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While RIOT has absolutely nothing new to offer for the tiresome and tedious action genre, this film does sport a few incredible and breathtaking action sequences that puts this film a few light years ahead of the usual low-budget junk.
On Christmas Eve, 1999, in Florida, full grown teenage racial riots have sparked everywhere... Windows are shattered, lives are devastated, and the national guard cannot do anything that is remotely close to detaining the anarchy.
Amid the violence and the nonstop chaos comes a ruthless, merciless enemy, the IRA. These twisted souls have just kidnapped the daughter (Paige Rowland) of a powerful and popular British ambassador. Working in collusion with some of the street gangs in Florida, the IRA demands a heavy ransom of over 1 million dollars plus from both the United States and British governments, or else, they will return the Ambassador's daughter...mutilated to pieces...
Enter a tough officer and kick-boxing martial artist Shane Alcott (Gary Daniels) along with his buddy, Major Williams (former boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard). They must save the British Ambassador's daughter and soon-to-be Alcott's betroth from beneath all that rubble and consummate destruction in the city. Alcott must kick his way into enemy territory, but to Alcott, he has an old score to settle with the terrorist group, the IRA...
RIOT is an enjoyable film which is big on action and stunts. This movie has its share of car crashes, shoot-outs, explosions, martial arts, and people burned alive. However, RIOT lacks that magic, which is a cohesive plot, that is suppose to keep this film from collapsing under its own weight. RIOT has substantive performances from Daniels, Leonard, and the villains, but this is one of those "been there, done that" type action movies. If you've seen one, you've seen them all...
Evidently, there are no salient features in this movie, RIOT, but it's still worth a look. The escape from an exploding helicopter is a highlight and the nighttime motorcycle chase scene is also well done. Gary Daniels fighting against several roller blade assassins is also fun, exciting and achieved pretty well.
Director Joseph Merhi and producer Richard Pepin, two prolific filmmakers who specialize in making "made-for-video" movies have a gift for designing solid, above average action vehicles. These films, made exclusively for the video market are short on plot, but long on excitement. RIOT is a film that has also done its best to convey a message about the consequences of racial tensions and hatred escalating into shambles. RIOT is a proficiently made, fast-paced movie which is perhaps too cliché at times...
RATING: ** out of ****.
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