For action movie fans looking for new thrills to watch at home, there are a lot of car chases, explosions and fights (knife, sword and fist) to sift through. We’re helping to make the choice easier by providing some streaming highlights.
‘F.E.A.R. (Forget Everything And Run)’
I’m a sucker for family-centered, postapocalyptic survivalist films like “A Quiet Place” and “It Comes at Night.” On a smaller scale, “F.E.A.R.” a.k.a. “Forget Everything And Run,” directed by Geoff Reisner and Jason Tobias, mirrors those works for sharp thrills. In a secluded mountain wasteland, the weary parents Josephine (Marci Miller) and Ethan (Tobias) subsist with their young son, Josh (Danny Ruiz), in a cold, dilapidated cabin. The government quarantined their tiny town after a chemical leak from a local plant created a Zombie-making virus.
You can be infected by a bite or by drinking contaminated water, but you may not know because your Zombie-conversion could be asymptomatic. The couple’s infected teenage daughter, Mia (Cece Kelly), wasn’t one of the lucky ones.
The family survives on scarce supplies, but a band of marauding cannibals led by Desiree (a vicious Susan Moore Harmon) depletes the stores further, forcing Ethan to venture into the snowy terrain in search of both medicine and food. Packed with bloody eye-gouging and savage head shots aimed at the fast-moving undead, “F.E.A.R” provides suspense and feverish shocks.
As a mob enforcer, Ferry (Frank Lammers) shows the world a somewhat misleading persona in this Dutch-language gangster flick by Cecilia Verheyden.
Beneath Ferry’s bruising, beer-keg-shaped frame is a well of sweetness. His mob boss, Brink (Huub Stapel), a salt of the earth type, treats the bleached-blonde Ferry like a son. But when Brink’s own son, Matthijs (Tim Linde), is killed, he wants Ferry to avenge his death, pitting his enforcer’s unquestioning loyalty against his softer heart.
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While tracking Matthijs’s three killers southward, Ferry is forced to reconnect with his estranged sister Claudia (Monic Hendrickx), who has cancer. Along the way, the ferocious Ferry falls for the bubbly Danielle (Elise Schaap), but his happiness is short-lived when he learns a startling truth about her. Switching between puffy-faced barbarism and bashful sweetness, Lammers gives a wonderful physical performance. Watching him grapple with the enforcer’s internal turmoil subverts the tough guy trope by making “Ferry” an absorbing gangster character study.
‘I Am All Girls’
Detective Jodie Snyman (Erica Wessels) doesn’t distance herself from victims. She heads a child trafficking task force in Johannesburg, South Africa. Assisting her on the case is Ntombizonke Bapai (Hlubi Mboya), a forensic crime-scene investigator with a grim past. In 1994, Ntombizonke and five other Black girls were abducted. More than two decades later, armed with a pistol and silencer, donning a black hood and mask, she’s seeking revenge against the ring of pedophiles who kidnapped her along with many others.
“I Am All Girls,” a harrowing procedural and vigilante thriller directed by Donovan Marsh, is propelled by the grounded performances of Wessels and Mboya. The pair hold together a wide narrative that intertwines the present-day investigation with disquieting flashbacks to Ntombizonke’s traumatic childhood. Her fits of roving retribution bear passing similarities to Regina King’s Sister Night in “Watchmen.” And a queer romance develops between the forensic investigator and Snyman, making “I Am All Girls” more than a police story with gunplay. Marsh’s action film beats with a big heart for the oppressed and the forgotten.
‘The Infernal Walker’
Rent or buy it on Amazon.
There’s a mole in the Wor Lok Tung triad. And the orange-haired gangster Ting Cheuk Fei (Michael Tse Tin Wah) is their prime suspect. Ting first infiltrated the mob three years ago but has gotten nowhere since. A prominent mob leader, Brother Hei (Hui Shiu Hung), is nearing a megadeal with the head of the Eastern Trade Company, the drug lord Sung Jing Kwong (Ken Chan). Ting needs to sabotage the deal, but a couple of obstacles lie in his way: way: The young Chief Inspector investigating the gangsters lives comfortably on Sung’s payroll by dishing classified tips to him. Also, Brother Hei’s close associate, Kam Chiu Nin (Ben Ng), deeply suspects Ting of being the mole.
The director Ka Fai Wong’s mobster thriller set in China, “The Infernal Walker” has a highly convoluted plot featuring swift back-stabbing, secret clues, wild diversions and obnoxious schemes. I found the whole barrage — fast car chases featuring luxe Mustangs and Lamborghinis and parkour pursuits through dank claustrophobic alleyways — extremely entertaining. Intermittent bits of silly melodrama run through this thuggish romp, but “The Infernal Walker,” endowed with sharp, up-tempo pacing, fulfills that craving for a triad movie.
You’ve got to admire the ingenuity to make a chop shop a kill house where wrenches become axes and screwdrivers emerge as projectiles. Daniel Benmayor’s revenge movie set in Barcelona is a melting pot of ingenious kills and familiar action references. Maximo (Teo García), a top lieutenant to an aging mobster (and a mirror of Maximus in “Gladiator”), wants out so his adoptive brother, the ruthless Lucero (Óscar Jaenada), orders the murders of Maximo and his young son. Maximo is believed dead, but he survives.
Two years later, Maximo teams with Lucero’s scorned adoptive sister María (Andrea Duro) and a teen named Leo (Óscar Casas) to get vengeance. Referred to by his opponents as John Wayne, Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, the silent Maximo delivers top-notch brawling. In one clever sequence set in a kung fu den, Benmayor sets the combatants’ silhouettes against foggy backgrounds so their agile movements pop, another touch that makes “Xtreme” an entertaining battle royal.
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