Welcome to Sudden Death (2020) – Available now on DVD, VOD & Sky Cinema/Now TV

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Michael Jai White fronts this sequel/re-tread of the 90’s Van Damme action thriller, Sudden Death (no appearance by the muscles from Brussels here though). Updated for the digital age, with high tech security systems, crypto currency and the soulless visuals of your standard digitally shot DTV movie. First off, you know this is a budget picture. The majority of the supporting cast could well have been recruited from a drama school up the road. MJW is great, however. Regardless of budget restrictions or quality of script, he always seems to give it his all, and Welcome to Sudden Death is no different.

A former soldier, who just so happens to specialise in counter terrorism (beating the shit out of bad guys), Michael Jai White stars as Jesse, who now works as a security guard at a sports arena. As things are gearing up for the opening game of basketball season, a group of terrorists take over the arena, planting bombs throughout with the plan to detonate them should their demands not be met. But not on Jesse’s watch. And things take a turn for the personal once the baddies take his daughter, as his kids are also there to enjoy the game. The main villain Jobe, played by Michael Eklund, is quite pathetic and very forgettable, however his comeuppance is one of the finer moments in the film.

Jesse’s joined by the arena’s maintenance guy, Gus. He acts as comic relief, but takes it to the extreme. Despite his rich lexicon of effs and jeffs, his hyper active over acting wouldn’t be out of place in a kids film. Occasionally it’s amusing, but read the room, Gus. It just doesn’t gel with what’s going on. Overall it’s a decent enough action film, which is hampered by the low budget and clearly half arsed acting. Michael Jai White makes his part seem effortless however, and there’s a great turn by Nakai Takawira, who plays his daughter with a fierce attitude. It’s not gonna be topping anyone’s favourite lists, but there’s worse films to kick back with a couple of beers and just go along for the ride.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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