Back in Action Release Date: 13 July 1994 (USA) Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama Director(s): Steve DiMarco (Prisoner of Love) & Paul Ziller (Panic in the Skies!) Writer(s): Karl Schiffman (Dead End, Android Apocalypse) Starring: Roddy Piper, Billy Blanks and Bobbie Phillips As I’m sure many of you have noticed, I’ve been spending a […]

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Back in Action
Release Date: 13 July 1994 (USA)
Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama
Director(s): Steve DiMarco (Prisoner of Love) & Paul Ziller (Panic in the Skies!)
Writer(s): Karl Schiffman (Dead End, Android Apocalypse)
Starring: Roddy Piper, Billy Blanks and Bobbie Phillips

As I’m sure many of you have noticed, I’ve been spending a lot of time as of late watching older direct-to-video films. This has left me with less time to fry my brain with the newer films that I used to consistently waste time with. Part of this comes from a growing dislike for the stagnant state of the industry, which is pushing out more and more films resembling aged Hollywood fads (Screen Media’s onslaught of sexy teen comedies for instance) than the schlocky b-movies that I love. Another reason is the lingering fears brought to me by the rapidly approaching death of VHS. Blockbuster abandoned VHS long ago. Hollywood Video recently began a mass clearance of almost every VHS film in their stores at $3 a pop. To date this sale has set me back $130. Even the mom and pop stores aren’t safe. The video store that I recently started working in is packed to the brim with direct-to-video films from the early and mid-90s, but due to low demand, they’re now selling all their tapes for $5 each.

The reason I’m dreading the switchover is because, sadly, most direct-to-video films made before 1998 have not, and will not, be given a DVD release. Some movies are still licensed to companies that are no longer in business, and for those films that are free from distributors, the companies that the rights have reverted back to have gone bankrupt. For those that haven’t, the legal tangles and what not just aren’t worth the expense that it takes a distributor to put out a catalog release that so few people want to buy.

One of these days Back in Action will probably get a DVD release, and that day cannot come soon enough. Despite being made in 1994, Back in Action resembles a mid-level, brainless action film from the 80s. And trust me, that’s not a bad thing, that’s a great thing.

Detectives working out of an unnamed city, which might as well be called Canadia, are just about to make a bust they hope will bring down druglord Kasajian’s notorious operation. At the head of the bust are Detective Frank Rossi (Piper) and his partner, who might as well have a target on his chest because you know he’s not making it out alive. That’s exactly what happens, as the creatively-named Billy (Blanks) enters the sight of the bust, a graveyard, and begins to pick off the evildoers. His intention here is to rescue his drugged-up sister Tara, who doesn’t particularly wish to be rescued, from the arms of one of Kasajian’s henchmen. Billy’s knockouts lead to Rossi and his partner’s cover being blown, which prompts a gigantic shootout that concludes with Rossi’s partner keeled over dead. So now Billy and Rossi, each with different reasons for vengeance, team up to put a stop to Kasajian.

Despite having plenty of undeveloped characters and a cast of assorted bad actors (aside from the always awesome Roddy Piper), Back in Action more than fulfills the expected quota of action. The action scenes contain everything from general fists and kicks, to barroom brawls, to wrestling moves, to gunfire, to car chases.
Karl Schiffman’s script is a hoot as well. Schiffman, nor anyone involved in the production, seem to take the movie seriously. This allows many parts of the film to not only be exciting, but also downright funny.

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Back in Action, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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