Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

On the surface ‘Ultimate Force’ looked to be tailor made to be my kind of movie. It stars one of those Mixed Martial Arts Ultimate Fighting dudes in Marco Cro Crop Filipovic, who is playing opposite a supermodel in Ruza Madarevic. Filipovic might utter about ten words in the whole movie which is cool to me because that would mean there would be more time for neck snapping and knee breaking. This movie, which was filmed in Filipovic’s native Croatia, was slick looking and had high production values wrapped around an extremely thin story. Again, this is all good because there are times I want thespians and then there are times I just need some action. I’m thinking ‘Ultimate Force’ just may be this movie. No, ‘Ultimate Force’ wasn’t this movie. In fact, despite the top notch presentation, this had to be one of slowest moving, boring, and most lifeless ‘action’ movies I’ve ever seen. What in the hell went wrong?

Things start off well enough as we meet ace assassin for the mysterious State Intelligence Network (S.I.N) Axon Rey (Filipovic) looking every bit the pissed off hard ass, dressed down in his floor length black leather and looking ready to do some killing. He gets his mission, which is to off some terrorist looking dude (Kishore Mandyhan) and away he goes. Like clockwork Rey and his silencer takes out all of this dudes bodyguards, but when Rey encounters a hooded grey eyed woman in a red sari, he hesitates. He meets his mark, who spouts off some Kung Fu type grasshopper stuff and then catches a bullet in his skull for his wise words. Inexplicably however, despite his orders, Rey allows the woman to live because he sees his former dead lover Nina (Madarevic) in this woman’s eyes. This could be because that’s his former dead lover Nina under that sari, but whatever.

Well Ray’s Controller Janus (Igor Gallo) is none to pleased with this and has decided that Rey needs to undergo some mental reprogramming. Having no desire to be reprogrammed as it were, Rey has decided to go rogue, but that only last about thirty

seconds as he is knocked out and dropped on a deserted island to begin his ‘rehabilitation’. On this island Rey will encounter various scary looking dudes in fatigues who will challenge him, though mostly they just get in his way. Back on the mainland Janus is cooking up a plan, along with the long thought dead Nina, to overthrow the head of S.I.N known as The Director (Bozidar Smiljanic), and he knows that he will need to somehow trick Rey into helping him do this.

Next thing you know Rey is freeing his lover from some prison, who he now knows ain’t dead no more, having shootouts, snapping necks and helping to assist Janus in crushing The Director who Janus has convinced Rey that he is the one who has set him up to be killed. The pretty girl did tell Rey a few hours earlier ‘don’t trust anyone’, with extra emphasis on ‘anyone’, including her, and though Rey might not have a healthy vocabulary the man ain’t stupid, plus he’s the 'Ultimate Force'.

Like I said, this one started out swell with my man Filopovic looking very much like the Direct to Video action hero that we would think that he’s destined to be. The look of the the film is slick, complete with one of those neon light type club scenes, a scene in which Axon Rey drops something in a drink that I still don’t what that was, and then following with Axon taking out the thugs and looking for his mark. Yes, it was a bit lackluster, but it was still hype enough to think the rest of the movie was going to follow suit. Unfortunately by the time they drop our hero off on the desert island, it’s almost as if someone slammed the brakes on a car that was already in the process of slowing down way too much. The choreography of the fight scenes didn’t have a lot of punch to them, so to speak, and it didn’t help that the dudes that Filopovic were fighting didn’t seem to offer up much resistance. Director Mark Burson working with his cinematographer frames a pretty picture and he also creates and interesting atmosphere, but he doesn’t shoot a fight scene very well. Unfortunately he doesn’t film a shootout all that well either because when Filopovic put down his roundhouse kicks to the head and picked up a gun, these scenes also didn’t have much electricity to them either.

As far as the acting goes, I realize that Filopovic wanted Axon Rey to be a stone cold bad ass, but maybe he could given us a smile or a frown or something to at least let us know that his character was just a little bit human. I think he did crack a smile briefly in one of those flashback scenes, but then it was right back to looking like he was constipated. Ruza Madarevic is tall and thin with pretty big blue eyes, but she really isn’t much of an actress yet. The dudes who played The Controller and the Director weren’t so bad, but those ancillary characters did little to pump any life into a film that desperately needed it.

‘Ultimate Force’ is a slick looking production that was ultimately a very poor excuse for an action movie. Cro Crop has the look and potential to be the next Van Damme, Snipes, Seagal or Lundgren but he’s gonna have to step up the plate a little harder in his next joint or he won’t even be the next Don ‘The Dragon’ or Oliver Grunner.

Real Time Web