Bullet Points: High Voltage
For those of you who have been asking when we were going to review an Antonio Sabato Jr. movie, ask no more…
Now if Antonio Sabato Jr. in High Voltage is not enough for you, worry not because there are quite a few familiar stars in this 1997 movie.
- The Premise: Antonio Sabato Jr plays Johnny Clay. Clay runs a crew of thieves. Up to this point they’ve mostly hit liquor stores, but now they want to graduate to banks. Unfortunately for them, they chose a bank that launders the drug money for a Vietnamese gang led by Victor Phan. When Clay and his crew try to rob the bank, the cops don’t show up… it’s the Vietnamese gang looking to protect their interests. And even though Clay and his team don’t end up stealing a dime, Phan is still pissed that a bunch of small time hoods disrespected him so he’s out to get them, which forces them to fight back.
- The Supporting Cast: The supporting cast is really what caught my attention. Among Johnny Clay’s crew members are Amy Smart (who would later star in Crank: High Voltage) and Lochlyn Munro (who starred in Rampage: Capital Punishment). Phan’s right hand man is the one and only James Lew. Phan’s lady and the bank manager is portrayed by the daughter of the legendary Bruce Lee, Shannon Lee. Bloodsport’s own Donald Gibb has a small but entertaining role as a bartender. And last but not least, William Zabka plays a friend of Clay’s that can best be described as 80% biker, 20% doomsday prepper and 100% crazy.
- The Action: Was the action in High Voltage electrifying and supercharged as the DVD cover quote would lead one to believe? I believe so, especially if by supercharged they are talking about some major sound effects during the fight scenes. You can hear every kick and punch and I wasn’t even watching in surround sound. Some might say they over did it on the sound effects, but I think that ends up being part of this movie’s charm. The action starts early with a pretty intense shoot out between Clay’s crew and the Vietnamese gang at the bank. I can respect a movie that doesn’t waste time. There’s also a great bar fight and the finale is filled with fists punching and feet kicking!
- The Romance: There are a few romantic story lines in this movie, plus one not so romantic. Shannon Lee’s character Jane is with Victor Phan at the start of the movie, but he’s an abusive jerk, so she ends up with Johnny Clay as the movie progresses but it is kept to a minimum. Zabka’s character Bulldog has an old lady who is able to pull his strings and get her way. Then there’s Amy Smart’s character Molly, who is engaged to another member of Clay’s crew, Sam. Their relationship is honestly the worst thing about this movie, especially a dumb scene towards the end of the film that I will discuss in the bonus Bullet Points. Warning it will contain a spoiler.
High Voltage is not going to be your new favorite action movie, but with a solid ensemble cast and quality action through out, it makes for an enjoyable viewing experience.
Now as I often do, I will share a few more Bullet Points with all of you…
- Like Father, Like Son: The character of Carlo is played by Antonio Sabato, the father of the star of the film, Antonio Sabato Jr. So as a wink to their real life relationship, Carlo compares Johnny Clay to his father and compliments him on how he looks more and more like him every day. Basically I’m saying Antonio Sabato is an egomaniac.
- Merry Christmas: This movie does take place during Christmas, but my guess is it will not replace Die Hard or Lethal Weapon as your go to action movie during the most wonderful time of the year.
- Spoiler Alert: Ok before the big final showdown between Johnny Clay’s crew and Victor Phan’s gang, Sam is shot and killed. We then have to deal with a grieving Molly and she states the obvious, that she and Sam will now never be married. Well Johnny Clay takes care of that by making a priest (at gun point) marry Molly and the corpse of Sam. I guarantee you if this scene never happened the IMDB score for the film would go up one full point.
- Generic Action Movie Title: My other big gripe with the movie High Voltage is that it is called High Voltage. The name really doesn’t go along with anything specific in the movie, it sounds like just another generic action movie title or the name of an ill-fated tag team from the 1990’s.