|Index||8 reviews in total|
How desperate must Roy Scheider have become to accept a role in this
straight-to-video offering from Jerry P. Jacobs, who must be some
incestuously close relative of Alan Smithee. It is sad indeed when a quality
actor is forced to prostitute his art in this way...and I thought I'd seen
it all with Raul Julia's swan-song as General Bison in the frivolous
Total CON AIR clone without the budget, stars, script or direction. I particularly liked the character played by Clint Howard.."Hector the Director!" Have producers no shame!
I saw this a few weeks ago after a friend lobbed in from South East Asia with a VHS copy. Stuck it for 40 minutes then put on CON AIR to finish it! Avoid.
This mess of movie is just a big Con Air Rip Off. The Story, The Names, The End. Like, Clint Howards character is named Hector "The Director" and his bald compare with Malkovich character the balded Cyrus "The Virus". Don't bother watch this movie unless you are like me fan of direct-to-video movies. And at last Don Swayze looks like a Ostrich in the movie.
There are some familiar faces in this "Con Air" rip off. Dorian
Harewood from Gothica and Full Metal Jacket is the lead actor who is 12
years into a 15 year sentence for shooting the guy who killed his wife.
Ed O'Ross the villain from Red Heat who also had roles in Lethal Weapon
and Universal Soldier has a role as the tough Warden of the prison.
Clint Howard is a long way from his Gentle Ben days, but he has been
turning up in small roles in movies for years. Waterboy, Austin Powers,
Ed-TV, Tango & Cash and Backdraft. Don Swayze who has been
in.....um.... err... We'll he's Patrick Swayze's brother. The star of
the movie though is Roy Scheider who is a mob boss serving a life
sentence. They are all prisoners on a train transferring The worst of
the worst Prisoners to a new High-Tec prison. Scheiders character
organises an escape with Harewood filling out the Nic Cage role from
"Con Air" of trying to stop him, while remaining on his good side.
The end ridiculously takes stock footage from Silver Streak, and a lot of explosions and stunts happen off screen like Harewood jumping from a motorbike to the train, and a helicopter crashing.
I gave it 5/10 simply for Roy Scheider. There's a great scene early in the film where Scheider establishes his bad-ass credentials by brutally clubbing an uncredited Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) to death. Scheider was 66 when he made this, and he looks nails. I only watched this on TV because of Roy Scheider. Its sad that he had to took roles in movies like this to pay the bills, and its understandable that he did, we all have to make a living. I can forgive that rather than Sly Stallone starring in tripe because he was offered $15,000,000 to do so.
EVASIVE ACTION is nothing more than a cheap, B-movie rip-off of CON
AIR, made by schlock producer Andrew Stevens who seemed to churn such
efforts out with a monotonous regularity. However, there's little
that's monotonous about this particular film, which proves to be a hoot
through and through.
A group of dangerous prisoners - and one decent one - are being transported to a new prison via train (after that incident when "the plane came down in Vegas", nudge nudge). Inevitably they break loose, leading to all manner of low-rent mayhem aboard the train. The direction is poor and the scriptwriting worse, with one exception: the genius creation of Hector the Director, a psychotic loon played to the hilt by B-movie icon Clint Howard. A manic cross between Malkovich's Cyrus the Virus and Hopkins's Hannibal the Cannibal, Hector only speaks in film quotes and is a delight to watch.
The poverty-row budget is all too apparent in the dodgy staging of the action sequences; occasionally the film will cut away from the action altogether (such as a bomb blast) when they can't afford to show it. After a while, it becomes apparent that the money was blown on amassing a cast of B-movie stalwarts and familiar faces. Headlining them all is Roy Scheider as a grizzled Mafia don and long-time convict hell-bent on escape.
Meanwhile, Dorian Harewood acquits himself well as a guy serving his term thanks to a miscarriage of justice, getting the viewer on side early on and coming across as a truly decent character. Elsewhere we get ROBOCOP's Ray Wise as a Sheriff and RED HEAT's Ed O'Ross as a prison warden. Patrick Swayze's brother Don even turns up as another bad guy, and you quickly realise why he never reached the stardom that his brother enjoyed. Most people will scoff at EVASIVE ACTION as a piece of trash, but this B-movie hound thoroughly enjoyed it!
My, my, my, what a little treat this turned out to be. I've been a fan
of Scheider's since I saw him the Jaws movies and that appreciation of
his skills grew when I watched Blue Thunder and Still Of The Night. I'd
also been impressed by Dorian Harewood who I'd only seen in countless
TV series, except for his role in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. So when
I saw this film on the Sony Movie Channel I had to give it a try.
It took me right back to the '90's action thrillers and I have to say, this is one of the better ones. Not only does it have a strong cast, which consists of a lot of B'Movie and TV actors, plus it has a decent story.
Luke Sinclair arrives home too late to save his family from being murdered and the only satisfaction is their killer is caught. However, due to some botched up police procedures, he is released. Sinclair spots the murderer on the court steps where the killer taunts him. Sinclair reaches out and grabs a passing police officers gun and shoots the man to death. Needless to say, Sinclair is incarcerated for fifteen years for the murder and at every parole hearing when asked if he is aware of his actions and is he sorry he always replies no and that the man needed to be held accountable, his parole is subsequently turned down. One day while out in the yard one con decides to attack the prison King-Pin, Enzo Marcelli. Sinclair comes to Enzo's help and Enzo ends up killing the man. Since Sinclair helped Enzo, Enzo gets Sinclair transferred to a high tech prison. However, the prison isn't these convicts destination, for Enzo has devised a plan to escape, giving Sinclair his freedom. Though, when the plan goes awry, which side will Sinclair choose to fight for?
