Oh Michael Jai White, why must the awesome fortunes you so desperately deserve keep alluding you. You’ve paid you’re dues on countless cheesy action romps, TV show cameos, a small role in The Dark Knight (“ENOUGH FROM THE CLOWN”), you gave Spawn a good go and you’re Black Dynamite for goodness sake… Black Dynamite.
No. Instead of appearing in grander things or more live-action Black Dynamite films you must make things like Falcon Rising.
Our leading man plays John ‘Falcon’ Chapman. An ex-military man who’s doing the same Denzel Washington thing in Man on Fire by drinking too much and playing russian roulette at home. Instead of Christopher Walken as his confident we have Neal McDonough who you may or may not remember from Minority Report. Hang on where was I? I just seem to be naming over films.
‘Falcon’ comes out of his slumber when his sister is put in hospital buy bad drug people. So ‘Falcon’ goes on a Death Wish (sorry I’ll stop mentioning other films) style mission to get revenge on the folks who did it. This involves him going to Brazil where corruption is rife, including a “oh shit I didn’t guess you were a bad guy” narc cop who’s actually running with an evil yakuza crime family. Actually it is starting to feel a little like Black Dynamite. This does give an excuse for sword play and high flying action which involves lots of shots of White jumping in the air in slow-mo and punching people in the face.
This is entirely action by numbers. The plot is so worn out that the film feels longer than it’s 90 minutes, because you’ve seen a billion times, yes literally a billion times before. The action set pieces aren’t choreographed particularly well, like I say it’s people round house kicking and a bit of shooting.
The whole’s thing’s shot with an icky looking blue and green tint which isn’t good to look at. The acting… oh what does that matter… shooty shooty kick kick. White seems to know the whole things bilge and delivers most lines with a raised eyebrow. It’s as if he knows after Black Dynamite he can never go back to saying these lines completely deadpan. That’s pretty much the only enjoyment to mine from this weak handshake of an action film. The title troubling seems to imply that by “Rising” that this is only the start of a Falcon franchise where White will stumble from one country to the next meeting sword carrying drug dealers and corrupt cops. I look forward to the British version where Danny Dyer turns up as an Artful Dodger like detective and Martin Kemp an axe wielding cockney crime lord.
Dir: Ernie Barbarash
Scr: Y.T. Parazi
Starring: Michael Jai White, Neal McDonough, Laila Ali
Prd: Ernst Etchie Stroh, Shahar Stroh
DOP: Yaron Levy
Music: Neal Acree
Run time: 103 mins