Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Command Performance" (2009)

"Command Performance" (2009)
Starring Dolph Lundgren, Melissa Smith and Hristo Shopov
Written by Dolph Lundgren and Steve Latshaw
Directed by Dolph Lundgren

Well, color me surprised.  When I first saw the trailer for "Command Performance," written, directed and starring Dolph Lundgren, my first thought was, "Oh you've got to be kidding me."  Lundgren stars as Joe, the drummer for a rock band caught up in a terrorist attack on a concert in Moscow.  In the bathroom when terrorists storm the stadium, Joe manages to go overlooked when the crowd is massacred and the VIPs, the Russian president and his two daughters, are taken captive along with a pop singer and the American ambassador.  As the military gears up for a strike outside, Joe teams with the lone surviving security agent inside and the two set out to rescue the hostages and find a way to escape.

Now, "Command Performance" is by no means a great film.  But as a direct-to-video actioner, it's surprisingly competent.  The storyline is hardly original, but is solidly written and direction by Lundgren is also fine.  The man knows how to stage action sequences, even when limited by his budget.  There are a few stumbles here or there, times when the camera gets too shaky even in scenes that don't call for it, but overall this is an impressive effort for the man who once nearly killed Sylvester Stallone by punching him too hard in the chest.

While well-shot and lit, giving "Command Performance" a slick look, its budgetary limitations become somewhat apparent during the larger action sequences.  But when the action stays small and constrained, the movie works pretty well.  The acting isn't particularly great; Lundgren has never really been much of a performer, and here he surrounds himself with no-names, some of whom are fine.  Some of the Russian characters are pretty bad, though.

Still, with some well-done action sequences and a solid albeit somewhat unoriginal story, "Command Performance" is an enjoyable 90 minutes.  It's not nearly as ridiculous as the trailer makes it out to be, and it definitely knows that the premise is silly and pokes fun at itself a few times, with good effect.  With a few more dollars in the budget, this could have been released theatrically and I won't lie, I'd have gone to see it.