MISFIRE_2D_DVDDirector: R. Ellis Frazier
Screenplay: Benjamin Budd
Starring: Gary Daniels, Vannessa Vasquez, Fabian Lopez, Justin Nesbitt
Year: 2014
Country: USA
Running Time: 85 mins
BBFC Classification: 15

Cynical DEA agent Cole (Gary Daniels) tumbles into the deadly underworld of Tijuana, Mexico, in search of his ex-wife who went off with his brother some months earlier, and who is now charged with her ‘disappearance’. Cole’s wife, Sarah, is a journalist who may have gotten herself in a bit deep with the local drug cartels and just may have managed to spare her own life, for now, by hiding some very valuable Bara-bonds. Or something like that!

Cole gets involved with a friend of his ex- wife’s, Gracie (played quite well by the rather lovely Vannessa Vasquez), who he initially finds in his wife’s flat looking for a camera. The two of them end up helping the DEA, who Cole is currently suspended from, in tracking down the cartel boss and meting out some much needed payback, with the help of a couple of other agents. And as you would expect from an action/thriller film there are quite few scenes of shoot-outs, stakeouts and chases, joining up the dots of the pretty pedestrian script.

Being a big fan of Gary Daniels I was really looking forward to watching this film because invariably, even if a film itself is not so good Gary busts enough cool moves to keep a martial arts fan like me fairly happy in a kind of undemanding way. However, with Misfire, I found myself looking at my watch a lot, wondering when the next scene which featured some merely adequate action stuff in it would come along to break up the boredom.

Misfire’s main problem is its script, which kind of meanders around not really thrilling us with a plot which has been done before elsewhere, but much better. On top of that the film has got some serious sound issues, which isn’t too surprising since I think they must have used most of the on-location sound. This can be alright sometimes, as it is here, but for the most part it just makes it hard to hear what is being said half of the time. Somewhat ironically, the sounds added in later, like the gun-shots, are crystal clear and really give one’s sound system a good working out! I found myself having to keep my finger close to the volume control button on my remote to alter the volume every few minutes so my neighbours didn’t think there was actually a gun battle going on next door…

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Frazier’s direction is as flat and as soft as the sound mix and really doesn’t do the story any real justice. Too many shots outlast their welcome. Plus I don’t think he brought out the best in his actors. A chief example of this is with Gary’s performance, which seems fairly unengaged for the most part. I know he can do much better since some of his acting in other films is miles better than in this one.

Some of the dialogue is very clunky and doesn’t really make sense. For example, at one point, Gracie tells Cole that his wife was: ‘investigating a series of articles she was working on’. Mmm, that doesn’t really make sense – was she really investigating her own articles?

There’s very little tension and the pace of the film is all a bit slow and confusing, not helped by the sound issues or the rather dull score, which really doesn’t do the action justice. It also takes a bit too long to really get going – it’s nearly forty minutes in before things really start to heat up (in a tepid sense of course) and I spotted a couple of corking continuity gaffs too – something I don’t usually see. Case in point – the coffee cups on the bonnet of the car – one minute they’re full, because she’s just got them, and then next minute the cups fall off empty when they drive away. I appreciate that this is ‘little’ stuff, but when added to the other things that don’t work with this movie and it’s not looking good!

On the plus side there are a few decent moments within the film and it’s obvious that there was a bit of a budget as there’s some nice aerial photography here and there. Some of the acting is okay and Gary does bust a few cool moves near the end, but by that time it’s all too little too late.

All in all – and this is all too easy – Misfire is itself a bit of a misfire (see what I did there?), being a thriller lacking in thrills and tending to test the patience of the viewer; a real shame.

Misfire has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by Image Entertainment. There were no special features on the disc.

About The Author

Justin Richards is a journalist by day and a scriptwriter by night. His work has appeared in the darker recesses of the internet and in various niche publications including ITNOW, The Darkside, Is it Uncut?, Impact and Deranged. When he’s not sitting hunched over a sticky, crumb-laden keyboard he’s paying good money to have people in pyjamas try and kick him repeatedly in the face.

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