Its 2:30 pm
The cheetah and I were having a cup of iced coffee and discussing how we could snap our two bad film losing streak. Normally,when you can to see what the cheetah and I are watching,you’re getting told about some pure awesomeness that you need to check out.
Be it a short film,a small budget indie film or even a older TV series,the odds are you are walking away going “That Paladin knows his shit!! His co-pilot…well……I dunno about that guy”.
But back to back “eeeek” films? We both agreed we needed a kick ass fun film to share with you all,after all,we now have 130 followers here on Word Press now and they are (somewhat) looking at us to deliver the goods…..
The movie opens up with police Sgt. Nick Peyton (Nevsky) getting some last second intel from a source about a criminal operation run by a Manila crimelord only known as “The Wraith”. Nick is the leader of an elite unit called the Violent Crime Unit and he is going to lead a quick strike raid to snag an associate of The Wraith and get out fast.
The unit then embarks on its mission into an warehouse. As they enter a large room,they are suddenly ambushed,the Wraith had been tipped off that Peyton was coming. Because the VCU was afraid of leaks themselves,they don’t have any back-up and during the ensuing gunfight,Nick and his team are shot to pieces with Dorn,the Wraith’s main henchmen,shooting Nick and leaving him for dead.
Nick wakes up in the hospital and his Lieutenant is there and is grateful Nick is alive,he urges him to get well and to come back healthy. But his captain has other ideas and wants to fire Nick. When his Lieutenant stands up for him and is threatened with dismissal,Nick agrees with the Captain and says he’ll take the heat.
Two years later we see a loving couple,the Wells (Mark Dacascos and Tia Carrere) enjoying a vacation. Matthew is a FBI agent and when he goes to get his wife a cold drink,he spots the Wraith in a public setting. Acting on emotion instead of his brains,Wells charges (unarmed) the Wraith’s party and gets killed in front of his wife.
Mrs. Wells (she didn’t have a first name?) is taken to police HQ where she identifies the Wraith,the cops know that is very bad because he’ll come for her now. We see Peyton’s old boss assign his best female detective to escort Mrs. Wells to the safest place he knows of. But the Wraith is tipped off and attempts to kidnap her. Det. Sabio is a great driver and a even better shot as she manages to pull a John Reese (she shoots them in the knees) and avoid the ambush.
It is now that we see Nick is running a private investigator business with ex-Los Angeles cop Charlie Benz (Van Dien). Charlie is the charmer and Nick is the hammer.
After a humorous encounter with a client about his cheating wife,Mrs. Wells is brought in and not trusting the police,she offers Charlie and Nick 100,000 to capture the Wraith alive and bring him to her.
Charlie sees the dollars while Nick sees a chance to get revenge and so the two start hunting Manila’s seedy underground for him. The two men differ on the way to hunt down a lead,Charlie wants to walk gently,showing the Wraith’s drawing among the people while Nick wants to ask a little more stridently,which is the best tactic in this case.
Soon they turn a huge lead,Dorn,the man who shot Nick,favors a certain brothel. Nick and Charlie confront Dorn (Matthias Hue) but Dorn laughs at them knowing they are not cops. He challenges Nick to go toe to toe with him which Nick gladly accepts and then proceeds to start beating that ass….Dorn escapes and Nick and Charlie start a foot pursuit.
Charlie,thanks to a chirpy American girl,finds Dorn first but is no match for him.
Dorn pounds on him until Nick pops up and puts the smack down on Dorn. One down,one to go….but when Dorn tells our heroes what they are facing,Nick calls for some old friends….and some friends they are! There is Haines (Cynthia Rothrock),Ford (Olivier Gruner) and Dillon (Don “The Dragon” Wilson) and a old army buddy named Vicktor.
They all meet up and prepare to go hunting for the Wraith and his well equipped private army,the showdown has begun but who will survive it…….
Now you already know what we thought of “Showdown In Manila”. We LOVED it!!
What a complete fun action and adventure movie!! I know some people called this “Expendables Lite” but honestly this is a much more FUN movie. When we reviewed “Black Rose” one of the biggest drawbacks with Nevsky’s heavy Russian accent. That is not a problem here,the man has worked very hard and his English is vastly improved.
I really liked how Nevsky played Nick,not as a “superman” but as a man who knows he DID kill his team with his poor tactics and just wants a chance to redeem himself just a little. I like how he didn’t play into type as a vodka swilling bitter Russian either,his pairing with Charlie is to help people when he can…while some of his actions scenes were pretty stiff and wooden,this film was a major upgrade for Alexander as a actor.
The real joy for me was Casper Van Dien’s performance as Charlie Benz. This was my favorite Casper role in like FOREVER. He is funny,charming,seems to be having a GREAT time playing Charlie and his chemistry with Alexander is really good,they make a great screen pairing. This is what I meant when I wrote about Casper getting stuck with catpoo like “Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf”…if the man has a real script he believes in,you can see he is a fine actor. So glad to see him kick ass here!
Seeing Cynthia Rothrock,Olivier Gruner and The Dragon was so frickin’ cool! I watched countless 80-90s action films and loved watching these three light up the screen in so many fun popcorn movies. While Olivier and Don have slowed down a bit,Cynthia is still has amazing and flexible as ever,even using her signature overhead backwards kick!! And that was while she was wearing full combat gear!!! The cheetah was most impressed as he watched that scene about 30 times.
It also was nice seeing Tia Carrere back on the screen as well…she is still as beautiful as ever,Mark Dacascos had barely any time on screen but since he also was the director,its understandable why he didn’t play a bigger part. Once again,it was great to see one of the iconic B-movie villains back yet again. For a big guy who is almost 60,Hues is still in excellent shape and is very light on his feet.
Veteran bad guy Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as The Wraith had the most underdeveloped character in the film and sadly Tagawa’s performance because of this,came across at flat and dry. Maybe an extra 5-7 minutes more film could have established why Nick and the Wraith had such a bad history…..
The story was Alexander’s and it was written by Craig Hamann who wrote the cult classic “Dollman vs. Demonic Toys” back in 1993. The script for “Showdown” was solid,the bumps actually occurred with the fight scenes,some of the scenes just didn’t flow as smooth as they could have but that is common for a first time action director and Dacascos will only get better as he goes along.
“Showdown In Manila” is rated “R” and has a run time of 90 minutes. A big bummer that there are no special features because this film deserved them,a cast commentary would have been awesome!
The cheetah and I gave “Showdown” two thumbs/4 paws straight up.
Have you watched “Showdown In Manila”? If so,drop us a comment!