I Am Vengeance: Retaliation – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: an ex-special forces soldier is recruited to track down a former colleague turned rogue who the government believed to be dead. Initially, the mission goes smoothly but the ex-soldier and his small team soon find themselves fighting for their lives against multiple forces. 

Is it any good?: in a word, no. Put it this way, Vinnie Jones – ex-footballer and, mostly laughable, thespian, – though he was good in Guy Richie’s Snatch – is the best actor in the film. Vinnie Jones. VINNIE JONES. This film is all most Expo level awful. Almost. It is definitely on par with that turd in terms of acting and execution. With better actors and a better script, this could have been a great spoof.

Unfortunately, the script is woeful and all the actors are obviously martial artists or stunt people. 

I Am Vengeance: Retaliation is watchable for the fight scenes and the truly laugh-out-loud script and story. Katrina Durden is worth watching for as well.

Spoiler territory: John Gold (Stu Bennett) walks into a nightclub and beats up a couple of security staff. The barman, who for some reason only known to himself, walks over to Gold brandishing a shotgun. He is promptly disarmed by Gold. Three ne’er do wells watch the scene unfold – they are sitting in a booth, so obviously they are who he has come for – they all stand up and approach the now armed Gold. 

Not the wisest individuals ever to have walked the earth, they try each try to shoot him and are sent to their maker one by one. One of them does manage to put up a bit of a fight, even though he has just been shot but promptly gets his neck snapped. 

Outside the nightclub, Frost (Mark Griffin) is waiting. He has come to recruit Gold to track down dangerous former ex-special forces soldier gone rogue, Teague (Vinnie Jones). Gold, unsurprisingly, has a personal grievance against Teague but Frost wants him brought in alive to face justice. Of course he does. 

Gold thought Teague was dead but apparently, he is alive and he is a bad man. Obvs. Frost tells him if he does this job his name will be cleared and he will get his life back. Not that he was exactly hard to find so exactly what life he is supposedly getting back is anybody’s guess. Anyhoo, with the chance to regain his…freedom, Gold agrees to do the mission. 

Gold goes and meets his team and is briefed on the mission by Commander Grayson (David Schaal), a man who looks as though the closest he has been to military action is viewing it on television. He tells the gathered about the target and how dangerous he is plus all the bad things he has done. He is a bad, bad man. 

Gold is assigned Lynch (Phoebe Robinson-Galvin) and Shapiro (Sam Benjamin) as his team. Teague heads to his hideout because he lives there and it is a good place for all the battles to happen and it makes him easier to find. Gold and his team find the not-hiding-at-all Teague’s lair. They quickly dispatch the two hapless guards outside and go inside. 

After smashing in on Teague and his heavily armed henchmen, there is a brief standoff before a shootout ensues. With nine people letting lead fly in a tiny warehouse, they all prove to be terrible aims and no one is hit before taking cover behind various boxes and trunks. 

Teague sends his henchmen out from their hiding places to try and subdue or kill Gold and his team. His thugs are quickly killed by team Gold and Teague is captured but not before a brief bout of fisticuffs with old enemy Gold. 

Gold and the team take Teague to their van, ready to take him to prison. As they are about to get into the van, a masked figure tries to kill Teague. Even with a scope, the shooter does not even wing him, continuing to shoot at the bulletproof van. Lynch takes the wheel and they drive off. The van, not being a vehicle built for speed, is pursued by an SUV driven by the masked assailant. 

Lynch, in a genius move, decides to leave the road and drive into a junkyard. She meets a dead end. The masked assailant comes up behind them, gets out of her vehicle and shoots at the van with a rocket launcher. The rocket launcher has the desired effect, blowing the doors open. 

The rattled team inside the van, see a nearby warehouse. Gold tells the others to take Teague to the warehouse. He will draw their assailant away. Gold gets out of the van. The assailant, in keeping with marksman standards set in the film, is unable to shoot him with a submachine gun. Lynch and Shapiro take Teague to the warehouse. 

