Cold Harvest (1999)

In a world where a comet has struck the Earth, the sun has been blotted out plunging the survivors into perpetual darkness! And if that wasn’t bad enough, a plague has also wiped out most everyone plunging the survivors into a state of near-barbarism! And if even that wasn’t bad enough, this nightmare world of multiple apocalyptic disasters has suffered the most sphincter-puckering development of all: Gary Daniels as twins!

Gary is a British kickboxer who has appeared in a string of straight-to-video action movies including Rage and Riot. What his films lack in budget, originality, and entertainment value is generally made up for with excessive use of stunts and action scenes.

Gary himself comes across as relatively non-threatening, but is always more than willing to show some intensity with his fight scenes, so I usually zone out until I start to hear the dubbed smacking of his feet and hands landing on some grubby-looking thug. You also don’t want to look to hard at some the action scenes where guys get knocked through the air because it’s a crap shoot whether you’ll see the cable yanking them to and fro.

Those of you whose stomachs are churning at the thought of one of these action movies where the star plays twins (think every other Van Damme movie) and the distractingly stupid tricks the films inevitably use to show the “twins” at the same time (can you say “bad wig?”) will be relieved to know that Gary’s wuss twin, Oliver, is shot in the head early on in the film, thus limiting the interaction Gary has with himself to a scene where the surviving twin carries the dead twin to a dune buggy so he can be taken home and buried. And how can you not appreciate a film with a dune buggy hearse?

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The twin that Gary spends most of the movie playing is Roland. Roland is a bounty hunter and when you see that he is dressed like some college kid going to a Halloween party as a gunslinger from a spaghetti western complete with stubble and cigar hanging out of his mouth, you’ll realize that modern civilization hasn’t been destroyed, but has just been replaced with a strange hybrid of “wild west meets standard post-apocalyptic motorcycle thugs” scenario complete with a disenfranchised group of outcasts known as Scavengers. The wild west aspect of things isn’t actually necessary beyond giving an excuse for Roland and his arch enemy Little Ray to dress like cowboys and twirl around six shooters and rifles.

Little Ray runs afoul of Roland when Roland learns that Little Ray has killed his brother. Oliver’s old lady escaped and is hiding out from Little Ray in Roland and Oliver’s family home. Little Ray is after her because she is pregnant with a child who has a gene that could help fight the plague that killed everyone.

Of course, if the plague already wiped out everyone that was susceptible to it, the value of that may be a little suspect. Besides, regardless of how serious that plague is, I think that if Earth wasn’t getting any sunlight, plague research would probably be taking a backseat to stuff like trying to stay alive.

In any case, Little Ray wants to ransom her off to the government while Roland is looking for revenge. Roland is also trying to atone for his haunted past since he got in a car wreck that killed his parents.

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Oliver’s old lady hates him since she is reminded of Oliver whenever she sees Roland and also because of the pain he caused Oliver by killing their parents. I wouldn’t be losing a lot of sleep over what she thought about me though if I was Roland since she revealed that she and Oliver were saving all their money up to start a mushroom farm. You know, because mushrooms don’t need sunlight. And because when the world ends, the survivors are going to demand lots of mushrooms!

There isn’t really enough great action in this Gary Daniels movie like in Rage and some of that is because the movie feels like it’s been filmed on the same couple of sets with different angles and rearranged garbage masking the fact.

So you get motorcycles and dune buggies driving up and down alleys and streets that look pretty much the same and are mysteriously quite well lit for a world without sunshine. It doesn’t really do much for maintaining your interest and forces you to concentrate on the moronic story as well as Little Ray’s high maintenance facial hair.

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You can’t really fault Gary since he gives it his all whenever he has the chance, kicking guys off motorcycles, spinning in the air, flipping over and shooting guns, but what am I supposed to think about your movie when Oliver’s old lady escapes in a helicopter and Little Ray has it shot down with the intent of capturing her alive by having it shot in the tail? And it works! I know this is supposed to be the wild west, but is Annie Oakely in his gang?

When Little Ray and Roland finally get down to business and fight it out, at least that gives us what we want. First, there’s the shoot out where they fire at each other through a wall separating them until they run out of bullets and have to dive clear of each other!

Then they agree to throw down their weapons and settle it like men! Lots of frenetic kick fighting and punching ensue and even an iron bar is used at some point.

Finally, they agree to finish it with this game where there’s one bullet for each gun and the first guy to load the bullet in the gun and shoot the other in the head wins!

This is definitely second-tier Gary Daniels and Gary isn’t helped with the idiotic setting and concept of the film. He also isn’t helped in scenes that require him to suggestively polish his rifle as he stares at his late brother’s wife giving herself a sponge bath. Ultimately, it is the audience that gets kicked in the face whenever Gary isn’t doing the same to someone on screen.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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