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Action Double Feature: Close Range/Savage Dog
(Scott Adkins, Keith David, Matthey Mardsen, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: Action Double Feature: Close Range / Savage Dog is an action-packed double feature starring Scott Atkins!

Blu-ray Verdict: Up first is Close Range (2015). After rescuing his kidnapped niece from a powerful drug cartel, Colton MacReady (Scott Adkins, Hard Target 2) begins a relentless fight to save his family.

The cartel has descended upon his secluded ranch with a thirst for revenge. In tow are a corrupt local sheriff and his crew of deputies, ensuring that help - in any known form - will not be coming any time soon.

What ensues is a non-stop assault on the ranch, a blow-by-blow survival marathon for Colton to protect his loved ones and save his life.

For the most part, the film looks like something that director Isaac Florentine would have filmed 15 years beforehand, before he achieved major cult fame.

He has virtually exploited himself here, from the pseudo-western vibe and corny dialogue to the condensed nature of the script. Running at a slim 85 minutes, Close Range sticks pretty close to its adrenaline agenda and does not bother with things like character development, focusing instead on physical tension.

It is the type of movie that drama snobs will hate, though it is also a step down from the level of storytelling that Florentine has become adept at.

For me, it is rather disappointing that the films premise boils down to a white guy almost exclusively killing evil Latinos, thus overall, I conclude that this one leaves less of an impression than almost any other picture the star and director have made together.

That all said, and playing Devils Advocate, Close Range contains solid action from beginning to end with a tight opening fight sequence, plenty of bloody gun play throughout and a climax with hard hitting hand-to-hand combat that will definitely please fans of such films.

Then we get Savage Dog (2017). Indochina, 1959. A Wild West town controlled by the criminal class: Vietnamese warlords and European war criminals. Den-Dhin-Chan Labor Camp is run by four such dangerous men.

The worst prison in the land, it is here that a European, former-champion boxer Martin Tilman (Scott Adkins) has made a name for himself fighting tournaments, on which wealthy criminals gamble in high stakes events.

When Tilman is due for release, he just wants to return home, but the corrupt forces running the jail will do everything in their power to keep him locked down.

When all that Tilman holds dear is taken away in a vicious act of violence, he is forced to confront the five men responsible and take his revenge.

For me, Savage Dog reminds me of the 80s and 90s action movies when the action scene was dominated by real tough heroes like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Norris, Seagal and Van Damme.

Unfortunately, times have changed and we do not see many of those anymore although, interestingly enough, Expendables 2 was not the first time Adkins worked with his role model Van Damme.

In truth, Adkins has already made some good action movies in the last decade and is best known as Boyka in the Undisputed franchise. Anyway, after the flawed Hard Target 2 it is nice to see he is back in shape again.

Indeed, to my mind, Savage Dog is very similar to Adkins own Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, which remains one of his better efforts to this very day.

An action movie is as good as his villain is and here we have three! All excellent actors and/or fighters like Marko Zaror (Undisputed III, Machete Kills, Redeemer).

Oh, and by the by, check out Redeemer if you never saw it as it is a truly great martial arts movie! Here we also witness Cung Lee (Dragon Eyes) have his final fight with Adkins and it is massively outstanding to behold!

Which brings us to the action: a lot of breathtaking fight scenes (think of Kickboxer, Savate, Lionheart), but the last half hour is when the real action takes place: a lot of shoot-outs, knife fights and the kills are bloody and brutal! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Close Range - Special Features:
High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround + LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

Savage Dog - Special Features:
High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 2.20:1 aspect ratio
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround + LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English
The Art Of Making It – Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD)
The Fights - Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD)
Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)

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