Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The last movie I saw actor Rick Yune in was the ‘Alone in the Dark’ sequel, cleverly titled ‘Alone in the Dark 2’, a movie that was inferior in almost every conceivable way from it’s first minutes to its last. That awfulness would also include Mr. Yune but he is not close to the sole reason that movie sucked so bad, but as it turns out that’s neither here nor there in regards to this movie the ‘Fifth Commandment’. Apparently when it comes to the career of Rick Yune nobody knows what’s best for Rick Yune better than the man himself as his name is listed as writer, producer and Post Production Supervisor in this flick, and I’m guessing he probably had his hands in Crafts Services as well, and this is all good.  While ‘The Fifth Commandment’ might not be the second coming of ‘Lethal Weapon’, but it is a slickly produced very entertaining action filled shootemup that was more than worth the time I sacrificed to watch it.

Almost from the opening scene director Jesse V. Johnson’s movie has a sense of cool that separates itself as we see professional hitman Max ‘The Jazzman’ Templeton (Keith David still cool after all these years) listening to some cool jazz – not ‘smooth jazz’ mind you which we here at the FCU barely recognize as real music, but real jazz, while shaving his stubble and preparing to handle his next ‘gig’. His mark on this day would be lethal Chinese mobster Z (Roger Yuan) who has gathered his crew to eliminate some poor sap, whose wife and infant son are looking on, who has screwed something up in someway. So the sap sucks up a boatload of hot lead and Z is about to eliminate the woman and child when The Jazzman shows up capping sucka ass foolz. A shoot out subsequently ensues, the woman dies, somehow Z gets a few sticks of dynamite, because no thug worth his salt is leaving his house without a few sticks of dynamite in his backpack, blows up the joint and slips out the back door. Against his better judgment Jazzman grabs the boy and adds him to his extended family.

Briefly we see young Chance growing up with along the Jazzman’s biological son Miles, with the Jazzman taking Chance under his wing to properly learn him the tricks of the trade. With the passing of time, now well into manhood, Chance (Yune) has become the nations preeminent contractor straight killing suckaz until he gets a contract to take out big bootied Puerto Rican pop singer Angel (Dania Ramirez) – and believe me when I tell you that boo-tay is world class which we get to see via one of the most gratuitous underwear scenes ever put on film. The problem with this particular job is more with Angel’s security director, who happens to Chance’s estranged brother Miles (Bokeem Woodbine). Miles tried to stay in contact with his little bro after leaving home as a teen but his bitter drunk old murderous father wouldn’t allow it as the boys grew into men, apart from each other, but taking similar paths with Miles protecting lives while Chance takes them. Why someone would want to kill a spoiled pop singer with a nice round bottom is beyond us in TV land, but Chance reconnects with Miles to let him know what’s up because there are more than enough killers out there to pick up his leftovers. This particular gig falls to Z, who some twenty years later looks exactly the same plus a deep facial scar, and is also in possession of a hot, but completely insane murderous wife / killing partner. The action in this action flicks now kicks in as there will be tragedy, running, shooting, stabbing, round house face kicking, a couple of showdowns and since this is called ‘The Fifth Commandment’ we will find out if the son will indeed honor his father and resist busting a cap in his ass.

I’m watching this particular movie with the family and they were a little concerned, particularly as the end credit hip hop song rolled out, because they seemed to get their commandments a little confused. The sixth, of course, is thou shalt not kill and the rapper was steadily flowing out rhymes about killing, while tossing in the fifth commandment as if they were one and the same… but then it’s just the word of God so no need to be to concerned about all of that. That apparent confusion aside I rather enjoyed ‘The Fifth Commandment’ as director Jesse V. Johnson has put together a slick looking, fast paced action yarn highlighted by a couple of solid performances by Keith David and Roger Yuan who manage to raise what was probably a mediocre action tale to one that was above average, at least in my opinion.

It is an action flick and I really haven’t seen one of these yet doesn’t take the occasional leap of faith in asking you to swallow a piece of insanity here an there, and this one is no different as it does get a bit silly at times. It is true that we could spend the better part of a day gazing into the big round doe shaped eyes of the beautiful Dania Ramirez, but her character was so irritatingly obnoxious that halfway through we were hoping one of those assassins bullets would find their mark. We did enjoy the synchronicity that actors Bokeem Woodbine and Rick Yune seemed to have with one another, which is great for these cats because neither actor displays too much emotional range in this flick, but Yune doesn’t fake fight on screen nearly as well as Roger Yuan who fake fights SWEET on screen, and Yune is the one with the Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do if I’m not mistaken. Though I’m pretty sure Roger Yuan has to be a Black Belt in something, I just don’t know what.

So if one is looking for things such as ‘emotional range’ or ‘character development’ the by all means turn to Lifetime or better yet the LOGO channel for that kind silly nonsense. But if you want to see dudes get stupidly mowed down by automatic gunfire, watch things blow up, watch a couple dudes beat the hell out of each other and listen to Keith David sound cool, like he’s sounded in countless movies, TV shows, commercials, video games and documentaries for the last twenty five years… then by all means pick up ‘The Fifth Commandment’ on your next trip to the video store. Honor thy Father… NOT thou shalt not kill.

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