(aka Assault on VA-33)
Directed by: Christopher Ray
Written by: Scott Thomas Reynolds
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Michael Jai White, Gina Holden, Mark Dacascos, Weston Cage Coppola, Rob Van Dam
BBFC Classification: 15
Low budget but fun Die Hard clone featuring a host of familiar action stars, that sees a former soldier having to protect his Veterans Administration (VA) from a group of terrorists who have seized it. VA-33, a hospital that aids US military personal, has an important general visiting for his routine psyche evaluation. Said general is the target for known terrorist Rabikov (Weston Cage Coppola) who, along with his crew of goons, intends to hold the general and VA’s staff hostage until the general reveals the whereabouts of his being-held-prisoner brother. However, Rabikov didn’t bank on former soldier Jason Hill (Sean Patrick Flanery) visiting for his own check-up, and it’s up to Hill to go all John McClane on Rabikov and his flunkies.
Die Hard clones are a genre all in their own and Assault on Station 33 (or Assault on VA-33 as it’s mainly known) while far form the best, is a cheap and cheerful addition that gets by with it’s likeable action movie cast. Nicely helmed by Christopher Ray (son of legendary B-movie director Fred Olen Ray: who has also made his fair share of B-movie Die Hard clone action films!), he utilises the low budget well to deliver a short and (mostly) sweet action film. Flanery is good as the tough and gruff hero, Cage Coppola (son of Nic Cage) gives good bad (complete with OTT Russian accent!) and there’s a welcome array of action and B-movie regulars in Michael Jai White, Mark Dacascos, Richard Gabbai, Gina Holden and wrestler Rob Van Dam (no relation to Jean Claude!).
On the downside, for the type of B-movie action picture this is, Assault on Station 33 is a bit too talky. The bad guys give one too many speeches (and always seem to be talking on a phone!) and there really should have been several more sustained fight scenes and shootouts (this is diffidently not Die Hard on steroids as the quote on the cover would have you believe!!). The action is a little sparse, all over too quickly, and the legendary Michael Jai White doesn’t even get to fight!
However, Dacascos (very much in just a cameo role here!) and Flanery do get a sweet fight scene and while it’s somewhat lacking in action, Assault on Station 33 is still an enjoyable bad-guys-take-over-a-building-and-a-lone-hero-must-thwart-them flick thanks to a game cast, welcome levity (it doesn’t take itself too seriously with Rob Van Dam providing some laughs as the goon stuck in the van as the lookout!), and unique setting with the VA hospital.
But next time you stick Michael Jai White and Mark Dacascos in a film on opposing sides, please work out some way of them having a fight scene: no matter how contrived!
Patriot Films will release Assault on Station 33 in the UK on DVD and Digital 15th March 2021.