HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
   
 
Newest Articles
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
   
 
  12 Cash for Casualties
Year: 2007
Director: Chee Keong Cheung
Stars: Mark Strange, Nathan Lewis, Joey Ansah, Leon Suah, Glenn Salvage, Beau Fowler, Shane Steyn, Liang Yang, Zara Phythian, William Mickleburgh, Scott Houston, Chris Smith, Fidel Nanton, Danny John-Jules, Gary Webster
Genre: Action, Martial ArtsBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Twelve fighters are brought together to compete in an illegal underground tournament for the prize of £500,000, should they survive. The oddball group include a homeless man (Mark Strange), an ex-convict (Nathan Lewis), a triad (Leon Suah) and even a priest (Glenn Salvage), each risking life and limb in a series of brutal bouts that eliminate contenders one by one. Presiding over the tournament is a seemingly impassive organiser (Fidel Nanton) who takes bets from an array of wealthy business types (including Red Dwarf and M.I. High star Danny John-Jules and Minder’s Gary Webster) over who will win or lose. As each fighter is eliminated, his backer is forced to pull out while the stakes get higher.

With martial arts so ingrained in their culture, Chinese movies can weave kung fu bouts into historical epics, thrillers and comedies but western efforts always fall back on the old tournament scenario. This indie action Brit flick harks back to innumerable, direct-to-video bare-knuckle brawl fests from the Eighties and boasts an overused reality TV premise that brings back painful memories of The Condemned (2007), but perhaps wisely sidesteps any attempt at satire. “This isn’t just mindless violence” says the organiser at one point, but to a large extent that is exactly what this is.

Breaking the martial arts film down to its barest essentials, without even the cod-James Bond setup that distinguished Enter the Dragon (1973), 12 (re-titled Underground for the overseas market) is certainly solid on the action front. British born triple-threat Chee Keong Cheung assembles a slick package utilising blistering editing, diverse film stocks and ferocious fight choreography by Dave Forman (who was once Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)), but the non-stop punch-ups grow repetitive and the corny melodrama fails to engage. The cast are clearly fantastic athletes though noticeably less competent with dialogue. Cheung wisely pares his fighters’ dialogue down to a minimum and relies on cinematic shorthand to convey their emotional states, but as a consequence they emerge less interesting than their sponsors.

Much of the drama centres around besuited character actors glowering at each other across the betting table, though Cheung avoids the trap of painting all rich people as blood-sucking leeches. Some backers withdraw from the tournament in disgust, others are unexpectedly moved by the fighters’ plight and offer their help. The film exhibits a lot more humanity than movies like The Condemned, dwelling on moments of pathos as when the defeated Instructor (William Mickleburgh) is shown sobbing in the shower, or the supposedly misogynistic Model (Joey Ansah) tearfully apologises to the comely Teacher (Zara Phythian) whom he has mangled into a bloody pulp, or the friendship that complicates the crucial bout between the Delinquent (Beau Fowler) and the Foreigner (Liang Yang). The latter initially seems to be the Bruce Lee style, enigmatic wild card but things come down to the two least interesting and similar fighters, though this at least prevents things becoming predictable. Ultimately, 12 comes across as a fight movie made for fighters and fight enthusiasts and pretty much no-one else, especially given how it is in no way critical of the illegal, exploitative tournament even though it costs one man his life. Which leaves it admirable as a piece of indie filmmaking, but one-dimensional and liable to provoke questions. Like how does a homeless guy know how to handle a samurai sword and since the priest is competing to raise money for a homeless shelter, why didn’t he try a bake sale? It’s much safer.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4459 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: