The Donor Release Date: 1995 Genre: Action | Thriller Director(s): Damian Lee (Abraxas, Jill the Ripper) Writer(s): Damian Lee (Street Law, Watchers) Starring: Jeff Wincott, Michelle Johnson, Falconer Abraham Whenever a filmmaker (or anyone in any profession for that matter) royally screws up a movie to the extent that Damian Lee did Agent Red, man’s […]

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The Donor
Release Date: 1995
Genre: Action | Thriller
Director(s): Damian Lee (Abraxas, Jill the Ripper)
Writer(s): Damian Lee (Street Law, Watchers)
Starring: Jeff Wincott, Michelle Johnson, Falconer Abraham

Whenever a filmmaker (or anyone in any profession for that matter) royally screws up a movie to the extent that Damian Lee did Agent Red, man’s natural instinct is to write the person off as being a f-up in all aspects of their work. The combination of the smell of failure surrounding Agent Red and Lee’s “I’ll talk about a book I read instead of mentioning how much of a disaster the production was” commentary track caused me to do just that.

Little did I know that, for the most part, Lee was just in above his head with Agent Red. As much as critics like me enjoy harping on the people who make direct-to-video action films, the conditions that directors work under are often so rushed and lacking in money that it’s amazing anyone could pull off something competent in the timeframe they’re given. Once I heard Damian Lee’s name come up in a discussion about this, I felt the need to take a look at another film he had done. Thankfully, right on my shelf was The Donor, which Lee directed in the mid-90s.

Virtually unknown now-a-days action star Jeff Wincott stars as hard ass stuntman Billy Castle. While on a mountain vacation with a couple of friends a drunken Castle takes a young woman he meets to a motel for a sex romp. The next day he not only wakes up in extreme pain, but also less a kidney. After the cops show no interest in pursuing the case, a psychologically tormented Castle tries his hand at investigating the crime. While unweaving the clues that eventually lead him to the culprits, he begins to attend a Victims Survival Group, headed by a woman he soon becomes involved with.

Wincott, who got his start in the business based on his good looks and his martial arts background, is surprisingly effective in his role. It’s true that Wincott is held back by a script that paints his character as more of a cop with nothing to lose than an everyday stuntman, but he still handles himself quite well. It’s a damn shame that he’s virtually disappeared from the action genre since the new millennium. The poor guy couldn’t even score a proper role on “24,” where he was cast a henchman that lasted a couple episodes before JACK MOTHERFUCKING BAUER likely killed his terrorist ass.

Incase you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of the show.

As for Damian Lee, he handles himself amicably. His directing is competent, and while he may not have had anything to do with the script, the fact that it’s a mid-90s direct-to-video film that actually makes sense endears me a bit more to the man.

The Donor has a nearly consistent flow of energy running through it which kept me from losing focus. That, in combination with the story, directing, writing, and all that good stuff being more than acceptable, makes The Donor a quality pick-up.
Too bad we’ll probably never see it on DVD. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a multipack.

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The Donor, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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