A disgruntled man creates a hit list with a stranger during a drunken night out and must then race to try to save those he marked for extermination as the bodies begin to pile up and all fingers point to him.
Cuba Gooding Jr.,
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Sidney J. Furie
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In search of money and freedom from the American justice system, criminals from the United States moved to Eastern Europe, where the laws were replaced by the crime after the collapse of the Communist system. Many of them chose Prague as their hideout, where crime lords were willing to pay a suitable sum of money to assassins in order to eliminate their rivals. One such assassin, Ray Carver (Cuba Gooding Jr.), works for two rival gangs as their main killer. When Ray attempts to murder a Chechen drug lord, he is being pursued by the mobsters. Meanwhile, Suverov mafia hires Alexey 'The Wolf' Andreev (Dolph Lundgren), an assassin from Russia who is rumored to be not existent. This is when the real gang war starts. Written by
Cuba Gooding and Dolph Lundgren are two hit men, but alliances shift
"One in the Chamber" starts with a nice twisty script and characters and goes from there with the more than competent acting of Cuba Gooding and Dolph Lundgren as hit men. Billy Murray also has a very good part as Gooding's handler. The location is eastern European and that helps.
Two gangs control the city's underworld. Their 3-year truce is broken when one tries to expand. Gooding is hired as the fixer, to assassinate the leaders of one gang. He almost succeeds in getting them all but one escapes his high-caliber gun. On the market again, he switches sides, reluctantly. Meanwhile the other side has hired Dolph Lundgren, who does his assassination thing. Gooding's character infuses some world weary noir character into the story with his voice overs and with his effort to make amends for a little girl, now grown, whose father he killed.
Most of the action scenes are very, very well staged. There is no issue in seeing who is doing what and how they succeed or fail. A fight between Gooding and Lundgren is notably well-done. There is maybe one scene where Gooding escapes bullets too easily.
Lundgren's character (the Wolf) is worth the price of admission. This is not a big budget action movie replete with special effects. Its modest aspirations succeed in engaging us through characters and conflicts more fully than many such big budget movies. Especially engaging are the switches in who is working for whom, plus a couple of betrayals that are handled in a sophisticated way.
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