|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've always had a fondness for low-budget actioners and THE CHAIN is no
exception, a film that utilises the popular, somewhat clichéd plot
device of having the two central characters chained together at the
wrist. We've seen this done briefly in the likes of DRIVE and PROJECT A
PART II, and also in other feature films like FLED, but THE CHAIN has
an efficient if not particularly memorable reworking of the idea.
The generally good direction is a real surprise when you realise that
director Luca Bercovici cut his teeth on the likes of '80s junk like
GHOULIES and, even worse, ROCKULA (shudder!).
The strength of a film always lies in the central casting, and the good news is that Gary Busey and Victor Rivers are up to the job in this film. Rivers, a Cuban star, is a decent anti-hero, an honourable criminal who underplays his role for the most part. Not so for Gary Busey, unsurprisingly. Busey always seems to play himself in films, whether it be UNDER SIEGE, LETHAL WEAPON, or this, no matter whether he's a good guy or bad. He's always got the same mannerisms, the same "huh!" catchphrases, the same facial expressions, and I absolutely love him for it. Busey begins the film in a hilarious bust where he's dressed as a clown, and he stresses and spits for the rest of the film. Just for some reason I find this actor entirely memorable and lovable, so much so that he's a highlight no matter what film he's in.
The film was shot entirely in the Philippines, so you know it's going to look cheap. At least the jungle locations are authentic and the film has a half-gritty atmosphere to recommend it. The plot is entirely predictable as our heroes face huge cliffs, prison camps, deadly snakes, vicious rebels, death by killer ant swarms and more, and are all the time pursued by a military faction who intend to capture and kill them.
The low budget action antics are pretty well shot, with lots of machine gun fire, jungle camps bursting into flames and some cheesy take-it-in-turns fist-fights. The bad guy of the movie is Filipino Rez Cortez, who's a dead ringer for BEASTMASTER's Marc Singer, and he's pretty funny in the role, either fuming or furious. The supporting cast are mostly Filipino, with the exception of TV actress Jamie Rose who is underwhelming as Busey's wife. Noted Filipino character actor Joonee Gamboa who started off his career in the early '70s with the likes of BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT is great as the rebel leader. However, the strength of the movie lies not in the cheesy, predictable action antics but instead in the central bickering between our two heroes, which never becomes tiring. And I stand by my belief that Gary Busey is hugely entertaining.
Most people would consider this movie a little lacking in realism. This may be true, but any movie that puts Gary Busey in a clown suit, and gets him beat up by a group of mexicans, is definately a quality movie in my book. This movie, despite it's somewhat lack of insanity on the part of the Buse's character, set a standard in action movies, to be copied by such films as Fled.
Somewhere down the line, Gary Busey turned from fantastic character actor starring in the likes of Big Wednesday, Straight Time and The Buddy Holly Story to playing wide-eyed bloated villains (Under Siege, Drop Zone) or D-List Action Leads (Bulletproof, Act Of Piracy). This movie falls into the latter category - The Chain is made by and for the Friday post-pub brigade, the acting is good, the action is ordinary and the storyline is unoriginal. Yet, it still entertains. Like Busey, the movie has an edgy charm, it would take a person with a heart of stone to not find Busey amusing. In short, 3 of four stars I've awarded this movie are for Busey, a single star for everything else.
Cardboard actioner without any charm. A policeman (Busey) goes to a troubled country of Latin American (great "cliché") hunting a wanted criminal (Rivers) but things doesn't go well and they find themselves attached to each other by a chain. Routine plot had better examples in the past. Extremely boring and dull. I give this a 4 (four).
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