The assailant goes after Gold. He ends up disarming her and they fight. Gold is a big guy, six-foot-six and not at all a beanpole, so at least one hundred and twenty kilos, about two and fifty pounds. The assailant is a woman. She is fit and a superb martial artist. She is tallish at five-seven but probably weighs less than sixty-five kilos, one hundred and thirty pounds. 

Gold, unsurprisingly, throws her around like a rag doll. She still gets in a good few kicks and punches but, truthfully, one punch from a man his size would probably concuss her. Anyhoo, they trade blows for a bit but are interrupted by more of Teague’s goons who have been tracking him to rescue him.

How they knew he had been captured is anyone’s guess. The goons train their automatic weapons on Gold and the assailant. They open fire. Not one bullet hits its intended target as Gold and the assailant run off in different directions. 

Gold contacts Frost to tell him about the situation. Frost decides to bring the rest of the team to help out Gold because I assume he doesn’t want to miss out on all the fun. Gold regroups with Lynch, Shapiro and their captive in a small room. Teague’s goons find them and blow the door off. The explosion disorientates everyone in the room except for Teague. Maybe because he was wearing handcuffs? 

Teague leaves with his girlfriend, Pearl (Jessica-Jane Stafford). He tells his main henchman, Renner (Bentley Kalu), to watch Gold and his team. As soon as Teague has left, Renner challenges the legendary Gold to come and take out his group of five next door. Renner and his guys go next door. Gold tells Lynch to go and get Teague. He will take care of Renner and the other goons. Shapiro is laying on the floor still reeling from the effects of the explosion. The wuss. 

Gold goes to fight the goons armed with an extendable baton. They all have semi-automatic submachine guns. Luckily, Renner does the villain thing of wanting to talk a good fight and Gold throw the baton at his head and starts beating on the rest. No shots get fired. 

Lynch catches up with Teague and Pearl. Kendrick (Laurent Plancel), another henchman, turns to confront Lynch. The two fight. Elsewhere, Gold is beating on the henchmen but gets blindsided and knocked to the ground. Renner pulls a knife.

Back outside, Lynch, another phenomenal martial artist, meets her match in the equally proficient Kendrick and takes a bit of a pounding. As he is about to beat on her some more, the assailant turns up and kills him. 

The assailant reveals herself. She is Jen Quaid (Katrina Durden) and she has a personal vendetta against Teague because he killed her father. Lynch tries to persuade her that they need to take Teague to face justice. Quaid does not agree. 

Lynch, who is obviously suffering from a concussion or extreme cockiness, decides to fight with Quaid. She gets her second ass whooping in as many minutes and is only saved from a more savage beating by Teague bashing Quaid with a brick. Teague runs into another building. The terminator like Quaid shrugs off her concussion and goes after him. She head-butts unconscious a momentarily feisty Pearl who tries to defend Teague. 

Upstairs in the warehouse, Teague is hiding in, Quaid confronts him. T-800 Quaid slaps Teague about a bit but is interrupted by the plucky but definitely concussed Lynch. Teague tries to attack Quaid from behind and gets kicked out of some first floor doors for his troubles.

Never-say-die Lynch gets into another fight with T-800 Quaid and is just about to get beaten again when Gold, who walks past a prone Teague outside the warehouse, stops her and throws her into a corner. 

Gold looks down to see Teague making his escape once again. No idea what has happened to Pearl. Gold goes after Teague leaving Lynch with a restrained Quaid. Teague contacts Renner and tells him to come and pick him up. Renner gathers together the goons, Gunnar (Joe Egan) and Price (Greg Burridge) who Gold left alive. Gold catches up with Teague. They fight and reminisce between punches. Lynch leaves Quaid to go after Gold. Quaid promptly escapes her, frankly, pathetic bonds. 

