Falcon Rising on DVD and VOD

Monday, 25 May 2015 23:00 Written by 

Falcon Rising - available now on DVD and Video On DemandEx-marine John 'Falcon' Chapman (Michael Jai White - "Spawn", Arrow) suffers from chronic PTSD and is suicidal. He takes a call from an old friend in Rio de Janeiro, learning of a terrible attack on his sister. Chapman flies to Brazil and immediately starts making waves, despite being told to keep his nose out. Bad things are going down in the favelas including drug dealing, prostitution and murder, but nobody is willing to come forwards with evidence.

Aided by Detectives Santo (Jimmy Navarro - Crossbones) and Bororo (stuntman Lateef Crowder - "The Hunger Games"), plus the more diplomatically-minded Da' Silva (Millie Ruperto - "Reclaim") and US Ambassador (Neal McDonough - "Captain America: The First Avenger", Desperate Housewives), Chapman discovers that the fearsome Japanese Yakuza are involved, and they have some powerful people in their pockets.

First things first: Michael Jai White is very good at performing action sequences, and the choreography by Larnell Stovall and direction by Ernie Barbarash ("Pound of Flesh") are extremely proficient. White might not have the material or acting chops to rival De Niro but he can move, punch and shoot instinctively, and he has oodles of charisma.

The action is a mixture of shoot-outs and martial arts battles. The former are occasionally a little lacking in tension and impact, but the latter are fierce and contain plenty of variety to keep them fresh. Chapman bulldozes his way through dozens of opponents using whatever weapons he finds at his disposal, most notably a briefcase and some scaffolding.

McDonough does not really get enough meat to sink his teeth into but Navarro and Da' Silva are great as cops with wildly different attitudes to their jobs, Navarro chomping cigars, eating scenery and blasting away whilst Da' Silva's softly-softly approach works just as well. There is also fine support from Laila Ali (American Gladiators) as Chapman's sister, full of attitude and compassion for her big brother in his hour of need (prior to her assault), as he seeks solace at the bottom of a bottle or down the barrel of a gun.

The Yakuza's big boss is played by Masashi Odate ("The Last Samurai"); he wields a deadly katana and sports a magnificent Samurai tatoo on his back. Odate does not disappoint in the final battle.

The film has quite a distinctive look, with highly-saturated colours and strong contrast, perhaps going for a semi-comic book feel. The DVD's picture quality is good but it is a shame there is no Blu-ray release in the UK. At least the movie can be rented online in HD if you crave a sharper picture.

Special features on the disc include:

  • Behind the scenes/making-of featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Blooper reel
  • Trailer

The making-of includes some good-natured if brief interviews with the cast and crew, and reveals that this is hopefully the first instalment of a "Codename: Falcon" franchise. The ending of the film certainly leads in that direction and the cast seem keen to make more. On balance, I hope they do, too.

"Falcon Rising" (2014) is out now on DVD and video on demand, courtesy of Spirit Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 103 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £15.99 on DVD, or less from www.culttvstore.com

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