What the writers then add to this scenario are quite a few twists to the story as you find out not everything is quite as it seems. Another good idea was you can never be sure just who will survive this incident as even main characters are killed off. This, for its time, was quite a new way of telling a story and instilling realism. The director also does a good job of keeping the pace riding the rails at a breakneck speed, just as the trail itself careers to its final destination.
There was only one drawback for me and that was the underused character of Hector Miller as he was a psychopath who killed people according to horror movies and spoke only in movie quotes. Miller is kept behind bars even when the convicts get loose as even the bad guys don't trust him. So when he finally escapes you think, right then here we go things are going to get good. Except you'd be wrong as Miller mostly hides away for the rest of the film. It would have been even better if the end of the movie had been Miller walking away from the train wreck and into Las Vegas. But, even that didn't happen - so many missed opportunities with this character,
There are a few inconsistencies which detract from the film a little, the main one is when Sinclair does a "Blue Streak" and gets off the train. He makes it to a local town and steals a dirt bike and sets off to get back on board so he can help the passengers. The trouble being, in the time he was off the train its route is changed... there is no way that Sinclair would know this and he never should have been able to catch back up to the train. However, if you overlook this niggling fact the movie becomes enjoyable once more.
Another surprisingly good thing about the movie is its effects. If they used stock footage, which lots of movies did at that time then they chose the film stock perfectly to tie in with theirs as all the shots look to be the same calibre. There's plenty of train walking and hanging off the cars to satisfy everyone. Even when the train crashes into the station the effects are more than possible.
If you like action thrillers then you might enjoy this one. It is at least worth a look see. I would be only too happy to watch this film again, though it might have to be in a couple of years time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Trains have been a popular aim for movie cameras, ever since the
Lumière brothers in 1896. Take the 1903 Great Train Robbery, Keaton's
General, La bête humaine, Under Siege 2, and many many more. I admit to
have a special liking for them, and couldn't resist when I saw this one
for 1.99 in the shop. Was it worth it? I'm undecided. I wouldn't call
it good, nor bad.. let's call it middling? What I liked most were the
beginning jail scenes - far from Shawshank Redemption or Green Mile,
but quite nicely done. Hey, this is a "direct to video" on a low
budget.. even B movies of old were made for the big screen!
On the other hand, this little thing shows ambitions. Two scenes of jumping on the rushing train, from a collapsing helicopter and from a motorbike, were hinted at but not exactly shown (impossible to do? too expensive?) But then, in Mission Impossible you even had a helicopter chasing the train in the tunnel! The climax shows that the makers had watched Silver Streak (one of my favorite train movies), but couldn't afford a worthy remake. Most bizarre I found how the many people in L.A. Union Station seemed not to bother at all at the "catastrophe", just keeping wending their ways... or was it the desert the train was in, 9 minutes from LA?
Lots of incontinuities. Where was Donner Pass (a famous rail location!) I kept hearing about? How silly can you misrepresent a railroad control room, and its screen display? And does California really have about ten policemen (or did the budget forbid using more)?
And yet, it did have its charms. Even though it was very probably made by adults, now thinking more about it, this movie somehow exudes the embarrassing but fun experience of watching a high-school theater project. Reconsidering, I give it 7/10 - five for middling, but one bonus point each for being set on a train, and for the hilarious audacity of trying to do a much bigger show than the budget would allow... :) I haven't watched Con Air, so I can't compare. But if you like "train exploitation", this film may be worth US$3 to add to the collection, and 90 minutes to watch.
For me, the best part of this runaway train disaster, was the closing credits, where you get to understand just how many interesting character actors are totally wasted by the ridiculous script. Let's start with Roy Scheider, as a Mafia boss. Then there is Don Swaze, Clint Howard, Ed O'Ross, and Ray Wise, all lost in the cartoon-like goings on. You have a train. You have the bad guys taking over the train. You have the train eventually crashing into Los Angeles Union Station, yet everyone in the station seems oblivious to the fact that a locomotive has just torn through half the terminal. Hero, Dorian Harewood, jumps off the speeding train with no ill effects, steals a dirt bike, and somehow gets back on the train without a misstep. The weak attempts at levity, especially with the control room operator, are pathetic. Then there is the damaged helicopter, which somehow manages to get a cop onto the roof of the train, before disappearing behind a hill in flames. I could go on and on. The intriguing cast is absolutely the only reason to see this, but only if you are prepared for the ridiculous script. - MERK
What film! I find throughout this picture that tension is cranked up by stealth. What acting! Drama was fully realised by face and walking. The expertise of act was fully realised by shark attack victim Roy Scheider through brilliant. My nerves surrounding trains were mechanically extrapolated through film- I was gripped by story, and my the action only helped prolong viewing time. Steel train was great name and reflected the true power of train, but Evasive Action is the facts because train cannot be embraced like goose. I think trains are not fully realised as story basis, though Under Siege thought train well and atomic train had battle train, but Evasive Action make steel train! I feel film was excellent and implore everyone who likes act, drama, film and train to watch.
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