Lynch stops Gold killing Teague. Quaid encounters Frost and the rest of the backup team. They want to arrest her. She flash smoke bombs them and goes back into the warehouse. Gold and Lynch head with Teague towards the airstrip. 

Frost and the team go int to the warehouse to try and retrieve Quaid. It does not go well. After smacking up one soldier, she puts a sleep hold on Shapiro and steals his clothing. Using a gas mask as a disguise – brilliant! – she leaves the warehouse and steals one of the team vehicles. 

Gold, Lynch and Teague find a car and Lynch hot wires it. Yes she does. Renner, sitting in a parked car with the goons and Pearl, who has magically reappeared, tells Price to take the next left. I always thought that was a command you gave whilst the car was in motion, but what do I know? 

As Gold, Lynch and Teague potter along, Price crashes into them. The car ends up on its roof. Teague, once again, is unaffected by the impact to the vehicle he is in and easily extricates himself from the car. Lynch and Gold struggle, trapped in the flipped car. Gold calls after Teague as Pearl helpfully tells Teague to hurry up because they have to leave. 

Lynch and Gold stop messing about and get out of the car. Renner takes a gun off of Price and goes to kill them. His aim remains as awful as ever. Teague tells him to go and kill them. It’s as though Renner was not trying to kill them before. T-800 Quaid arrives on a motorbike – maybe she’s a T-1000 hence the motorbike appearing from nowhere. She starts shooting. Badly. 

As they are both terrible shots, Renner and Quaid decide to go old fashioned and fight sans firearms. Renner is, again, a big fella and not much of a gentleman. Quaid, who is uncommonly stubborn and did not learn anything from fighting Gold, takes a beating and has to be rescued by Gold. 

Teague leaves a perfectly good motor vehicle and all of his henchmen and girlfriend and tries to run, on foot. Gold grabs Quaid’s motorbike and catches up to Teague. He calls Lynch, who has been picked up by Frost and the rest of the backup team, and tells her that he is taking Teague to the airstrip. 

Renner, Gunnar and Price get back into the car with Pearl. Quaid has disappeared. She probably is a T-100. Gold gets to the airstrip with Teague but is caught by Gunnar, Renner, Price and Pearl. As Teague is about to execute Gold, Quaid appears and distracts them by blowing up the plane they were planning on escaping in. Teague runs off with Pearl and his goons scatter. Another gunfight. Everyone remains a terrible shot. 

Outside, Frost has arrived with Lynch, Shapiro and the rest of the team. He tells Stiles (Jennifer Lee Moon) to take point. She must have pissed off the director because she is about the only person who gets killed by a bullet shot from more than a foot away, quickly being dispatched by Price, who scurries into the aircraft hangar. 

Frost and the rest do not even try to find cover, confident that no one in the film can be on target twice. In the hangar, Gold and Quaid are running low on ammunition and Teague’s goons converge on them. Frost and the team burst in shooting. Quaid gets in a fistfight with Teague and is nearly killed again but Gold saves her. There’s definitely a pattern there…

Shapiro and Frost fight Gunnar. Shapiro breaks his neck. Teague and Gold fight. Price fights Kelso (Jean-Paul Ly). Renner faces off against both Lynch and Quaid. Kelso hands out a whooping to Price. The ladies take down Renner. Gold and Teague continue to fight but Gold overpowers him. He gives Quaid the opportunity of killing him but she does not take it. 

Pearl tries to escape and is caught by Kelso and Shapiro. Teague gets arrested and warns Gold that it’s not over – wahoo! Another sequel! – Quaid tells Gold she might change her mind and kill Teague at a later date. Frost tells Gold he is a free man, even though he was not incarcerated. The end. 

Final thoughts: Even though I Am Vengeance: Retaliation is badly written and the acting is wooden in the extreme, it is an enjoyable action romp and a brilliant stunt person showcase. Written and directed by Ross Boyask, I Am Vengeance: Retaliation is so much hokum. It is well lensed and edited – Boyask is also on editing duty – and blazes through its eighty-two minutes runtime. 

