I like Michael Jai White. Sure, he's done some crap ("Spawn" for example) but if you've seen the all around awesome "Black Dynamite" or the shockingly fun straight-to-video action movie "Blood and Bone" (and who hasn't seen "The Dark Knight"?) can see why: he's a natural born ass-kicker with charisma and a likable personality to boot. So when I saw that he was in the latest "Stone Cold" Steve Austin/Nasser* movie "Tactical Force", I thought to myself "I'm sure I'll like Michael Jai White." I can say I did, even though the movie itself is pretty bad.
Austin stars as Tate, the leader of an LAPD SWAT team whose men (White and Steve Bacic) and lady officer Jannard (Lexa Doig) kind of botched a mission, and are sent by their straight from the 80's cop movie Chief (Peter Bryant) for a training exercise at an abandoned hangar. However, things go wrong when two when two rival gangs lead by Demetrius (Michael Shanks) and Lampone (Adrian Holmes) have decided to use said hangar to settle business, and our heroes only have blanks...
As I said, Michael Jai White is the best thing about this movie, as he delivers plenty of fun one liners, kicks all kinds of ass and clearly seems to be having fun with his role. If it weren't for him and some enjoyable action scenes, this movie would pretty much be unwatchable. While White is good in his role, the rest of the cast doesn't fair too well. Austin-look, I'm a wrestling fan, and I know he's great as far as the "Stone Cold" character he portrayed-but he spent years with that character. Here, he comes off as stiff and unnatural, delivering his dialog without much in the way of conviction. Meanwhile, Shanks isn't bad, but he's given a ridiculous Russian accent, and MMA star Keith Jardine is certainly imposing looking as an assassin, but when he opens his mouth, all bets are off.
Which leads me to the biggest problem I have with the movie-it's poorly written and directed. This is the second writing and directing effort from Adamo P. Cultraro, and he directs the whole thing with the kind of hyper-fast editing that makes it hard to tell what's happening, with flat cinematography and listless direction to boot. Meanwhile, the script and tone of the movie is clearly meant to be a tongue-in-cheek action/comedy, but few of the jokes are funny, and the whole thing is riddled with holes (How is it that the police force wasn't aware of two feuding gangs? Shouldn't they know this kind of thing?) and one-note characters, making it difficult to care about any of what's happening.
Unless you are the world's most indiscriminate action fan, "Tactical Force" isn't worth sitting through. I've seen worse, but that's no excuse for this kind of mediocrity.
*Austin also starred in "Damage", "The Stranger" and "Hunt to Kill" for the company.