this movie?  Vinnie Jones is in this movie.  There, we mentioned it.

 As we mentioned earlier, 'Puncture Wounds', directed by Giorgio Serafini and James Coyne, is a bit of strange action film.  In many ways it's a typical as typical gets.  Supreme badass done wrong has to go through an increasing number of challenges until facing his ultimate challenge to attain his revenge.  Pretty simple.  But this one added some strange melodrama in the mix here and there which kind of brings things down, and it also adds some intense brutality and a particularly wicked performance from Dolph Lundgren which brings everything back up again. 

Take the melodrama for instance, such as the cop and his dying wife.  I'm not quite sure what I was supposed to get out that.  Was it to humanize this cop in some kind of way?  The time spent with us fooling with the cop and his dying wife probably would've been time better spent getting to know John's doomed family so that when something bad happens to them, it has a little more effect than it did.  As it was, it was up to Cung Le to generate that emotion to us through is acting.  That's asking an awful lot of Cung Le.  We could also whine about the Hooker melodrama a little bit, but on one hand the plight of Tanya was integral in setting up for us how truly awful a person Hollis was, but she had another side bet going on with one of Hollis henchman which really went nowhere.  Then there was this scene ripped right from First Blood where John's C.O. informs the grieving cop on why John does what the does.  It wasn't a bad scene, just hilariously derivative is all.

But there were some good things too though.  Dolph was great in this movie.  Wig and all.  There was no wiggle room with Hollis as he 100% rock solid awful, and Dolph played it for all he was worth.  Plus the movie was unapologetically brutal.  Super violent movie, this one.  Not that violence is a good thing, but it fit the mood and the subject matter of the film.  The action was pretty solid, but if I'm putting Cung Le in my movie I'm probably going to have Cung Le fight with his hands more and shoot and stab people less.  It's what he's excels at.  And the final fight between John and Hollis was just a little underwhelming when it should've been the coup de grace.

The end result of 'Puncture Wounds' is mediocre, but the way it got there was odd in that we could see clear elements where it looked like it could be really good, and other elements where it looked like it could've ended up far worse than it did.
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