This film is laugh-out-loud for the wrong reasons, mostly the very bad script and Leslie Nielsen-esque shootout scenes. The use of the warehouse/hangar set, though inspired, gets repetitive and slows down the story.

Jones’ Teague seems to spend most of the film running in circles or playing ‘chase me’. With such an underwritten story it was a good thing that the fight scenes worked so well. As I mentioned earlier, it is obvious watching the film that the majority of the performers are martial artists or stunt people. A quick peruse of their IMDB pages confirms this.

Only Durden’s Quaid is moderately well served in the film, with her character actually having some true motivation to go after Teague. Everyone else seems to do it because that’s the job. Kalu’s Renner is entertaining and, given the minimal amount she was required to do, Stafford’s Pearl is not bad. 

Though it is Bennett’s film, the star of the film is Durden. She is easily the best thing in the film and in all of the best fight scenes. Admittedly, with Jones’ playing the primary antagonist, Bennett’s fight scenes could not be as well-choreographed as Durden’s, which were mostly with other stunt performers. 

If you enjoy good fight scenes and don’t mind bad acting, you might enjoy I Am Vengeance: Retaliation. It is a poor man’s Jack Reacher, made on a fraction of the budget of the Cruise starrer but it is not the worst way to waste eighty-two minutes. 

Bloodshot – review

Brief synopsis: a marine is captured by a psychopath and asked for information relating to a recent mission. The psychopath kills his, wife in front of him, when the marine tells him that he is unable to tell him what he want s to know. When the marine vows to kill him, the psychopath shoots him, killing him. He is brought back from the dead by a military project.

Now enhanced, he hunts down the person who killed him and his wife but all is not what it seems.

Is it any good?: Bloodshot is total action hokum. Taking the ideas from multiple films and shows – The Six Million Dollar Man, Universal Soldier, Terminator, The Frankenstein Monster, Dollhouse – Bloodshot zips through its runtime, with Vin Diesel – returning to full Vin Diesel persona, post-Groot – adequate as the murderous, resurrected, marine trying to uncover his past.

Spoiler territory: Ray Garrison (Diesel) is a marine. Returning from a mission, he is happy to return to his wife, Gina (Talulah Riley), who is worried when he goes on a mission. He tells her that he always returns. They go to bed. He wakes up in the morning and Gina is gone. Two men attack him in his home and he quickly subdues them.

Fearing that his wife might be in danger, Ray goes looking for her. He bumps into a man on the way out of his home. A few steps later and he begins to feel dizzy. The man he bumped into drugged him. Ray comes to. He is strapped into a chair. The man, Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell), wants to know about his past mission. Ray tells him he does not know where the orders come from.

Axe brings in his wife in the hope of persuading Ray to remember. Ray does not have the information Axe wants. Axe believes him but kills Gina in front of him. Ray tells him that he had better kill him because he will not get another chance. Axe kills him.

Ray wakes up in a hi-tech laboratory. A bespectacled man, Dr Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), tells him that he is part of a military project and that he has been brought back to life. Harting asks if he remembers anything. Besides his name, Ray cannot remember anything.

Harting introduces him to KT (Eiza González). KT is also ex-military. Harting explains that he has a new technology in his body that will repair any injury he sustains. His division enhances injured military personnel with KT having her lungs enhanced, Tibbs (Alex Hernandez), who lost his sight, has ocular enhancements and Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan), who lost his legs and has replacement limbs.

Ray thinks he is in a dream and decides to return to bed. Ray has restless sleep, having a nightmare that shows glimpses of his past. He goes to the gym and tests out his new body. He is super strong and he sees his body repair after any damage, as he notes when he hits a concrete pillar. He encounters KT whilst down in the gym. She is having a swim.

