Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I think it’s official, Stone Cold Steve Austin is now The Guy. We mused in one of the earlier Stone Cold flicks that he probably should be the new Straight to DVD Action Guy, with Seagal’s weight problems, Dolph and Jean-Claude’s age issues, and Wesley’s legal situation, but thanks to the Nasser Group who is single-minded of purpose in pushing Stone Cold forward… we at the FCU officially anoint him. There is some competition from Val Kilmer who has a Straight to DVD output that is superior to Stone Cold’s, and Val is the better actor though he hasn’t been showing much of that skill of his lately… however if your girl is held hostage and she needs a brutal rescue, who do you want going head up against Danny Trejo’s stunt man… Stone Cold or Val? Yeah, I thought so.

A dude is in the woods hunting bunny rabbits with a high powered scoped rifle. Obviously this cat is not a good person. While chasing this bunny the dude with the high powered scoped rifle makes the acquaintance of Ryan Varrett (Stone Cold) who speaks a few of the twenty five or thirty words he’s going to utter in this picture, basically informing this guy that his reign terror is about to end. One crushed trachea and fall off of a high cliff later, one bad dude is dead.

Who is Ryan Varrett exactly? FBI agent Sutton (Lochlyn Munro) sure would like to know since there’s a growing list of dead sex offenders, rapist and murderers piling up in the path of this unknown vigilante. Not that Varrett should be all that hard to find considering ‘stealth’ isn’t really the thing for the 6’4" 260 pound dude driving the extra loud sixties era Muscle Car.

Ryan’s next stop is the small enclave of Hope Washington. He’s there to take care of crazed rapist Rex Delgado, which shouldn’t be much of a problem, but Rex is the baby brother of crazed gun running, drug smuggling biker gang leader Drayke Delgado (Trejo), and Drayke probably wouldn’t take to kindly to someone murdering his raping brother. Whatever man, color that fool dead.

So Ryan checks into the local motel, which happens to be run by an impossibly hot woman waiting to be kidnapped in Darcy (Serinda Swan), he introduces himself to the bikers by beating one of their members near to death, and eventually he gets around to meeting Rex who will become another notch on the arm of Varrett who is logging his kills by cutting himself. He’s crazy. But he’s only crazy because a crazed group of gunmen murdered his family some years ago, but don’t worry… he made them pay. Or did he? And try not to be a family member in a Steve Austin action movie, because you are so dead.

As expected, Drayke isn’t happy about the fate that befell his brother and he plans to make Varrett pay the ultimate price… by knocking him the on head, kidnapping the hot chick, tying Varrett to a chair and then casually walking away so he can kill him later. You know… that almost NEVER works. Good thing that the FBI agent and modern day Barney Fife (Adam Greydon Reid) are on their way to help in Varrett’s tussle with the 32 angry bikers. As if that was necessary. And the Big Showdown looms.

Here’s what we’ve kind of figured out about these Stone Cold Steve Austin joints, knowing what we’re going to get from Steve going in. We are agreed on what Steve is going to bring to the table, correct? With Steve being the steady rock that he is, the constant, the flatline… the movie is going to be as good or as bad as his supporting cast happens to be. For instance his movie ‘The Stranger’ was on the terrible side since the supporting cast was almost of no value, where as ‘Hunt to Kill’ was pretty darned entertaining because of a supporting cast that amped up the overacting to eleven. Now we have ‘Recoil’ which has the benefit of Danny Trejo as the heavy and pushes this movie over the Mendoza Line. True enough, Danny at close to seventy might be getting a little too old for this nonsense, not I’d still want to tangle with him, but his steady menace and cool brought up Steve Austin’s Stone Cold acting style to the point where we ended up with an entertaining, if not overly simple, motion picture.

Seriously, it doesn’t get more basic than this one. Angry dude loses family, kills bad guys over and over again until they are all gone. Rescues hot chick in between. Director Terry Miles doesn’t over think this incredibly simple, well worn concept, keeps the ass kicking, shootouts, and murder count high, and if something nonsensical happens… so what. Move on to the next beat down.

The best nuggets of nonsense, and this movie is filled with them, comes at the close. This is a bit of a spoiler, but our hero rescues the hot chick and kills the bad guy. I know, right? The FBI agent corners Varrett… remember, he’s been looking for him… and says he would like to take him in but… he has no evidence. And he’s dead serious. That’s hilarious. This guy has just murdered half the town, has a trunk full of unregistered weapons, and in case you doubt he killed anybody, there are still a few maimed bikers alive who can I.D. my man. Then there’s the fingerprints on the throat of that guy he murdered earlier. I’m just saying if Mr. FBI Agent over there really wanted to arrest my man, he could’ve found something. He warned Varrett that he has to be stopped because what if somebody got hurt? Well… a lot of people did get hurt, particularly poor Kirby the Gas Station attendant who got hurt in the worst way all because of Varrett, but I guess he doesn’t count.

That’s some priceless stupid action movie stuff right there, and this is why we are happy to announce Steve Austin as the next great Straight to DVD Action Hero. What? Austin and Seagal together? Oh Hell No! I’m getting an aisle seat, in my living room, for ‘Maximum Conviction’ baby.

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