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Welcome to Sudden Death                 review by Bobby Blakey

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As a martial artist and fan of the genre there are specific actors that I will watch anything they do. I am a hardcore unapologetic Van Damme fan and really dig his 1995 flick Sudden Death. Now we are getting a sequel of sorts titled Welcome to Sudden Death starring the always awesome Michael Jai White. Could this latest entry bring the ass kicking pain or will it be a game not worth overtime?

Welcome to Sudden Death follows Jesse Freeman, a former special forces officer and explosives expert now working a regular job as a security guard in a state-of-the-art basketball arena. Trouble erupts when a tech-savvy cadre of terrorists kidnap the team's owner and Jesse's daughter during opening night. Facing a ticking clock and impossible odds, it's up to Jesse to not only save them, but also a full house of fans in this high-charged action thriller.

To be clear this is not a direct sequel to Sudden Death but instead plays up as kind of a remake as its own thing. It is essentially the same story of a security guard having to take on terrorists this time at a basketball game instead of Hockey. I was totally fine with this idea to get to see White spend the whole time kicking ass. Sadly the movie didn’t delivery thing I had hoped, but does have the joy of getting to see White do his thing.

The story is fine and as mentioned is pretty much the same format and could have worked great, but struggles with numerous things. White is perfect for the role and has the acting and action chops to deliver, but he is surrounded by a forgettable cast. The addition of comedian Gary Clark for comedy relief could have been good, but it just felt forced and made the film come off as silly at times instead of a straight up actioner like it should have been.

Where this film should be the strongest was in the action and while it was fine it was far from what White usually delivers. Honestly thought it felt like they had him moving slower than he actually is and I can only assume so that the others

could keep up with him. He is a very skilled martial artist and the slow paced fights and bad cuts really held the fights back from being up to par to what they could have been for me. It was fun to see him take on his real life wife Gillian White who holds her own great complete with a beautiful jumping side kick.

I was so excited to check this out and see White kick some major ass. While there is plenty of action and the film works it just didn’t live up to clearly what I had built up in my mind. While it was a bit underwhelming it is still always worth my time to see Michael Jai White do his thing. Decide for yourself and check out Welcome to Sudden Death available now on DVD and Digital from Universal Home Entertainment.

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