She invites him to have a drink with her. As they drink, a song comes over the radio and it triggers Ray’s memory of Gina getting killed and his own murder. Ray wants vengeance and decides to go after Axe. Harting mobilises his team. He contacts Ray, as the technology Ray has in his body allows Harting to connect with him directly. Ray tells him he will return but he has to kill Axe.

Ray uses all the technology in his body to track Axe. He tracks him down and kills him. He returns to the team and they take him back to the lab as, after the damage his body has sustained during his mission, he needs to be recharged. Back at the lab, Dalton goads Ray about his memories. As Ray goes back into regeneration, in the control room, Harting is talking to Eric (Siddharth Dhananjay), who is a computer wizard.

He tells Eric to recreate the story sequence. All of Ray’s memories are a scenario loaded into a computer. KT comes into the control room. Harting questions her wanting to know why she deviated from the script. KT is not happy about the programme. She knows that Harting is killing people who used to work with him on the technology.

Harting tells her that after the next mission they will be able to sell the technology to the highest bidder. He has one more person he wants to get rid of. Nick Baris (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson). Harting loads Baris’ image into the story scenario. They run the scenario, this time Ray remembering Baris’ face as the murderer. Ray goes after Baris. Baris is in London. Dalton is disdainful of Ray, tired of him repeatedly falling for the same scenario.

In London, Baris, knowing what Harting is working on, knows that someone is coming for him. When Ray begins to attack his home, he calls on Wilfred Wiggins (Lamorne Morris) to bring a special weapon that he has created. Wiggins, a computer geek of a higher level than Eric, brings a case. Ray is getting close to Baris. He tells Wiggins to ready the weapon.

Harting, who is watching the whole incident unfold, wants to know what the weapon is. Eric tells him it is an electromagnetic pulse weapon. Harting tries to pull Ray back but Ray shuts him out. He gets to Baris and kills him before he is able to use the EMP. Wiggins activates the EMP shutting down electricity across the city as well as Ray.

Wiggins revives Ray and tells him that he has been killing people who worked on the technology with Harting. Ray decides to go and find his wife. Harting sends Tibbs and Dalton to retrieve Ray. Ray finds Gina. She tells him that they split up five years before. She has moved on with her life and has a family.

Ray gets attacked by Dalton and Tibbs. Tibbs put a device on him and Eric shuts his body down remotely. KT is ordered to go after Wiggins after trying to defy Harting. He shows her that he can end her life-saving technology at any time, forcing her to do as he instructs.

KT tracks down Wiggins and gets him. Harting speaks to Ray in a virtual space. Ray tells him he is going to kill him. KT returns and lies to Harting telling him she could not get Wiggins. Harting, who had decided to kill Ray, decides to send him after Wiggins instead. KT infiltrates the virtual reality and speaks to Ray in the scenario. Harting realises it is KT. She has also allowed Wiggins into the computer code.

Harting goes after KT. Wiggins revives Ray. Harting tries to kill KT but Wiggins has altered her apparatus and he no longer affects it. Harting sends Tibbs and Dalton to kill Ray. KT heads to the computer control room and blows it up.

Ray fights Dalton and Tibbs. Dalton kills Tibbs whilst trying to get to Ray. Ray defeats Dalton. Ray goes after Harting. Harting shoots him with a missile. Ray’s body comes back together. He walks toward Harting. He shoots him again. Ray catches the missile and blows up Harting and himself.

Wiggins brings him back to life and tells him that he has refined the technology so as he does not need to recharge. Ray goes and talks to KT and they watch the sun come up. The three drive off into the sunset. The end.

Bloodshot is an okay, perfectly watchable action, sci-fi. With Vin Diesel going full Vin – sleeveless tee, swagger and a scowl. Bloodshot was never going to be one to tax the brain. The twist of him being controlled by scenario implants was a nice one and elevated the story above similar fare even if it is not the most original.

