Action thriller set in Mexico starring Gary Daniels and directed by R. Ellis Frazer.
British-born kickboxing champion Gary Daniels plays Cole, a no-nonsense DEA agent. The glamorous Vanessa Vasquez plays Gracie, a photographer and friend of Cole’s ex-wife. Sinister cartel boss Raul Montenegro is played by Luis Gatica.
Former “EastEnders” actor, Michael Greco appears as Johnny, Cole’s brother. Equally as glamorous Vanessa Vasquez, Patricia Peinado Cruz play’s Cole’s wife, Sarah. Fabian Lopez plays Raul’s son, Cesar Montenegro. Justin Nesbitt brings some light relief as Cole’s agency contact.
When an operation goes wrong, Los Angeles DEA Agent “shoot first, ask questions later” Cole, is suspended from duty. In the meantime, in Tijuana, Mexico, after an apparent drunken argument, his brother, Johnny, wakes up to find blood stains in the house and Cole’s ex-wife Sarah missing. Arrested on suspicion of murder, Johnny calls on his brother to help him.
Returning to the scene of the apparent crime, Cole comes across Gracie, a photographer friend of journalist Sarah. Believing Sarah to have been abducted by ruthless cartel Godfather Raul Montenegro, who has political aspirations, Gracie and Cole team up to find out what really happened.
Gary Daniels has forged a notable career as an action actor since 1988. He is probably best recognised for his roles in “City Hunter” (where he fought Jackie Chan in a “Street Fighter” inspired scene), “Fist of the North Star”, “Bloodmoon” and “The Expendables”. Now in his fifties, Gary is in great shape and still effortlessly performs some hardcore, nifty action.
The opening scene is a fairly standard chase on foot, shot in a “shaky-cam” style akin to the “Bourne” series of films. Most of what takes place is gunplay, and running and jumping down stairwells. This sets the tone for the majority of the action, with further fast-moving shootouts.
Our first hint at Daniels’ physical skills are two-thirds into the film, when he takes out an armed bad guy with brutal efficiency, not unlike Liam Neeson in “Taken”.
It is in the film’s climax that Gary Daniel’s finally gets to show a range of fighting skills. Showing a great awareness for the current trend to include MMA in action films, Daniels dispatches the bad guys in various ways. He uses Ju Jitsu and grappling to disarm a knife-wielding villain, chokes out another after some close-quarter combat, and still manages to throw in some nice jumping and spinning kicks. Daniels moves as well as any of his contemporaries of a similar age. It is a shame that the film’s scheduling didn’t allow for more protracted scenes or a greater amount of this type of action.
“Misfire” is a pretty straightforward “straight-to-DVD” or “Video-on-Demand” release. The budget was obviously limited, but the filmmakers have pushed to make the film look as lush as they can within those limitations. Some of the “shaky-cam” was unnecessary, but there are some nicely lit and shot tracking scenes and slow motion sequences, and the action is nearly always clear. There are lots of shootouts, but the martial arts is saved for the very end.
The film is fairly slow to get going with some time spent for introspection by Cole. This allows Gary Daniels to flex his acting muscles as well as his impressive physical ones! The supporting cast, especially Vanessa Vasquez do well, and I would like to have seen more of Luis Gatica’s smooth but deadly villain, who is great in every scene he’s in.
The DVD cover is a little misleading. There are no exploding trucks and helicopters. If anything, this is a character-driven thriller, rather than an out-and-out action film.
The film’s strengths lie in Gary Daniels saying it all with a stare and his apparently ageless martial arts skills in the climax. I hope his next movie features more fists and less guns, and an opponent equal to Daniels’ impressive talents!
- Gary Daniels is originally from England, and was notorious on the kickboxing tournament circuit for his aggressive, but effective, style.
- Daniels fought in Florida and California winning the Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Championship of the World. He racked up a kickboxing record of 22-5-0 with 21 victories by knockout!
- “Misfire” was made on an apparent budget of $1 million.
- The film was sold at the Berlin Film Festival based only on the trailer!
Film Rating: 6.5/10