Review of Awol-72

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18 Sep 15

Luke Goss is Conrad Miller, a marine who’s gone AWOL with an important piece of government intel. RZA is the LAPD detective on his trail for some reason. There’s also some Russian intelligence guy and a couple of assassins after him, and his main squeeze Laura Wilder (Heather Roop) is involved too. The 72 part might or might not have been explained. This is the kind of film where Conrad tosses, breaks or otherwise disposes of his phone after every single phone call (and yet people somehow know how to reach him?). This is the kind of film where an asshole at a gas station not only steals change from the tip jar, abuses his girlfriend and is about to drink and drive but is actually wearing a confederate flag shirt so you know he must be bad. This is the kind of film where an assassin pretends to be looking for a dog to overhear some information only to drop the lead on the ground as soon as he hears it. Subtlety is not a priority. It’s actually only a few shades away from being an outright spoof; shame no-one pushed it in that direction, because that would have been a lot more fun to watch.

As it is, this simple premise gets bogged down when Miller tries to book a room at the wrong motel, uncovering and then dismantling a drug and human trafficking operation that’s also somehow related to the afore-mentioned confederate flag attired man. The already thin plot is put on hold for this diversion that not only has no bearing on anything that happens before or afterwards but isn’t enjoyable enough to justify its presence in the film. It’s just padding.

The action is mediocre, long stand-offs leading to hand-to-hand violence where the camera is very shaky in an attempt to get away without any decent fight choreography. Back in the ’90s you could slot in a Jean-Claude Van Damme or similar, give him a few quips and coast on charm. Maybe the modern equivalent would be someone like Dwayne Johnson or Jason Statham. They are always watchable even when they’re tying too hard to be serious. Luke Goss doesn’t have the most exciting screen presence at the best of times, and here he’s given nothing to do except be dour. At the very least we should want the hero to succeed, rather than be totally indifferent as to whether he lives or dies. RZA is visibly bored with the whole thing. It’s strange that, since The Man With The Iron Fists (which he also directed), he’s been popping up every so often in these films without much enthusiasm.

2/10 – Low budget and low on ideas.