Written by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer, from a comic by Kevin VanHook, Bob Layton and Don Perlin, the story is supposed to be a backdrop for the action but some of the action sequences are so laborious and over-the-top it is difficult to appreciate them. Directed by David S. F. Wilson, there is a lot of slo-mo employed for effect and too many of the action scenes are over-long.

The visual effects are quite good, very reminiscent of the latest Terminator films. Morris – best known for his turn in New Girl – is the light relief in the film and puts on a good English accent as the computer-genius Wiggins. González’s KT could have been any number of Latina actresses gracing our screens. Not that she is bad. It is just that the performance is not noteworthy.

Similarly, Heughan was always working uphill to make Dalton seem like anything other than a bully. Hernandez’s Tibbs leaves even less of an impression than González’s KT, such is the pointlessness of the character. Pearce, an actor who has turned in some incredible performances over his career, phones in another villain with a showing that any B movie actor could probably have brought.

As I have said, Bloodshot is watchable and quite good for the most part. The most eye-rolling thing is the CGI heavy, long to the point of boring, battle between Ray, Dalton and Tibbs. At one hundred and ten minutes long, Bloodshot does not feel as long as it is and moves swiftly through its runtime.

Bloodshot is a passable actioner and worth a look if you like a brain-in-neutral action film.

Running Out Of Time – Review (Netflix)

Brenda (Tasha Smith) is the widow of former chief of staff to the Senator (Michael Toland), Clarence Harper (Sean Dominic). Local reporter, Pamela Odell (Kearia Schroeder), a close friend of the family, covers the funeral on the news. After the funeral, the Senator, who was in attendance, comes and gives his condolences to Brenda, Brenda’s mother, Dolly (Telma Hopkins) and daughter, Kristen (Sydney Elise Johnson).

Pamela comes over with her husband, Cain (RonReaco Lee) to offer her condolences. Brenda tells her that she and the family are going to leave the city for a few days, and go and stay at their home in the country. The Senator calls Cain over. He tells him that with Clarence’s death, he will become the new chief of staff.

Brenda, Dolly, and Kristen leave the city and head to the country house. The three women settle in. As evening falls, Kristen takes Dolly some soup and her medication. The medication is for lung cancer. Dolly tells her to grab her flask from her bag. Kristen leaves her grandmother. Brenda comes to say goodnight to her mother. She sees that she is having whiskey with her medication, and comments that the mix of the two will knock her out.

The ladies retire for the night. Brenda is awoken in the night by somebody at the door. It is Cain, and he is frantic. He starts to apologise, coming into the house. He goes back to the front door and opens it to two masked men with guns. They come in and take them both hostage. Cain says to Brenda they forced him to bring him to her house.

They go and find Kristen. They leave Dolly sleeping, knocked out by the pills and whiskey. The men hold the three hostages in the lounge. Brenda wants to know what the men want, she tells them that they can have money. They don’t want money. They take her to the safe. What they are looking for is not in the safe. They are looking for a file. Brenda does not know about the file.

you can trust me… tell me where the file is…!


Cain tells the masked man that he knows him. He is the security agent, Spears (Dustin Harnish). Spears acknowledges that he is indeed who he thinks he is. Spears says they will have to execute plan B. He takes Cain and Brenda back to the lounge. Cain tries to overpower Spears, causing him to drop his gun. Brenda grabs the gun and threatens to kill Spears. The gun is not loaded. He takes it back off of her.

They take the three of them down to the basement and tie them up. Cain asks Brenda about the file. She tells him that she knows nothing about the file. He tells her that they have Pamela and his sons. Cain tells her about some files that Clarence found indicating corruption in the government and off-shore accounts. The captors come back and take Cain and Brenda.

They have Pamela in the kitchen. They do not feel like Brenda or Cain are cooperating. They kill Pamela to show they are serious. Spears tells Brenda that Clarence was killed with a poison that induced his heart attack. He tells her that he also plans to fake a history of her mental state and kill all of the family, blaming it on her, unless she gives them what they want.

