Showdown in Manilla review by Bobby Blakey
As a longtime martial arts fan I keep a pretty close eye on what projects the old school guys are working on. One that I have have been looking for the most is the directorial debut from Mark Dacascos, Showdown in Manila that features a great martial arts cast including Alexander Nevsky, Casper Van Dien, Tia Carrere, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Matthias Hues, Don “ The Dragon” Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, and Olivier Gruner, but does it bring the expected action or will it fail its mission?
Showdown in Manilla follows private detectives Nick and Charlie who live and work in Manila. A murder investigation leads them to the jungle camp of an international terrorist called The Wrath. Not trusting the police, Nick and Charlie assembly a team of daredevils to walk straight into the Wrath's lair and fight an army of his goons. Going in I have to say I was a bit disappointed to find out that most of the old school action icons aren’t there until later in the film, but thankfully they get some time to shine and helps to make up for it a bit. The film itself is more focused on stars Andrew Nevsky and Casper Van Dien who do a decent job with this old school action flick.
The story is pretty much like any flick out of the 80s and 90s bringing that old school flair that I grew up with. Once I realized how the film was structured following these two I actually enjoyed it for what it was. I was hoping for a bit more straight up martial arts with all those involved, but it still offers up plenty of gun toting action throughout. When we get to the latter half of the film that brings in the heavy hitters the feet, fists and bullets fly without regard to slap you in the face with nostalgia of old school action. While it will never be enough each of them got their moment to shine that will no doubt keep the old school fans happy.
I will admit that I was a bummed that Mark Dacascos offered very little on the action side himself, but totally understand since he took the directing role to make this martial arts world type of expendables to life. There are some bumps in the road here and there like any of these kinds of movies, but the hardcore old school action fans will no doubt have a good time. Hopefully we will get another chapter down the road that will feature this great team up more prominently, but until then decide for yourself and check out Showdown in Manilla in theaters on January 19, 2018 and then on Digital and On Demand on January 23, 2018.