Bullet Points: Falcon Rising
In this edition of Bullet Points, I’m going to review a movie that very well may be the birth of direct to video franchise, the movie I’m talking about is Falcon Rising starring Michael Jai White.
The poster above pitches John “Falcon” Chapman as America’s new action hero. Michael Jai White is definitely qualified and with over over two decades of experience under his action belt, he deserves a crack at creating a memorable action character, even if it is of the direct to video variety.
- Character Flaws: Like any great hero, Chapman is not without his flaws. We learn very early on, he has a dark side. The man has a death wish and suicidal thoughts aren’t uncommon. He also hits the booze hard. And he’s not taking the medication he was prescribed to help him cope with his PTSD, a condition he brought home with him after serving in the USMC. But we also learn very early on that he has some “mad skills” when he thwarts an attempted armed robbery at his favorite convenient store… all the man wanted to do was buy some Jack Daniels in peace.
- Introducing Laila Ali: The daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali makes her motion picture debut as Cindy Chapman, John’s sister. Cindy is a social worker who spends a great deal of her time volunteering in the Favelas of Brazil. Unfortunately she crosses the wrong people and is nearly beaten to death.
- Friends in High Places: Neal McDonough plays Manny Ridley, an old marine buddy of John’s who works in the United States Embassy in Brazil. He’s the one who informs John of what happened to Cindy and helps him track down the animals who beat her. He seems trustworthy, but some of the local law enforcement are questionable, which does add a layer of intrigue to the copious amount of action Falcon Rising delivers.
- Yakuza: Did you know that Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan? John Chapman didn’t know that. He also learns that the Yakuza is directly connected to what happened to his sister. Hirimoto (Masashi Odate) is the head of the Yakuza in Brazil. He is a nasty individual, involved with drugs, smuggling young girls out of the country and other nefarious things you’d expect the Yakuza to be involved in. And while his men have no problem using guns to get the job done, Hirimoto is old school and prefers a sword. In his final battle with John, it is sword vs. two pipes that John picks up. A great action hero knows how to improvise!
Falcon Rising is a quality action film. There’s just enough story to keep it interesting, but it is always moving. The ending leaves it wide open for a sequel, in fact that do everything but tell you that there will be at least one more adventure for John “Falcon” Chapman when he’s given an offer he can’t refuse to help the U.S. State Department take care of some business.
This one is currently streaming on Netflix, so if you need a dose of quality action start streaming this immediately… well check out these last few Bullet Points first…
- Details: I like that Falcon picks up the weapons of the guys he has taken out. Why leave a perfectly good knife or gun with bullets on the ground?
- Thems Are Fighting Words: Mid way through their final battle, Hirimoto gives John extra incentive to kick his ass when he says “You put up a better fight than your sister.” And he made it to the top of the Yakuza with poor decision making skills like that?
- Los Boriquas: While the movie is set in Brazil, the movie was actually shot in Puerto Rico.