Recoil (1998)

Recoil DVD CoverThe final and greatest of the three films beginning with the letter R that Gary Daniels and PM Entertainment made together, Recoil jettisons the ridiculous set ups of both Rage and Riot, dispenses with annoying subplots involving reporters and Sugar Ray Leonard, and allows Gary to navigate a series of impressively destructive and violent action scenes that leave the viewer with a single burning question: does the guy in charge of PM Entertainment have some kind of bizarre fetish for cars sailing through the air and crashing in spectacular fashion?

Let me answer that question with one of my own: Who cares? So long as I’m having my teeth rattled by the thunderous crash of a cop car flying end over end all over some Los Angeles freeway, watching a limousine get ripped in half by a semi, or enjoying a Suburban full of Gary Daniels’ movie family tumbling down a cliff to a horribly painful death, the movie could be endorsed, funded, and co-starring Satan himself, and I’d be happy as a pig in a steaming mountain of feces!

What PM Entertainment achieves in Recoil is something akin to economical action movie Nirvana. The first third of the movie is merely the set up for the story driving the remaining hour which may seem like things are pretty slow to develop. Which it would be. If this wasn’t a PM Entertainment/Gary Daniels confection of carnage!

Remember that bank robbery shootout in North Hollywood in 1997 where the criminals wore body armor and had the police outgunned? The shootout lasted something like a hour before those guys got wasted. Now, imagine that same incident, but with like, 15 bad guys decked out in body armor, automatic weapons, and hand grenades! That would surely turn L.A. into hell on Earth, right? Yeah, it would. If Gary Daniels didn’t exist!

The armored-up scumbags are pretty much having their way with L.A.’s finest until Gary rolls onto the scene. Gary turns out to be the equivalent of about 50 invincible guys with nerves of steel and a heart as big as his Owen Wilson-esque nose!

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Gary just starts walking up to these guys and begins dropping them with head shots! Gary picks up some grenades from the robbers and starts lobbing them at trouble spots! Gary’s mentor cop buddy dies in his arms and Gary kisses his crucifix and crosses himself! Gary rolls over cars and pulls a little girl to safety and kisses her on her little mop top head! He’s like some kind of Catholic Boys and Girls Club Terminator!

And then one robber attempts to make his escape on a motorbike! What follows is a nonstop parade of jumping and wrecked cop cars with Gary in hot pursuit! Even better, much of the chase sees everyone driving through a fifty mile long warehouse full of crates, barrels, palates, and ramps!

A great movie would be satisfied ending with all that action once the robber is cornered at the end of the warehouse. Bank robber caught, all’s well that ends well, right? Not for Recoil!

The guy on the cycle just turns around and drives over top of a car and goes back the other direction! By the time Gary and four other cops shoot the kid after mistakenly believing that he had a gun, we all needed a breather!

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But guess what? Internal affairs has barely even had a chance to get on down to HQ to harass Gary about wasting punks when it turns out the dead kid was the son of a mob boss! And the mob boss (Sloan) wants revenge! And his surviving sons are more than willing to do whatever it takes to exact their vengeance on the officers involved! Whether it involves gunning them down during yet another car chase, during a bust of a hooker or even just walking into the police station and wasting poor Chang, it’s makes no difference to them!

Gary is understandably upset when he finds out all his friends have been killed (“I played soccer with Chang!” he exclaims in anguish.) while he was partying it up in Santa Barbara with his and his partner’s families.

It’s decided that Gary should lay low for awhile and the next thing you know, Gary is recuperating in a monastery and being told that his wife and kids were killed when their Suburban rolled down the side of a mountain.

There’s a leak in the police department which is why Gary is hiding out in the monastery. It also allows for a nice montage of stained glass windows and for some talk about forgiveness and all sorts of stuff that’s heresy in a good action film.

The several months Gary has spent recuperating have also allowed him the time to develop a cunning plan to get revenge on the guys who are trying to get revenge on him. He simply goes to Sloan’s house during a party and starts killing everyone!

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For reasons that are lost in the haze of the collateral damage Gary inflicted at the party, Gary leaves before killing everyone. This allows Sloan to send his remaining sons here and there to get Gary. That in turn allows Gary to shoot the piss out of everyone, jump from a moving car to a limo and fight a guy in the sunroof before jumping off just before the limo’s fateful encounter with a semi! Gary either jumps or is blasted about four miles in the air and it’s so awesometacular you don’t even care that you can see the cable attached to Gary that’s yanking him through the air!

Gary surely isn’t going to provide you with any memorable lines and he exudes too much of a nice, laid-back guy vibe to really ever convince you that he’s gone over the edge, but that’s what us Gary Daniels fans like about him. He’s not about to let his ego get in the way of wall-to-wall action.

Yes, his family are a bunch of annoying boobs – his kids fight over an Etch-A-Sketch and play Risk with his partner, but their deaths serve more than one purpose. Watching them die both thrills the audience and galvanizes Gary into a rage-fueled rampage! That’s just another example of how Recoil is the perfectly structured brainless action film starring no one you will ever remember, but whose car crashes you will never forget!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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