The take them back to the basement and search the house for the file. Kristen manages to free herself and untie the other two. Brenda tells her to go and grab the grandmother’s phone and call the police. Cain causes a distraction, and Kristen escapes and gets the phone. The other agent, Trent (Paul Logan) goes after her. He catches her, but not before she calls the police.

The police come around and Spears tells Brenda to get rid of them. Dolly wakes up with the commotion and comes to see what is happening. Trent is holding a knife to Kristen’s throat. He does not want to go back to jail. Brenda gets rid of the police. Dolly and Brenda are taken to the basement.

Trent is getting antsy, he wants to kill them and leave. Brenda tells them she thinks that her lawyer might have the file. Dolly insults Spears. He knocks her out with a kick. Brenda attacks him in a fit of rage but is quickly beat down. Trent is still unhappy. He is worried about the police. He points his gun at Brenda. Spears tells him not to kill her.

Cain shoots Trent. It turns out he is the mastermind behind the whole ordeal. He grabs Brenda, they are going to go and visit her lawyer. He tells Brenda why he is executing his plan. Clarence did tell him about the corruption, and Cain had suggested they use it to further their political ambitions. Clarence had no interest in that. He also tells her he was the one who poisoned Clarence.

Cain wants the file so he can become Vice President, and eventually President. Cain takes Brenda into town to meet the lawyer. Back at the country house, Spears is preparing to dispose of Trent’s body.

He pours acid into the metal bath. Cain and Brenda collect the file. Kristen escapes again, freeing herself with Trent’s’ discarded dagger. She surprises Spears and stabs him in the thigh. He slaps her and she hits him with a tray causing him to fall into the bath of acid.

Brenda tells Cain to call Spears. Spears, who is dead, does not answer. Brenda hits Cain in the groin and takes the car. She drives back to the country house. Cain steals a car from a man at gunpoint and follows after her.

Back in the country, Cain catches up with Brenda. He persuades her that the best option is to blame Spears for everything, as long as he gets the file. Brenda insists on a copy of the file. A year later, Cain is Vice President. Brenda comes to see him at his inauguration. She pricks him in the back and he suffers a heart attack. The end.

Shoot him! Shoot him!


Running Out Of Time, produced, written, and directed by Christopher B Stokes, is an okay, patchy thriller. Following the well-trodden ground of corrupt and/or ambitious men within the political sphere prepared to do anything to gain power, Running Out Of Time is an occasionally clunky, unsubtle addition to the genre of such political thrillers.

Stokes, who was also behind the wretched We Belong Together, is much more comfortable when writing and directing subject matter that is more urban in nature. The first half of Running Out Of Time is so unnatural sounding and awkward it is as though Stokes has never heard of The West Wing, Absolute Power or Marathon Man, let alone seen them.

Visually, the film looks good if a little too teal and orange for my liking. The house in the country is absolutely beautiful and looks amazing in a high definition show house kind of way.

Stokes, for a veteran of some twenty-five directing credits, decides to use slow motion in the most random places, the slowing of the image not adding to the story or impact at all.

Stokes also, with a background in directing music videos, allows the music to overwhelm some of the scenes. There is a supposedly emotional scene when Smith’s Brenda is alone, thinking one can only guess—there is no montage sequence—about her recently departed husband. It is basically a music video, and it’s wholly underwhelming and a little jarring.

The fact that Lee’s Cain turned out to be the big bad was about as surprising as Christmas being in December. Having said that, once he revealed himself to be the mastermind behind the ordeal, the film improved greatly, the pace and script were much more suited to Stokes’ directing style.

At ninety-seven minutes long, Running Out Of Time is not an overly long film, and after the midway point, moves along quite swiftly. If you can get past the ham-fisted dialogue and exposition, and forgive the ropey acting, something that is exacerbated by the poor script, Running Out Of Time is a mediocre thriller worth a look if you have nothing else watch.