Its 11:28 am
Yesterday I took advantage of the overcast and drizzling rain to make a run to the video store. The local Family Videos were having two different sales at the same time,a Memorial Day Sale and a Box Sale. This was the first sale of the year and so there I was..
The store I went to was pretty busy and I mean like old school Blockbuster busy. It was pretty cool to see a video store full of folks for a change.
Now I’m looking at the new releases wall and I run across “Chokehold”. Now regular readers know that Lochlyn Munro is the patron saint of “Have Cheetah,Will View”. We will watch and review any movie that we find Lochlyn in….but when we saw that Casper Van Dien also was in “Chokehold”…..I knew we had struck gold!! Two our favorite actors in the same indie film? I mean,outside the Unholy Three who always seem to be in same movies over and over again,we just don’t see this kind of casting on the indie level.
So I put a chokehold on this copy of “Chokehold” and headed home…..
The film opens with Javier (Casper Van Dien) in his gym teaching and training several MMA fighters while his estranged daughter Zoey (Melissa “Scare” Croden) is prepping in Las Vegas for a big fight,if she wins,she stands to get a large payday and a championship fight.
Javier then rides in motorcycle to an illegal underground street fight,one of his fighters is in action and he is there to support her. Meanwhile Zoey along with her corner man is fighting in the cage at a big pay-per-view and at first she seems to be doing okay.
Javier clashes with a low level bookie who implies they could a lot of money if Javier’s fighter throws her fight and Javier refuses. But he and his close friend Renee find out that the fighter has already made her choice and is taking the money. We see several shady looking Syndicate types in the crowd,the fights are controlled by the Russian Mob and Tatiana is the in charge.
Javier sees the bookie being followed by a goon and goes to follow him after his fighter takes her dive. It turns out over a 100k has vanished due to Tatiana and she needs a fall guy to help cover her greed. Javier saves the bookie’s life but is killed….at the same that Zoey is getting her ass handed to her in Las Vegas. Because she was knocked out,she can’t fight for 90 days and then she learns her father has beened killed.
Zoey flies back home and meets Renee and also fight promoter Jones (Lochlyn Munro) who wants to help. They find out that Javier was deeply in debt and about to lose the gym but Jones is able to get an extention and Zoey some underground fights so they raise the cash to save the gym and maybe find out just who killed Zoey’s dad.
The Russian Mob has its own agenda and either Zoey goes along with it or else she may actually meet the same fate as Javier……
Did the cheetah and I like “Chokehold”…..we did…..but only and I do mean ONLY when Casper,Lochlyn and Kip Pardue who plays Uncle Ray were onscreen. The rest of “Chokehold” was bloody awful. The acting outside the three professionals who full of bad accents and stereotypes. The dialogue was corny and you knew everytime Zoey said “I got this”,she was getting that ass beat. The MMA fight scenes were okay but can anyone please answer this….if you are holding underground fights and you are trying to attract decent fighters,why are you allowing those same fighters to have their arms and legs broken? Wouldn’t that dry out your talent pool rather quickly? Pretty soon you wouldn’t have anyone left to fight!!
The best part of the film was a video letter Javier left for Zoey,Casper Van Dien was outstanding here. This may have been the single best dramatic scene I have seen him do in the many films I have seen of his and its a damn shame its in a movie like this.
Of course Lochlyn also was very good,his fight promoter is a interesting character and Munro gives Jones a lot of layers and you get the sense the Russian Mob isn’t the most dangerous player at the table. While Pardue doesn’t have a lot of screen time,he is very effective as Uncle Ray who finds himself disgusted at the choices that Zoey has made.
If the rest of the cast outside Croden (she gets a pass because she isn’t a actor) had been even slightly better,”Chokehold” might have been saved but it is what it is.
The most interesting thing I found about this film was that it was produced by a pair of former major league baseball players,Kenny Lofton and Torii Hunter. I think this was their first film and while it wasn’t very good,I hope they try again…
“Chokehold” is unrated but should be considered a “R” graphic violence and language.
It has a run time of 98 minutes and has no special features.
The cheetah and I give thumbs up to Van Dien,Munro and Pardue and a furball for the rest of the movie.
What is a movie that you have seen that features a outstanding performance in a bad film?
Leave a comment below and let us know!!